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How translation can help your business to grow

Communicating effectively with prospects, customers and suppliers is key to the success of your business, but it's even more important if you trade internationally. In this article, Ian Gordon tells you how, despite the threat of recession, there are still opportunities for growth, both in the UK and abroad.

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Communicating effectively with prospects, customers and suppliers is key to the success of your business, but it's even more important if you trade internationally. In this article we tell you how, despite the threat of recession, there is still light at the end of the tunnel with opportunities for growth abroad. Did you know that, in the last two years, there has been a 40% growth in ecommerce worldwide, with 875 million customers, many of these in non-English-speaking countries. Only 28% of the internet population uses English, so there is encouraging scope in new markets. Naturally, customers prefer to buy in their own language and research shows that people are three times more likely to buy when addressed in their own language. In addition, a company with a multilingual website has an immediate advantage as it signals to its customers and prospects, not to mention its competitors, that it is a world-class player. In recent years the UK investment in translation has increased by over 25% per year. These hints and tips for commissioning translation should guide you on your way: Unless you want approximate information (too often misinformation), don't rely on Google. Most businesses do not survive on "approximate". Translation should be an opportunity and an investment, so it is worth budgeting for the time and cost involved. Allow enough time for a good quality translation. In a recent survey by globalisation service provider commonsenseadvisory.com, turnaround time of a translation project was rated as very important by 73% and cost by 60%, but the two are related. Allow more time and the result is lower cost and less stress – and a better translation. Not everything needs to be translated. Can you shorten the text? Think of IKEA – there may be opportunities to use diagrams to reduce or eliminate text. Think international from the start. Avoid English in-jokes and all references to cricket, for example. Make sure your message is in tune with local culture and always avoid offending national sensitivities. Finalise your text before sending it for translation and do expect questions. Provide as much supporting detail as possible and state the intended purpose so the translator can help you to achieve it. Incidentally, just being bilingual, being a teacher or lecturer or simply coming from the country in question is no guarantee of written translation skills. Your translation company should be using professional translators working in their own language, all of whom are experts in their subject areas. Translators will maintain glossaries and translation memories for improved consistency, faster turnaround and reduced costs. Foreign language typesetting is hazardous, so always ensure that a native speaker is responsible for, or at least checks, any typesetting. If you are interested in reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, just email info@peak-translations.co.uk for a free booklet of hints and tips for buying translation, entitled Translation – Getting it right. About the author Ian Gordon is MD of Peak Translations, who combine industry experience, cultural awareness, subject understanding and sound translation techniques to guarantee your communications have the desired impact.

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