Succeeding as an entrepreneur takes hard work, persistence and a whole load of dedication. And that’s not all. Today, running a business comes with a range of challenges and hurdles – least of which is expanding into the international market.
The world is getting smaller and the need to communicate globally, especially when it comes to business, is crucial for those companies looking to increase revenue. But, let’s face it, language barriers are no fun. We’ve all been there, wildly gesticulating and miming out actions, only to be totally misunderstood. So, if you’re looking to grow your brand, whether nationally or worldwide, and are looking for the best translation tips, we’ve got you covered.
1. Write for your audience
When translating text, it can be tempting to directly interpret the words without any consideration for the target market. It’s simple, really – the more you know about your customers, and the country you’re looking to reach, the better. Idioms, metaphors and colloquialisms don’t work in the international market, nor do references to local cultures, such as telephone numbers or country specific email addresses.
2. Keep it to the point
When it comes to translation, finding the most direct way to express your ideas is the key to success. To get the best out of any translation, try to write in clear, concise English. Keep the English to the point – overcomplicating phrases or words can lead to a confused or inaccurate translation. Stick to the tone and style of the business. Even though your language and word choices may change depending on the dialect, ensuring your business is coherent and consistent can go a long way in establishing a strong, recognisable international brand.
3. Topical knowledge is important
While most website and marketing collateral translations are relatively straight-forward, when it comes to legal documentation and other such technical papers, you may need higher-quality translation and more industry-specific knowledge in order to guarantee accuracy. Hiring a translation professional who understands the demands of your given document, along with corporate or technical jargon, can help to effectively communicate your company’s views or values in a way that makes sense across all languages.
4. Understand cultural differences
There is much more to translation than simply the words on the page. Culture, religion and other such differences play a huge role in how content is received globally. With different societies comes different expectations and views on everything from relationships and beliefs to humour and etiquette. The best translators are sensitive to the cultural differences that occur globally and are well-trained in localising content to make it right for the desired target market. This includes editing language and refining your brand message to meet cultural expectations.
5. Accuracy is key
With translation services, keeping your text clear and readable is critical. Correct punctuation and grammar become even more important, as does spelling, when adapting text for an alternative audience. Similarly, wrong or confused phrases, along with confusing formats can cause the text to feel clunky and awkward, so double check for cohesion before you finish your translation.
6. Research meanings
In a different language, an incorrect spelling can result in a completely different word, while using words that have multiple meanings can mess up the general context of the text. When translating for a business purpose, it can be handy to create a glossary of key terms which will enable you to highlight brand-specific words or phrases to use when there is a language choice of more than one. By specifying your language, you can help provide your customers with greater clarity, while keeping your brand consistent.
7. Be mindful of differences
We know that no two cultures are the same, but what about when it comes to language? While, in most western countries, we start our sentences on the left and end them on the right, some international languages start at the right or even at the top. Similarly, some languages can take up more space then English, which can have a significant impact on the overall look of your website or document. Keeping these cultural differences at the forefront of your mind when translating can help you to minimise layout problems further down the line.
8. Avoid machine translations
Translation engines, or automated translation machines, work to translate text from one language to another using literal translations. This means that, instead of looking at the overall context of the text, they’ll simply interpret each individual word separately. This can easily result in text that doesn’t make sense or misses the whole point of the document or website itself. Professional human translators can read around the context of text, using their in-depth knowledge of the language, its culture and its unique differences.
9. Hire the translation experts
If you’re having trouble with your business translation, why not hire the experts? Intrawelt deliver fast, accurate translation services across a range of different industries and for a range of applications. Whether you’re looking for website or tender translation, they can help to make your business accessible to a global market. By outsourcing your language translations, your business will benefit from the knowledge of a trained, specialist team along with high-quality services.
10. Remember that it’s not just content that needs translating
There’s more to translating your business website and marketing materials than simply the words on a page. Successful translation requires an in-depth knowledge of both the culture and language of a country. Something as simple as the date needs to be changed depending on the country you’re targeting. Even things like colour can have an impact on how your site or business documents are viewed by your customers. The meanings given to colours vary hugely depending on culture, with specific colours having different meanings globally. For example, while green signifies nature and luck in Western countries, it also has strong associations with Islamic cultures. Similarly, the colour yellow is associated with happiness and optimism in the US, in Egypt, the colour is connected to feelings of grief and death. While certain colours and images can seem innocent in many countries, they could be offensive to other cultures, and so businesses need to be careful not to alienate certain markets when translating their business for an international audience.