The language of business is changing.
Although English is still considered the language of global business, it is only the third most spoken language in the world. Other languages are growing in importance as developing countries take their place in the global economy and more of their citizens gain Internet access. For example, most of the world’s web content used to be in English, that is no longer the case. And even people who speak English as a second language generally prefer to read, watch and shop in their native language.
Consumers prefer to buy a product with information in their own language
According to the Harvest Business Review 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. The Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) surveyed 3,002 consumers from 10 different countries and found that 55% of consumers prefer to buy exclusively in their native language, and 53% are more at ease buying in their native language.
Opportunities to reach new customers
The opportunity to reach new customers and increase revenues make expanding into international markets a winning strategy for any business. According to KPMG ‘Cross-border shopping is on the rise globally, driving international retail trade.’ And Business Advice state that 880,000 of the UK’s small businesses aim to expand overseas by 2025.
Few businesses consider how their home-market customer journey will work in other languages or countries. Many businesses miss the fundamental importance of engaging their global audience with content that resonates with them – not just with simple translation, but with a full language experience that conveys their brand, reputation, and trustworthiness. Every market is different and not understanding or keeping this in mind will significantly hinder a business’ chances of growth in new countries. Accordingly companies need to do their homework before entering into new markets. Assuming customs and customers are the same everywhere is a recipe for disaster.
We have all heard about, or seen, examples of translation mistakes, they are everywhere; from badly-translated slogans to brand names that face a cultural backlash. For example, Hyundai Kona in Polish means ‘Hyundai is dying’. ‘Konać’ means ‘to be dying’, ‘kona’ is the third person singular form of this verb.
Sloppy translations can be funny but can damage a business’ reputation. The consequences can be more serious than just causing amusement, as the quality of your products and services are called into question. A sloppy translation will leave your customer with the impression you lack professionalism. They may think you are taking on work beyond your capabilities.
Despite the explosive growth of Web technology and its ability to translate written text quickly. Machine translation doesn’t understand technical references, acronyms, inferences, plays on words, jokes, slang and so many other things that are not expressed through the written word alone. We are likely decades away from technology advancing enough to truly understand language at the human level.
Having a nuanced understanding of the target language is by far the most important part of translation. Translators who have a native understanding of the target language are usually best prepared to ensure the most accurate and appropriate translations.