When expanding your business internationally, it is critical to have accurate translations for effective communication. The wrong translation is the best way to lose business opportunities, customers, or market share. Here we will explore the importance of high-quality translations in business, the consequences of inaccurate translations, and how companies can ensure they get accurate translations.
Why is Accurate Translation Important for Businesses?
There are several reasons why accurate foreign language translation is essential for businesses:
It guarantees that international customers receive the same message as the local market, which builds trust and maintains customer relationships
Without accurate translation, there is a risk of offending or confusing customers from other cultures, which could lead to a tarnished brand image or legal problems
You must translate all legal and contractual documents accurately to avoid misunderstandings or disputes arising from inaccuracies
Marketing content, product descriptions or service manuals must also be correctly translated so that customers have clear and concise instructions on how to use them
What are the Consequences of Inaccurate Translation?
Inaccurate translations can have many consequences for businesses expanding into an international market or targetting local audiences, including:
Losing Business Opportunities
If a translation is inaccurate, it can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. It can result in lost business opportunities, as potential customers may need help understanding what a company offers.
Inaccurate translations can also damage relationships with existing customers. If customers feel a company is misleading or betraying their trust, they will likely take their business elsewhere.
Losing Market Share
In today's global marketplace, businesses need to be able to compete on an international level. However, if a company's translations are inaccurate, it can give the impression that the company is not professional or reliable. As a result, it can lead to lost market share as customers choose to do business with companies they perceive to be more trustworthy.
In some cases, inaccurate translations can have legal implications. For example, if a contract is inaccurately translated, it could void it and leave both parties open to legal action.
Negative Impact On Brand Reputation and Image
Inaccurate translations can also damage a company's reputation and image. For example, mistranslated marketing materials can cause reputational damage to the brand. If a company regularly performs incorrect translations, customers may consider them unprofessional and untrustworthy. This issue can lead to customers choosing to do business with other companies instead.
How Businesses Can Ensure They are Getting Accurate Translations
Ironically enough, inaccurate foreign language translation often happens when there's a breakdown in communication between the source material and when it arrives at the translation company – but the consequences of this breakdown emphasize the importance of clear communication.
Businesses must also provide clear and concise source material for the translation service. The more context translators and translation project managers have, the better they will understand the text and produce an accurate translation.
Businesses request and review a sample translation before work begins on the project. It will give you an idea of the quality of the work that the translation service can provide.
When you select the translation service, we recommend checking for qualifications. Do they have accreditations and ISO 17100 certifications? These are markers that your prospective service provider has the skills you need to translate your content accurately. Professional translators also have individual accreditations to become certified translators. These certifications can vary by country.
Assigning translators who are subject matter experts in the topics being translated is another excellent way to ensure effective in-language business communication outcomes. For example, a translator with years of experience and background in legal translation is obviously the best choice to perform a legal translation.
Common Mistakes People Make in Translations
One common mistake in translations is not considering the target audience and their local language (for example, their daily use of language could be different to the official language of the country they're in). It is essential to consider who will read the translation and tailor the language accordingly. For example, a translation for business documents should use more formal language than for consumer promotions.
Another common mistake is not taking into account the context of the text or the cultural context. The meaning of words can change depending on the context in which people use them. For example, the word "left" can mean "remaining" or "opposite of right," depending on the context. A translator must know the possible meanings of words and how those meanings might change in different contexts.
A third common mistake is failing to proofread the translation. Even if a translator's native language is in the target language, it is crucial to have someone else check the translation for errors as part of the translation process. It is because it is easy to overlook the mistakes in your own work.
Using literal translations instead of idiomatic ones can also be problematic. Idiomatic expressions are common phrases people use in everyday speech and have a meaning that differs from the literal meaning of the words that make up the phrase. For example, "I'm going to bed" means "I'm going to sleep," even though no bed is involved. If a literal translation is used instead of a conversational one, it can lead to confusion or offence. Depending on the type of translation, simplifying the content in its original language before it goes to translation can help boost translation quality.
Finally, relying on a machine (with services such as Google Translate) rather than a human translation can also be problematic. Machine translation has come a long way in recent years, but it still cannot match the accuracy of human translation conducted by native speakers. In some cases, machine translation can lead to humorous or nonsensical results. In other cases, it can fail to accurately convey the original text's meaning.
Factors Businesses Should Consider When Choosing a Translation Service
The importance of accurate translation services in business is vast. When choosing a translation agency, businesses should consider the size of the company, the company's industry, the company's budget, and the company's timeline. Additionally, businesses must decide which languages require translations based on their target market.
Considering the size is essential because businesses need to know how much work they require. A large company with many employees will need more translations than a small company with only a few employees. The industry is also important because certain industries have specific terminology that you must translate accurately. Style guides are an effective way to guarantee a brand's own language is incorporated into translations.
For example, the medical industry has exact terminology that translation services must translate correctly to avoid errors. The budget is another important consideration because businesses will need to know how much they can afford to spend on translations. Finally, the timeline is important because companies need to know when the translations are completed.
Choose LEXIGO for Professional Translation Services
At LEXIGO, we understand the importance of professional business translation services. We know how much poor translation can impact your business's image, and that's why we pride ourselves on providing human translators for your business. Our quality checks ensure that all translations are accurate before they get to you so you can have peace of mind. Contact us today for a free quote.