Let’s say you are a growing company looking to break into the global marketplace. You know that going global will open up many possibilities, but there are also challenges. You know that to compete in the global marketplace you must understand how to engage across cultures. However, one of the biggest hurdles you may face is the language barrier. How can you cross the language barrier if you don’t speak the language yourself? While machine translation technology has made great strides lately, translation done by professional linguists remains the wisest option. Professional translators are highly trained individuals who specialize in different fields and, most importantly, are deeply familiar with the culture you are trying to reach.
Before you start the translation process, there are some questions to think over. What are your goals for branching out internationally? What are you providing to new markets? How does your business match what those customers want? Maybe you have a product or service that is highly desirable in your domestic market. How do you plan to adapt it to suit the target market?
Every company faces their own challenges and has unique requirements when dealing with translation services. Even if it is your first time working with translation needs, language service providers (LSPs) are there to help your create your multilingual documentation every step of the way. They make crossing the language barrier simple and easy.
There are many reasons why it’s worth investing in professional translation rather than relying on machine tools alone. Here are just four of the most important:
Context and Verification Are Important
When you use machine translation technology, there is no way to confirm whether the provided translation is correct. Even with knowledge of the target language, how can you confirm whether a native speaker will find the translation natural? These tools also rely on AI, previous translations, and user data that might not match the context needed for your document. The language barrier is often more than simple words. Homonyms, idioms, puns, and formal language all prove to be major stumbling blocks for machine translation, as a back-translation will often show. But professional translators tailor your content so that it is contextually accurate and captures the spirit of your original document. They can also clarify and explain their choices in detail, so that you understand the translations you are distributing worldwide. Furthermore, they can incorporate your business’s wants and needs so that you’re working together to copy that is uniquely yours!
Don’t Forget About Rare Languages…
Because it relies on data collection to learn, the error rate for machine translations increases substantially when working with languages that have fewer speakers. In addition to being grammatically incorrect, poor machine translation can also damage how potential customers perceive your company. Machine translations can come off as cold or even awkward and fail to engage potential customers. The many possible barriers present in machine translation can jeopardize any project’s ability to connect with new audiences and build rapport, harming brand image.
The language barrier may feel steep when it comes to rare languages, but don’t give up hope. When linguists work together on a translation, the risk of miscommunication is significantly lower. They are able to cross-check one another’s work and guarantee that they are producing a quality translation. Even within the USA, translators are helpful for reaching out to the potential customers who speak these rarer languages. The right assistance from professional linguists can help you make progress with untapped potential close to home.
What Is Your Unique Voice?
Translation is much more than simply changing one word to another in a different language. Even with the best dictionaries and tools, each company has their own identity just as each text has its own voice.
Do you want to project professionalism, friendliness, or reliability to your clients or customers when creating your document translations?
Do you have a clear grasp of what information to present in each market and how to structure it?
This kind of attention is especially important for marketing professionals or others who want to give their translations some authenticity. A chatty, casual voice in English may not come across well in countries that value formality, for example.
Professional translators can help you craft a voice in their language that preserves your business’ identity, but also adapts it to its cultural and linguistic nuances. This is necessary if you want to truly break into the global market. In particular, LSPs can develop and maintain glossaries and translation memories (TMs) to ensure all of your translations are consistent. The way you distinguish yourself from other businesses shows partly through copy, and translation can help carry that unique voice across the language barrier.
The Trappings of Translation
There are other elements of document translation besides text, of course: graphics, layout, aesthetics, and more. Linguists can provide feedback on how to best suit these features for your target audience.
For example, in stock photos, people prefer to see scenes that remind them of ones from their own cultural experience. Global communications must take into account the calendar and rhythms of life in other parts of the world. Small things like color preference to big things like holidays and customs vary across cultures. Sometimes, this only becomes relevant when it is too late and you’ve run into unexpected problems. With the help of a trusted LSP, you have access to a range of experts who can isolate cultural and linguistic issues and resolve them.
The language barrier is often a cultural one as well, but it doesn’t need to be a barrier at all. By establishing relationships with professional LSPs, you can instead think of it like a bridge: connecting you to new audiences. Give our translation services a try – the depth and richness of the results will carry you to the next level!