“Translation is a gating factor for market penetration.”
Ben Sargent, Senior Analyst at Common Sense Advisory
Borders between countries are being shaped and reshaped constantly. But it has little to do with politics. Local markets go global, and businesses not only enjoy greater opportunities to penetrate new markets but also face new challenges. “72.1% consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language” – a fact that made a company’s reputation and popularity become heavily dependent on translation.
Is translation an investment that pays off?
Fortune 500 companies were surveyed to reveal the answer to this question: “companies that invested in translation were 1,5 times more likely to witness an increase in revenue”. Moreover, the study brought to light surprising data – businesses invest in translation primarily not for increased profit but for market share, branding, and customer care.
Thus, business translation and website translation serve a number of vital functions:
Establishing rapport and enhancing engagement
Every time we enter a shop – online or off, visit a company website or flip through a user manual, we feel connected with the brand if the content is presented in our native tongue. As communication becomes painless, loyalty is increased and shopping turns into an enjoyable experience.
Reaching wider audiences and improving SEO:
Effective communication with non-English speakers is an important key for growing global organizations. The economic importance of Asian languages, for instance, is indisputable; today more than 49% of internet users live in Asia. In addition, competing for English keywords in the search engine rankings is a tough call. Website translation comes as a life boat, as it’s often easier to make a boom with keywords in other languages.
Protecting the brand
When Coca-Cola was first sold in China, the company’s name was literally translated as “bite the wax tadpole” – a phonetic name that merchants came up with. This is an extreme example of what can happen if you let random people decide how to present your brand to new markets.
Multiple businesses create a common understanding among partners and customers by using business translation and interpreting. We have selected fifteen industries that have massively benefitted from translation services.
Retail and E-commerce
“Can’t read, won’t buy” says the title of a research emphasizing consumers’ preference to buy products and goods if they are presented in their native tongue. A case in point: Israeli e-retailer Under.me was able to double the conversion rate in Germany after translating its website into German.
Another example is ASOS, a British online fashion retailer. It reaches customers in the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and Russia – serving each of them in the language they speak. Owing to website translation, in 2013 foreign markets already generated up to 63% of its total revenue.
Medicine and Healthcare
There are few businesses where a mistake can genuinely cost lives. Certified medical translations are of utmost importance when translating patient records, prescriptions, instructions, leaflets, policies and more. On top of this, interpreting is vital if doctors need to explain health-related issues or receive information on their patient’s health condition.
Today, a 151-year-old hospital confidently connects with its Spanish-speaking patients many of whom were once left out because of a language barrier. The Floating Hospital started with translating printed materials into Spanish and soon got down to website translation “to insure that patients, many of which are isolated by poverty and circumstance, are not isolated by a language barrier,” says Barbara LaPlaca, vice president of philanthropy and outreach at Floating Hospital.
Legal and Law
Whether you work with a long-term client or draft a potential partnership, precise communication is essential. Certified legal document translations are imperative here; contracts, case reports, terms and conditions, disclaimers, statements – none of them will accept a poorly-chosen word. In the US, for example, many attorneys who deal with immigration issues have their websites available in the language of a specific demographic they are targeting. For instance, law migration firm Beshara P.A. offers its website in four languages (English, Spanish, French and German) to be able connect with wider audiences in the world.
Finance and Banking
More than ever before, financial transactions are international today. Banks and financial corporations are well aware that strong relationships emerge and trust is born when communication is effective and clear. Invoices, forms, terms and conditions, contracts and much more are localized to ensure seamless customer experience.
Marketing and Advertising
Translating ads and marketing content is a delicate art that calls for translators who are also tuned into copywriting. Translating slogans, for example, is particularly challenging. It takes creativity and professionalism to localize slogans such as “Just do it” (Nike), “Got Milk?” (American Dairy Association), “The quilted quicker picker-upper.” (Bounty) or “Turn it loose!” (Coors Light).
“Home away from home” is a choice for many travelers around the globe. They need not only to travel and experience new sites and cultures, but also feel happy, relaxed, and comfortable. That’s why, real estate companies have their websites, leases, contracts and agreements translated into languages that their clientele speaks which makes the complicated business of acquiring property much easier.
Invaluable is the employee who has competence and passion to work towards your company’s vision. And the perfect candidate may not be found in the local market. No doubt, recruiters and HR departments are in need for quality translations whether they want to open a new job post, sign a contract, present policies, share handbooks and codes of conduct, or train a valuable worker.
IT and Software
Software products, FAQs, user instructions, app content are created and launched nearly every second. No longer can one imagine hardware, software and IT companies operating in a single language. Entrepreneur.com states that Microsoft has ensured a big revenue from non-US markets by translating its products into more than 90 languages. Apple can boast of being available in 40 languages, while Toshiba invested in business translation into 30 languages.
Manufacturing and Engineering
Present your products in another country and you instantaneously need a huge amount of content translated. Patents, trademarks, user guides, product descriptions, to name just a few, are translated to be easily accessible by customers and attract prospects.
When doing a market research to sell vehicles, this study will make you think twice about translating your content. It turns out that consumers are least likely to buy automotive products and services if the website is not in their native language.
Energy, Oil and Gas
Partnerships and operations go truly global when it comes to one of the most competitive industries in today’s world: energy, gas, and oil. From geological studies to resource extraction, companies are left facing extremely technical terminology calling for a professional’s help to localize business contracts, promotional materials, technical manuals, environmental impact assessments and more.
Travel, Tourism and Leisure
Translation services empower businesses with multilingual content and help their customers to plan, book and realize trips effortlessly. At Starwood Hotels, there was no joking around when it came to making a decision about investing $600,000 in translation as soon as it was estimated that Starwood Hotels’ services could generate an additional $45 million from guests who booked accommodation with them if the website were in their native tongue.
Media has long gone digital and the volumes of information published daily is unbelievably huge. Live reporting, breaking news, press conferences, interviews and much more would be accessible by a limited number of people without proper interpretation and website translation. At BBC, they obviously know how to open doors to new markets. “Get the news in your language”, says the webpage of BBC addressing their audience in 41 languages – from Africa to Asia, from Europe to Latin America!
Games and Casinos
Many companies help people feel the excitement of high-quality games from the comfort of their native tongue. To reach European market, US game developers translated their games into Spanish, French, German and Italian. Similarly, Japanese developers started with translating their games into English once there was a decision to expand to US-based customers.
Website translation has had a major role in the expansion of online casinos which enable anyone join the punters worldwide. No coincidence, Online Casino Reports presents its website in 75 languages!
Arts and Entertainment
Artists, producers, and directors rely on quality translations to reach their worldwide audience. “We’re quickly approaching an inflection point where English won’t be the primary viewing experience on Netflix”, the company stated in its blog. Enjoying presence in 190 countries, Netflix is a world-known entertainment service airing TV series, documentaries and more. Their website is available in 18 languages, and the company plans to add Swahili, Vietnamese, Filipino in the coming years.
The word “translation” comes from the Latin for “bearing across”. Let translation take your business across countries and communities. The question “Cost or opportunity?” has a resounding answer – “Opportunity!” Do not give a mere try. If you treat translation seriously, you will break down the language barrier for your customers and reap the benefits of having satisfied clientele.