No matter what the wind from the White House, US exports each month from December 2016 to February 2017 were around $190 billion1. Yes, that’s Billion. World trade is not going to stop. The vast majority of US companies depend on it for products, components, services or income. Some 14 million US jobs exist due to trade with Canada and Mexico2. If you enjoy cell phones, cars, inexpensive clothing and summer fruits in winter, you are benefiting from global commerce.
As most companies grow, they receive or initiate sales with other countries. Learning how to do business with them is critical.
One of the first steps is to ensure that your brochures, manuals, websites and videos are in your customers’ languages. And that’s because around 72% of the world does not speak English and around 72% of global consumers prefer to use their native language when shopping online.3 Wouldn’t you?
And just localizing your website into French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese opens your firm to 220 million internet users. How would even 1% of this increase help your bottom line? Note that this number does not include Chinese. While 1.2 billion people speak Chinese as their first language, it is the main content of only 2.2% of world websites.4
Many technical texts can be translated into other languages without major changes. Sometimes, however, messages must be acculturated or rewritten to sound better. Examples:
- The English term “hedge funds” should be used in Latin America instead of translating it into Spanish.
- Literal translation from French: XYZ Tissue Therapy offers a wonderful future for your body.Better rewrite: XYZ Tissue Therapy … a wonderful new future for your body.
- While coche in Spanish is a car, it Guatemala it’s slang for “pig”.
- Sun Microsystems’ brochure headline “No Limits to Your Success” sounded arrogant in German. We rewrote it as “Gateway to New Horizons through Sun’s Partnership”.
- A sign in a Shanghai store read, “Please don’t touch yourself. Let us help you.”
These examples illustrate two lessons:
- Acculturations are NOT a step that amateurs or translation software can do. They require professional, experienced, native-speaking and subject-specialized human translators such as those Auerbach International uses in all projects from or into 80 languages.
- Never use non-professional linguists or translation software for your brochures or websites. If you do, always have their versions reviewed by professional translators such as ours to catch these nuances, expressions and comical mistakes … and to protect your image.
For a free quote, please send us your files; specify your target languages; and state your deadline, if any. We will determine the most cost-effective method to implement your project and respond with two delivery and pricing options within 24 to 48 hours. And the end result will help you gain a piece of the $190 billon of monthly US exports.
- US Commerce Department
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Common Sense Advisory
- MultiLingual Magazine, March 2016