Over our 25 years, many clients have come to us after discovering that their presumed money-saving methods are more costly after all.
This article is the first in a series to expose some common myths about rendering languages so that your firm can do it right…and gain more revenue targeting ethnic and global markets correctly.
1. Websites: All or nothing
Most companies assume that they have to localize their entire website to attract overseas customers. That certainly could be an end goal.
The hardest part of website localization is not the language agency’s ability to do it. The hardest part is for you, the client, to decide exactly what pages, what links, what press releases and what embedded product brochures you want done. And since that decision is time-consuming or involves a committee, you end up doing nothing. In return, you gain limited or no global business.
One alternative is to start with something: your home page, your contact page, and perhaps three-five key product pages. Your language service can localize those selected links quickly and inexpensively.
And if even that partial selection process proves too daunting, you can simply summarize your company in one-two doc pages. You can then afford to translate those summaries into even more languages and gain exposure to many more potential customers at home and abroad.
When targeting foreign markets, be sure also to ask your translation service to get your domain registered in other languages and countries. Then overseas prospects can find you more easily.
The benefit of website localization to gain some business vs. none is clearly illustrated by this client example:
“Two weeks before a conference in Tokyo, we decided it was critical that our company attend. With virtually no time to prepare properly, we panicked realizing that the company’s website needed to be translated to Japanese so that it could be clearly understood by the conference attendees. In just four business days, Auerbach International not only completed the translation, but also provided the needed web-ready files.
Our now-enhanced, multi-lingual website worked flawlessly from the start. We received numerous compliments from Japanese who were surprised that this could be done so well, and so quickly.”
2. Our volunteer translators (amateurs, students, etc.) can do it.
Maybe, up to a point… one that’s reached pretty quickly. The more amateurs you have, the more variations you will get in how to express your message, in the terminology used for the same word or phrase, and in spelling (or misspelling) or (wrong) grammar.
Sooner than expected, firms using “community translators” often discover that their free volunteers become too unwieldy and time-consuming to manage… and that it’s far more cost-effective to use a professional language translation service with its cost-saving methods, industry-specialized translators, consistent terminology and rapid deliveries of all languages simultaneously.
3. My cousin speaks that language. She can translate our files.
Yes, if your files are very simple. Usually they aren’t. And your cousin, friend or neighbor will quickly discover how time-consuming the process can be … especially when you need the translation yesterday.
A professional language service can use entry-level translators for non-technical projects. These linguists are at least pre-qualified and tested to assure some higher degree of quality.
But if your cousin has to look up lots of technical words… they may still be incorrect and the process can incur a lot of time (and resentment). Your supposed cost savings can easily vanish when your project is delayed or contain mistakes requiring more costly fixes.
A professional language service uses a three-step process:
- Initial translation by a target-language, trained translator who speaks your industry vocabulary;
- Second-translator, quality-assurance review to ensure correct nuances, expressions, terminology and dialect; and
- Proofreading for spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting.
Professional linguists are trained in technical terminology, can translate your files correctly the first time, and generate revenue for you more quickly. Yes, it’s an upfront investment.
But damage to your reputation or brand and time-to-market delays are even more costly to repair. And always ask your language service for pricing options to meet your budget. Some are more flexible than others.