Mar 13 2012
On Friday, 9th we got the chance to discuss translation and marketing with Alex Gibson on The Persuaders on Dublin City FM 103.2.
As more and more companies have to spread their message abroad, translation is an inevitable part of the process to expand trade. Here is a brief summary of our on-air discussion. Damian Scattergood our managing director gives some good advice as to how to make your translation easier and cheaper when engaging a translation company.
When and why should you hire a translation company?
- Contact a translation company at your design stage before translation. It can give you plenty of tips to make the translation easier and cheaper. The vendor should be able to tell you the best document structure, and look at your images for example to ensure they are internationally acceptable. Thus, you only have to design your product material once.
- First impression counts so your message has to fit each culture. A translation company works with professional translators who have the abilities to translate your documents with accuracy and a local feel. At STAR Group, over 800 people in 44 global offices are working to make sure that the translation of your document looks like a document written in the target country’s language.
- A translation company ensures that the language of your documents is precise and clear. The simpler and clearer your English message, the clearer and more international it is too after translation.
- Why not use Google Translate? Prospective clients will obviously notice that you used a machine translation and that could affect your brand image. This is the reason why collaborating with a translation company will help you to improve the way people perceive your company abroad. Did you know that Google also uses professional translators to translate its documents?
- Remember: a translation company is your international business partner. When we translate a website we focus on the quality and the consistency of your message. When visiting your website people will make an instant decision/opinion about you, what you are doing and how good you are. They will also be more confident about the quality of what you provide if they see that you take the time and care to deliver quality translation in their language. By translating into the language of your target market you are making an effort to reach the customer.
What do I translate?
- If you don’t know what to translate you can start with a single page of your website, a brochure or a letter. First steps are to reach and test your market.
- For your website you can create a microsite (a website with only 3-5 pages – to test the reaction of your customers)
- People want to know who you are and what you are doing so translate the page that people are most likely to visit first.
What should I do to make the translation process easier?
- Watch the structure of your documents. Each language structure is different so the size required for text might slightly change from one language to another. For instance, when translating English to German you might notice that the German translation will be longer by 30%. That’s why when you create a document we recommend you leave lots of white-space in your document so the new text will flow easily. It is better to think about translation during design than have to make changes when translating. Simple design changes might be to modify the size of a picture, the layout of your document to fit with the translation.
- Explain acronyms to the translation company you are working with. If possible create your own mini-dictionary of common terms.
- Choose typefaces carefully. Certain typefaces do not include all characters in different languages.
- Make sure that you have all your source documents and check if they can be translated.
- For manuals and documents remove text from the diagrams and replace with numbers and call-outs.
- For your website check that it is encoded with UTF-8 for translation and avoid putting text on button and graphics. Graphic translation can be expensive and it takes time to translate.
- Generally it is better to avoid flags. They have political connotations which can affect the brand image of your company. People can feel excluded by flags. They can think that you are addressing your message to a specific country. It is better to use the words [English, French] etc to represent language. Only use flags when you are specifically addressing a country.
- Video is fast becoming a must tool in marketing. People don’t consider the impact of having to translate their videos later. Careful planning for video will make translation easier. For example – how many people are in the video? Is it scripted? Are there timing issues?
What if I have more questions?
- STAR helps clients with the first steps to going Global. Drop us an email or contact us and we will send you our whitepaper on going global, packed with advice to make the transition easier for you.
- Whatever the language – call STAR.
We thank Alex Gibson for giving STAR the time to discuss the importance of translation in developing your brand image abroad.