There's a reason why the translation service industry is booming and according to the US Department of Labor, the translation profession will grow a further 30% by 2024. In today’s commercial world, when foreign markets are so easy to access, its hugely important to be able to communicate with your audience in an authentic and coherent way; but this is not the only reason why professional translation is becoming so vital in the modern age.
Language’s importance to national identity
According to Pew Global Research, around 72% of Europeans believe knowing their country’s language is the most important aspect to national identity; this fact needs to be reflected in how you present your product and your company as a whole. Customers are more inclined to part with their money and trust the provider if the information is in their first language - Common Sense Advisory found that 60% of their non-English speaking participants would either never or very rarely buy from an English-only website, and that 75% preferred to buy products in their native tongue. If you want to sell something or have your content read, it really is essential that you converse in the consumer's language.
Accurate communication is more important than ever
Brexit, globalisation, nationalism… you may be tiring of today’s buzzwords, but they could seriously affect your business and further illustrate the importance of good translation. As the world gets smaller but our dividing lines seem to grow larger, your company and your product needs to feel familiar and approachable to a wide and varied audience; indeed, a 2015 study predicted that by 2025 880,000 small UK business will be expanding overseas meaning the lines of communication must be accurate, localised and carefully thought about. If you truly want to take a larger slice of a foreign pie, almost everything you do must be translated accurately to your target audience, whether its correspondence emails with clients or partners or localising your website, or understanding precisely what your audience is saying back to you - almost all aspects of your business might need a professional translation service, to make sure that nothing is 'lost in translation' at all.
Serious translators also know their areas of expertise. The best are not jacks of all trades, but specialists. For instance, if a market research report into the UK pharmaceutical industry requires translation, it is important to deploy a translator with a background and credentials in this sector. Similarly, if a technology website, press release or product brief needs interpreting, we will always choose a sector specialist on such a project. This way, the client gets a professional outcome and the translator is rewarded for the years of hard work and training they have invested.
Automatic and free translation providers aren’t good enough
While platforms like Google Translate are great for short sentences or one-word translations, the end results are often very literal; ultimately, quality issues are the main problem with machine translation services. A machine is incapable of understanding the context of a sentence, particularly in complex situations and on top of that, translation is a deceptively creative task in which a translator must to have a deep understanding of two different languages, the associated cultures and cultural norms, and be able to communicate a message between the two. Whilst it may be a tighter competition in the future, humans are still streets ahead when it comes to quality translation.
Getting it wrong is costly
There are many horror stories about bad translations, from the light-hearted to the more severe. One memorable example is when KFC’s tagline “'finger-lickin' good" was translated into “we’ll eat your fingers off”, or the time HSBC had its strapline “Assume Nothing” mistranslated to “Do Nothing” in several countries, resulting in a costly $10 million rebrand!
However, there are more sombre stories too. At a hospital in the US, the Spanish word ‘intoxicado’ was misinterpreted as ‘intoxicated’, when it actually means ‘poisoned’ or ‘having an allergic reaction’… this easily avoidable mistake resulted in the patient being given the wrong medication and losing the use of all four limbs, and a $71 million-dollar lawsuit for the hospital. Although this is slightly different in that was a face to face interpretation, you can see how easily translation can go wrong and how costly it can be.
Vandu Language Services are a bespoke and professional translation and interpreting services for organisations across the UK, Europe and worldwide, please contact us on 01273 473986, or email for further information.