It takes a minimum of 12 languages to reach 80% of internet traffic. Such statistics could spell doom for a business that is using a single language, yet it is targeting a global market. Since dialect is one of the barriers that would hinder your global expansion, prudent investors must embrace media translation to expand the potential of their businesses.
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Defining Media Translation In A Business Environment
Media content refers to documents that keep a business in operation regularly. These documents range from letters to press releases, video files, images, and internal correspondences. The information on these documents should be understandable to employees, customers, and authorities in the jurisdictions you operate as a business.
Some of the materials that would require translation include
- Brochures, cover letters, and business cards
- Content on your website
- Commercials on different media platforms
- Magazines, press releases, and newsletters
- Sales and multimedia presentations
- Social media posts
- Dubbing and voiceovers
- Interviews and documentaries
- Personal business documents
- Legal documents and contracts
- TV and radio reports
The Modern Business Landscape Today
The modern business environment is becoming increasingly global. Multinationals are not the only enterprises that are dealing with customers and authorities who are using a different language.
This era of outsourcing requires businesses to embrace multiple languages to enjoy favorable communication costs from around the world. Enterprises dealing with the international flow of capital and simplified logistics are required to adopt translation services to sell globally.
Luckily, the internet is one of the best enablers for business today. It is providing crucial connections to all continents for firms to serve a global market. However, internet usage numbers are shifting. Today, there are more internet users in Asia than in Europe and the Americas combined.
Content in other languages besides English is also growing at unprecedented levels. For instance, while content in English grew by 281% in the decade between 2001 and 2011, Arabic grew by 2,501%.
Furthermore, Asia also controls 60% of the global population. Since this population is pointing to a large customer market, businesses preparing to address this population must do so in a language they can understand.
What Are The Benefits Of Media Translation To A Business?
A business should not commission translation services for the sake of it. Companies need to engage translators for marketing purposes and to expand their corporate reach. Since translation is an expensive affair, what are the benefits you can expect to reap from your investment?
- Easier communication with your customers– translating business materials will endear you to your target customers. Nelson Mandela once said that “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. With millions of multilingual speakers around the world, businesses able to talk to customers in their language are best suited to take over a large and diverse target market.
- Enhance your brand visibility– one of the factors used to determine your brand’s potential is the ability to reach more people. Brands with a global following are highly considered compared to brands operating in a single language segment. Any brand targeting a global market needs to break the language barrier to establish visibility in other areas.
- Avoid a bad reputation– transferring a phrase from one language jurisdiction to another is a risky exercise. For instance, ‘Got Milk?’ is a tagline used by the American Dairy Association. When it went to Mexico, the translation was, “Are you lactating?’. KFC uses “Finger-Lickin’ Good” as their tagline. In China, it would mean, “We’ll eat your fingers off.” Such slip-offs will damage your reputation in a market you are probably trying to enter. Media translation helps you to get the accurate meaning and avoid vexing your target market.
- Satisfy regulatory requirements– businesses are obliged to communicate to authorities in a country in the native language. Instructions to customers are also supposed to be in a language that the locals can understand. You will, therefore, require media translation services if you are selling a product or operating in a market using a different language.
- Enhance competitiveness– people will favor brands that use their native language in advertising. Therefore, an international brand that wishes to penetrate any market, especially one filled with local brands, must appear to be a local as well. One of the best hacks is to use the local language in advertising. The market will consider you as one of its own even though you are a foreigner.
The benefits of translation to a business cannot be overemphasized. Entrepreneurs seeking to conquer new markets must also prepare to engage the new customer base using their native languages. Business content translation will ease your market entry and make it easier to operate in the target market.
Dangers of Poor Media Translation
From the information above, your survival in multiple markets will depend on professional translation. However, the quality of translation is as significant as the translation itself. Poor quality translation would reverse all the gains that would have come from the translation itself.
Some of the dangers of poor translations include,
- Lost meaning– you fail to communicate the intended message to your clients if the meaning is lost in translation.
- Misleading message– this would be the most dangerous consequence for a business. Misleading users will attract legal penalties from clients and authorities. It is expensive to repair reputation arising from misleading business communication.
- Contractual losses– inaccurate and poor choice of words in a contract could lead to huge losses. Hence, the meaning and intention in the original document must remain in the translated text.
The dangers of unprofessional translation are only avoidable when you hire an expert.
What Should You in a Professional Translator?
What to look for in a translation service to safeguard the quality of your translation?
1. Knowledge Of Both Languages
The essence of translation is to retain the meaning of a text across languages. It is only achievable if a translator understands the two languages. Since it is difficult to be a native of two languages, the translator must have learned the other language in depth. Such knowledge enables the translator to capture the context accurately and maintain fidelity to the intended meaning.
2. Expertise In Translation
Translation is a skill. Some of the areas taught to professionals include nuances in different languages, word-for-word translation, and how to maintain context during interpretation. Thus, students must learn the fundamental principles guiding this expertise before delivering text in multiple languages. It is this expertise that will guarantee accuracy and the production of quality text in different languages.
3. Is The Translator A Native Language Speaker?
Native speakers are the best translators or editors of the translated text. They will understand the nuances that come with their language. Natives also know the precise meaning of synonyms and where these words can fit best.
A native language speaker can help you avoid words with multiple meanings. For secondary language users, however, they are likely to miss crucial mistakes that alter the meaning significantly. These altered meanings may prove costly when misinterpreted or when they anchor a decision in a contract.
4. Turnaround Time
Can the translator deliver the work on time? Each organization has a work schedule that must be respected. It influences the time taken by a translator on a project. Any delays in delivering the work could herald huge losses and missed opportunities.
Factors determining the turnaround time for any translation work include:
- Level of skill– experienced translators will deliver the work faster because they understand the loops of the job. An amateur in language or translation will take more time to translate the work, leading to delays.
- Capacity to deliver on a project– a team of translators will deliver the scripts faster than a single translator. If you have extensive work, it is advisable to hire a firm instead of engaging an individual translator.
- Commitment to work– is the translator ready to submit the translated materials within the agreed time? A small assignment will take an unreasonably long time when handled by an unprofessional translator. It’s, therefore, advisable to read reviews by other clients to determine the level of commitment. Milestones also help you to get your work on time.
Discuss the turnaround time with the translator to determine whether it will fit within your operational plans. If the translator cannot meet the expected turn-around-time, you should consider hiring a different firm.
5. Cost Of The Media Translation Project
How much is the translator charging you for the job, and how much are you willing to pay? The charge should be at a reasonable price. It should also be competitive compared to what other translators are charging.
There is no standard charge for translation services. However, several factors can help you determine how much you pay for translation.
These factors include
- The magnitude of the project– how much work are you handing over to the translator? The cost of a few pages or social media posts, for example, will be different from translating tens of pages of a training manual.
- Technical knowledge required- each industry has specific technical terms used in communication. For instance, a legal document will require a translator who understands law jargon. A regular language user can translate ordinary social media content or web content. Some manuals and user instructions will also need technical translators.
- The urgency of the project– you will pay more if you need the work delivered faster. If translators have to submit the work within a reasonable time, their charges will be standard.
- Are you hiring a freelancer or a translation firm?- freelance translators offer lower rates because their overheads are lower than those of established companies. However, the reliability of freelancers is questionable when dealing with a complex project or urgent project.
It can take one or two projects to find the best translation services.
Remember that the message communicated by your brand in other languages will depend on the translator hired.
Go for the best translators to raise the visibility and potential of your brand in the global market.