With explicit permission from the Boston Herald and the author Mrs. Wendy Pease
(http://www.rapportintl.com) I would like to share this interesting article about the translation market in the Boston Herald on Aug. 1, by Wendy Pease:
Speak language of exporting success?
The State Department has estimated that U.S. firms lose $50 billion in potential sales annually because of lack of translation. Some companies that didn't export as recently as 10 years ago now derive 40 percent of their revenues from international sales. If your company exports or is considering exporting, a peek at why companies fail may help you avoid some common mistakes.
Two of the most common mistakes include 1) poor communication with partners and clients and 2) not understanding the local market and culture. To be successful in your venture, you can greatly increase your odds of exporting success by working with a professional translation company that will guide you away from these mistakes.
Some exporters try to save costs by handling translations in the following ways:
? Keeping materials in English. According to IDC, a leading research firm, 85 percent of Web pages are in English but only 45 percent of the Web's users are native speakers. Users of the Internet prefer to conduct business in their own language. There is no international language. Make sure to use the language your customers speak whether it is for your Web site or other business materials.
? Using in-house personnel to translate. You employ trained marketing professionals to write marketing materials. You also want to employ a trained professional for translation. Simple word choice and meaning can be glossed over with someone not trained in translation.
? Entering only English-speaking countries. Deciding to enter an English-speaking country may save you on translation but will cost you in lost revenue in other large markets that are more appropriate for your product or service.
? Hiring the cheapest translator. Be careful, you get what you pay for. Translation companies get resumes every day from people who speak another language and want to pick up some extra work. You want to make sure you are getting someone experienced, educated and knowledgeable about your business. This is not a service to shop on price.
? Depending on your distributor to translate. You've taken the time to prepare the materials in your own language, so take the time to make sure that it conveys what you want. Then ask your distributor to proof the professional translation to make sure that it captures the nuances of your particular industry.
? Not exporting. Fear of other languages or cultures could lose you potential business.There are experienced resources to help you navigate your expansion.
When you hire a professional translation firm, look for a long-term relationship. This will ensure continued accuracy, consistency and timely translations. To assess the skills of a translation company, ask the following questions.
? How does the company select translators? Good agencies have processes for hiring translators. Ask if the agency administers tests or requires samples. Also ask if the agency uses certified translators for projects that need a certification. Does the agency check references? Does it hire translators with the appropriate technical background? Translators can be very highly educated. For technical or complex translations, you want to know that the person is experienced in translation and the particular jargon that your industry uses.
? What are the company's quality control processes? Does the company have its own editors and proofreaders? Are all translations reviewed before going out to the client?
? What other services does the company provide? If you need a brochure translated into two languages, typeset and mailed to overseas clients, can the company handle the entire project? Conversely, if all you need is a one-page translation into Spanish, will the company still take on your small job and not charge you higher rates for unnecessary services?
? What is the company's performance record? Ask for references. What is the company's reputation for delivering on-time, on-budget and high quality? A reputable company will not violate confidentiality by showing you a job done for another client in your industry, but will often provide translation samples or a copy of published work.
? What are the company's special fields? Do the translators have a good library and access to other resources? Good translators will research libraries, reference work and the Internet to ensure that the translations are accurate. Every year, linguists estimate that at least 3,000 words are added to major languages. Be sure that your translators stay current.
? Is the translator a native speaker of the document's target language? The source language is the current language of the document, the target being the language requested. A qualified translator should be equally proficient in both the source and the target language.
? Is your translator from the region where your document will be used? Linguistic nuances and cultural differences can arise quite frequently, especially in advertising copy. In addition, expressions can vary because of historical influences. For example, Arabic expressions in different Middle Eastern countries are often dependent upon the identity of their former occupying power ? the British in Egypt, the Italians in Libya and the French in Lebanon.
The selection of a translation service should be a company decision. Sometimes two or three different translation services can be engaged simultaneously by the same company ? leaving foreign salespeople, suppliers, agents and customers confused by the sometimes substantial differences they note in the material received from what is ostensibly the same source.
The benefits of familiarity and consistency of style, developed as the relationship between a company and a translation service grows, cannot be overestimated.
**Wendy Pease is the executive director of Rapport International, an 18-year-old foreign language translation and interpreting firm that works with companies throughout the world to improve global communications locally. The company recently moved to Sudbury.)**
Mats J C Wiman
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