Pittsburgh Technical Council

Don't Get Lost in Translation

Don't Get Lost in Translation

Article Published: August 20, 2014

By Nancy Cardone

Planning for globalization is an intensive process that requires a ton of pre-planning. There are many things to consider as you market your business internationally and one key area that can often be overlooked is translation. By not addressing translation as a part of your global planning process, you could hinder your ability to successfully penetrate these new markets and quickly get your product to market.

After being a business professional in the translation field for 14 years, I have learned firsthand the many roadblocks that hinder getting a product to market efficiently. Most times, problems occur because people do not have a clear understanding of how translation works and do not plan for it.

Some common translation mistakes that can seriously impact success when marketing your products globally include:

•  Believing that free on-line translation services or
machine-translations are acceptable solutions for quality
translations. Machine Translation can determine the gist of what someone is saying; however, it is not a viable translation tool for quality translations. You can test this by inserting
professionally translated materials into a translation tool in a foreign language, and see what English translation is produced. You will be surprised by the results.

•  Assuming that “everyone” speaks English and there is no need for translated materials. Although many people globally speak English, there is brand credibility that comes with having your documents translated at a local level. People are more likely to buy from companies that translate materials into their native language.

•  Using unqualified people to handle translations. Employees and distributors can be great options for your translations; unfortunately, they may not be fully qualified to translate your materials. Translation is a special skill that not everyone possesses. If a quality translation doesn’t take into account local jargon, terminology and dialectical differences, the reputation of your company could be jeopardized. In addition, a single translation error can change the entire meaning of a message which could result in a damaged business reputation, loss of sales and even death if you are in the medical industry.

•  Addressing translation too late in the global planning process.
If translation is not incorporated early on into the global planning process, you could incur significant expenses due to inadequate
processing time, high cost rush projects, low quality products and product launch delays. Fortunately, you can avoid these mistakes, get your product to market faster and reduce costs by following these guidelines:

•  Incorporate a solid translation process early on when defining your global strategy to realize significant cost savings by using authoring solutions that help you craft your English content to be more understandable, consistent and higher quality.

•  Work with a professional language service provider to provide the human intervention necessary to appropriately handle subject matter, terminology and locales.

•  Use a credible translation technology solution for workflow and
process efficiency and consistency. Not all solutions are created equal and offer the same controls and benefits.

Today, as you are expanding your business globally, it is essential that you implement a solid translation strategy from the beginning. You may have a fantastic product or service, but if you are not communicating effectively with your customers, employees and business partners, you could lose valuable business opportunities and compromise your company’s reputation.

Nancy Cardone, located in Pittsburgh, Pa., is a localization professional and Across Systems’ business development manager for the Americas. Across provides translation software that helps companies go to market faster through process and workflow automation. At the end of June, Across released version 6 with a user interface redesign, enhanced functionality and increased speed. Nancy can be reached at 412-486-3819 or at ncardone@across.net.


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