Companies with a global reach recognise the benefits language translation service providers (LTSP) offer. If you share the same vision as bi-national and multi-national companies, it is advisable to follow their lead. Because most of them have already made the mistakes you want to avoid.
Launching a new business overseas comes with a hefty price tag. Especially when you cut corners and get it wrong. Using professional translation services may mean paying more upfront costs, but hiring the help of experts saves you cost over the long-term.
More precisely, taking advantage of the expertise within a language translation service agency means you won’t lose costs. International corporations recognise the value of talking to customers in their own language. And so should you.
Even though you may feel at odds using a LTSP given there is translation software available online for free, what you need to understand is that the machine translation tools are inadequate. And if the content on your website is poorly written, foreign consumers will not trust your business and your foreign adventure will fail.
The only way to protect your investment when setting up business overseas, is to invest in the services of highly-skilled linguists. Using a LTSP is more cost-effective because they do not cost you money, they save you money.
1: Use local writers
The majority of western companies looking to invest in countries that have an emerging economy such as South America, Asia or the Middle-East should use local writers. There are two reasons for this:
- Colloquial language is sometimes different from that learned by linguists (for example, some words used in South America & Spain differ although they can have the same meaning.)
- Local writers are usually less expensive than non-native linguists
- Specialists writers understand the market and target audience better
The best LTSP’s have a network of specialist writers all over the world and can source in-country translators to adapt the original text. Furthermore, translations are also reviewed by locals to assess the copy for quality.
2. Localise your website
Localisation involves updating your website, product descriptions, instructions and packaging in the language of your target audience. But sometimes – look at China for instance– you are required to localise language for a specific region rather than the country as a whole.
Reducing localisation costs should be a strategy to adopt before you launch a website overseas rather than as an afterthought. Investing in upfront costs will be less expensive than trying to cut corners.
An LTSP can help you choose the right localisation strategy so that it is aligned with your business objectives. This is critical for reducing long-term costs and should be included in your pre-planning criteria.
3: Create a localization glossary
Creating a style guide and glossary of localised terms helps to streamline the translation process when moving forward with the marketing of your products and services in a foreign country. As a result, you reduce costs on future translation projects and avoid costs involved to rework content that does not conform to the brand message or style.
LSP’s can help to compile glossary’s that include localised terminology. These lists are valuable tools for translations teams to understand the subject matter of a business and to ensure consistency in marketing materials. Subsequently, content requires fewer revisions and global brands retain a uniform presence worldwide.
4: Integrate a translation management system
Translation management systems (TMS) reduce workflow between translators, customers, localised partners and vendors. They are an essential tool to streamline the workload of localising content and offer transparency across all parties involved in the translation process.
The key benefits of installing a TMS is that software cut project costs and reduces the amount of time it takes to complete a project – meaning your product hits the market faster.
The software also provides valuable data to project managers. This puts them in a better position to make decisions regarding any changes that may be required such as timescale, schedules and priorities.
5: Use multilingual web templates
When a business expands into an international market, there is no need to build another website. To save costs, develop a website that enables visitors to switch to their native language.
Businesses with a global audience should build websites using multilingual templates whether you have a physical presence in the country or not. The beauty of the internet is that you can still attract and capture an international audience without the expense of setting up a physical store or office overseas.
Furthermore, multilingual templates dramatically cut costs of web design and web development. They are easy to install and link to. All you need is well-written content in the native language of the audience you are targeting for any particular page. This is where a LTSP is invaluable.
The typical features you find on a global-ready CMS include:
- Multi-lingual interface
- TMS integration
- Translation workflow
- Multi-site management suite
- Version control
6: We use translation memory technology
Language translation service providers use a technology called Translation Memory. This is a valuable cost-saving tool that creates a database of sentences or text strings you want to use for your overseas audience.
As a result, the time it takes to translate text is shorter, meaning that you cut spending on translation services. Furthermore, ongoing translations meet quality assurances and require less rework – again reducing the spend on translation costs.
It is also worth keeping in mind that the database you create for your project through a translation service provider is your intellectual property so ask your LSP about the access policy to information stored on their translation memory software.
7: Optimise website for SEO
For an online business to be successful, you need to be visible in foreign search engines. This requires understanding how search engines in other countries target keywords and rank websites.
Bear in mind that your target audience are likely to be using a different search engine. For example, in China, most people search online using Baidu. In Vietnam, the popular search engine is Coc Coc.
Although you may be used to optimising your website for Google and Bing, search engines in other countries work slightly differently. For example, Baidu optimises its searches for local customers – therefore optimising your webpages with local dialects is critical.
8: Use industry professionals
As tempting as it may be to cut costs on auto-translation tools or for using bi-lingual employees (or worse, friends), running an online business is about getting results.
Professional translators are highly educated and trained to do specific jobs. Many linguists specialise in key areas including medicine, legal and marketing etc. Trained linguists are therefore better qualified to get results a bi-lingual friend probably won’t. You certainly won’t get results by using inadequate online translation tools.
9: Streamline work flows through a central LSP
International companies with large inventories cannot operate effectively without centralising core localisation functions and processes. A central localisation helps to manage and organise your products and services both internally and externally.
For example, when operating in a foreign country, you will probably have some form of physical presence; either a local office or factory, or a distribution network. The chances are that many of the employees in factories and distribution centres do not speak English.
When you are managing deliverables across multi-language streams, central localisation maintains consistency, promotes efficiency and ultimately reduces overheads.
The Harvard Business Review reports that localisation has helped some upscale brands increase sales by up to 40 or 50%. Furthermore, a single point of localisation promotes accountability and gives brands more control and flexibility in global markets.
LTSP can help organise centralised localisation, particularly for brands that need to work with translators in multiple locations. Having one point of contact significantly reduces time management, streamlines work process and reduces costs.
10: Project and account managers
Having account managers to personally oversee your translation project ensures content is completed and approved within set deadlines. This reduces work at your end and strengthens the effectiveness of the translation process.
Using the expertise of project managers from LSP’s gives you access to trained professionals that are accustomed to reviewing translations. This not only relieves pressure on project managers that have no formal linguistic training and significantly reduces project management costs.
Companies looking to expand into overseas markets increase chances of success significantly when they invest in professional language translation services. The requirement for specialised talent should not be underestimated. Contact Language Reach for more information.