If you have your website or online content available in other languages, the quality of translation directly affects how many customers you’ll connect with and how your company will be viewed. Let’s say that you’re in the market for a charger and when comparing different models you stumbled upon this description:
Admittedly, it is a pretty extreme (and entertaining) example of translation gone wrong, but unless your goal is to elicit chuckles and smirks you should spend some time and effort towards quality translations.
When potential customers read poorly translated content two things happen:
- They project the language quality onto the products/services and ultimately company image. Going back to our example, if the manufacturer didn’t spend enough time on quality translations, in what other areas might insufficiencies be expected? Product development? Safety procedures?
- They look elsewhere for a similar product/service.
Once a customer forms a negative opinion about your offer he will stay clear of your company. How can you make sure that it doesn’t happen to you? Here are 5 steps:
Critically evaluate your source text
If the quality isn’t great in your language, it won’t be great in other languages. It’s not the translator’s responsibility, either, to improve poorly written content.
Avoid machine translations.
While these tools might be helpful in getting basic understanding of what it is that you offer they are far from delivering exceptional results. These programs lack contextual knowledge, cultural nuances and syntax command (if you’re really tempted, read the charger description again).
Choose the right translator for your line of business.
If you offer medical equipment, you may want to choose a vendor that specializes in medical terminology. Additionally, there are certain certifications that may help you zero down on the right translating service.
Be clear about your target audience and your goals.
Translators will choose appropriate words depending on who they are destined for.
Work closely with your vendor and be clear about your expectations.
Pass on any information that may be helpful in understanding your company culture. Monitor progress and find out if there are any questions or difficulties they face.