4 ways translation agencies can help you expand your marketing reach
Translation is big business, reflecting the perceived importance of localizing web sites, social media, direct mail, and other business documents to reach additional foreign markets. Each local marketing campaign requires a focused, dedicated effort including localized content. If you are trying to tackle more than one or two foreign markets, it’s almost impossible to do it with personal or in-house resources. This is why it’s better to turn to a translation agency or a professional language services provider which command resources and global reach to do the job right.
According to Ofer Tirosh, CEO of translation agency Tomedes, the advantage of professional providers is that they have a dedicated network of translators that allow them to scale to their clients’ needs on-demand. These providers are also usually recognized by international translation organizations and can offer certified translation work as with medical and legal documents. We’ll consider here some of the benefits of working with a dedicated translation company as opposed to some of the alternatives.
How can translation agencies save you time and money?
Even with the dent in expected 2020 revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic baked in, the global language services industry continues to thrive. The market is expected by Nimdzi, in a July 2020 publication, to increase from $53.6 billion in 2019 to $70 billion by 2023. Professional language services cover a huge footprint, with a diversity of coverage ranging from online language courses to software localization for apps and software. Nevertheless, translating and interpreting continues to represent the “bread and butter” of language services.
Today many of us are multilingual but with greatly varying levels of fluency in languages other than our “mother tongue.” We might be tempted to take on a translation into another language with which we are familiar, but will the content be as compelling and professionally correct as it needs to be? Probably not. Just because you can speak Spanish conversationally doesn’t mean you can prepare a marketing campaign for Spain or the dialects of Latin America, not to mention the linguistic nuances and political charge of Catalan.
Time is money, and it’s a good lesson to focus on what we do must efficiently and effectively. Sure, you can find translators yourself in marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer.com, but it’s hit or miss whether the freelancers you hire the first time will live up to their claims and online ratings. All too often they require “care and feeding” and “hand-holding” – let alone being at the mercy of their health and personal availability. It’s a risk if time is of the essence.
How can translation companies improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns?
Translation agencies are structured for fast turnaround and high volume. The top agencies have contracts with thousands of translators, interpreters, editors, and proofreaders around the world. Serious translation agencies may support more than 200 distinct language pairs from the common ones like German-to-English and English-to-Spanish to more exotic ones like Hungarian-to-Mandarin or Swahili-to-French. More than likely, your translation agency will be able to deliver a team in the language pair you require, typically within hours.
The other big advantage of working with professional translation services is coordination and branding consistency. A brand is fragile and needs to be coddled. Because a translation agency is centralized, you are likely to be assigned one or more personal liaisons for your account. This account team accompanies you throughout the project from start to finish, communicating to the linguists directly in each language, ensuring that nothing in your brief gets lost in translation. Instead of the scattershot approach working with various freelancers, you’ll have a coordinated and synchronized approach to messaging across language barriers and cultural frontiers.
How can translation services be combined effectively with technical localization?
These days, translation services are at part of a larger trend. Many agencies today bill themselves as “localization services,” recognizing that content needs to be localized. This is true not just in terms of natural language but also in adapting number and date formatting, measurement and currency units as well as accommodating cultural preferences and local dialects. The 11th commandment of global marketing should be “Thou shall not offend.” In these days of super-charged sensitivity to language, misusing even a single phrase in translation can be fatal to a marketing campaign.
The larger translation agencies, with staff hailing from dozens of countries, have the cultural sensitivity to avoid fiascos but also dedicated technical teams that have mastered the various software tools that are used for translation management. These resources enable the software that we rely on for websites, social media, and direct mail campaigns to be prepared for internationalization. Then adding an additional language becomes a matter of adding a new column in a database, to be filled by a trained translator.
How can machine translation complement human translation services?
Another temptation when constructing a global marketing campaign is to exploit machine translation services like Google Translate. The quality of these resources has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, spurred by the application of Artificial Intelligence to linguistic tasks. Every year, software algorithms improve in their translation of documents and speech. Even professional translation companies can’t avoid the admission that AI-driven translation software can play a useful role in handling foreign language content and messaging.
All serious translation agencies today use software translators and translation APIs. This is unavoidable when translating software documentation and interfaces, or for producing reports which have a predictable structure and language. But human translation remains essential for marketing and creative campaigns. Machine translation is still no match for expert linguists. That day may come, but for the sake of your campaigns, don’t settle for software alone for your global marketing and communications. Translation agencies are here to serve you for that.
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