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Why your business needs translating

If your company wants to grow its business through exports, the chances are you will need to hire the services of a translator at some point. Whether it is for your website, marketing, product labels and information or correspondence with foreign partners, distributors or customers.

But what do translators actually do? And why should you invest in a translator rather than simply use free online tools? Eureko has the answers.

Translation: more than just words

Translation is often confused with what Google translate does: swapping words from one language into another. Although online tools can be somewhat useful for getting the gist of a foreign text, they are poor at including all of the cultural aspects that are a fundamental part of language. Professional (human!) translators, however, are trained to turn a text into a clear and country-appropriate equivalent of the original text that reads as though it was never translated. This new text takes account of the client’s business philosophy and who the target audience is. In short, translation is about more than just words.


But why is it important that your marketing is culturally appropriate? Well, to take a silly example, if you’re trying to market your umbrellas with a cats and dogs motif to Germans using the slogan “For when it’s raining cats and dogs” this would just confuse the Germans as they don’t have the same expression. When exporting, in order to be able to sell your product or service abroad successfully, it is vital that you don’t just translate the words but ensure the language you use is adapted to local needs. This is called localisation.

Isn't English a world language?

Even countries which share a common language use different idioms and phrases. There is a well-known story about the post-war Germans who asked the Americans for supplies of corn so they wouldn’t starve. Instead of receiving wheat they ended up with tonnes of sweetcorn… A specialist translator would have known this, but instead the Germans’ use of British English meant they had to make do with cornbread. English may be a world language these days but that doesn’t mean everyone understands it well or speaks it the same way. To be successful in your exporting venture, translation is a key service you will need to invest in, but you will soon reap the profits from having taken the plunge.


For hands-on help with exporting, including translation services, contact Eureko.


Posted: 28th April 2015

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