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3 Tips to Overcoming Language Barriers in Business Translation

Mar 13, 2014

The world is getting smaller and the need to communicate globally is becoming increasingly important to a business’s ultimate success. But while technology has made the facilitation of this communication exponentially easier, key obstacles still exist. One of these lingering challenges is the language barrier, for while making an international phone call may be simple – understanding the language being spoken on the other end is a far greater challenge. From business translation to localization strategies, below are 3 keys for breaking through any language barriers that might be limiting your business.

1. Make Your Website Multilingual

A visit to your website is likely one of the first interactions you will have with a potential customer or partner. Translating your website is an easy and effective first step to expanding services overseas by creating a commonly understood starting point. It provides the opportunity to explain your services accurately while avoiding linguistic misunderstandings.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a major undertaking to localize every detail of your website–you will quickly see results by just translating a few key pages. Start by translating your Home, Product and Contact Us pages. Translating these pages already demonstrates your company’s interest in foreign markets and receiving inbound requests can be an indication of a strong potential market in a region you had not previously thought to target. Try beginning with some of the most common languages like Spanish, French and Arabic.

Whether it be finding a local freelancer or using a business translation service, this type of work can be easily and quickly implemented.

2. Localize Social Media Channels and Marketing Campaign 

Social media and marketing are crucial for businesses across the globe, not only to raise brand awareness but to create a clear and effective engagement mechanism with your client base. When you are expanding your company to foreign markets, it is even more important to send the correct message to that market. The most effective way of doing so is communicating in your markets native language on the social media sites they are most likely to use. Facebook may be just as effective in Brazil as it is in the US, but in Russia or China, you’d better be involved in VK or QZone respectively.

3. Global Communication of Complex Concepts

Your most important documents need to be held up to the highest standards of scrutiny in any language. It isn’t enough to Google translate or to receive a rough translation from a freelancer – you need well executed, high level document translation to ensure that your materials are as effective abroad as they are at home.

Finding an effective service for this function, as opposed to hiring in-house, will allow you to rapidly provide key documents for new markets and to provide the agility to shift as different markets rise and fall in importance. A freelancer may speak a few languages, but the breadth of an agency’s offering is very difficult to beat.

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