The business world does not speak just one language, and so to ensure they have the greatest chance of reaching the largest audience possible commercial online translation services are an increasingly common part of a wide range of businesses, from multinational corporations to SMEs who regularly deal with exports.
Commercial translation fits into several different parts of a business, and this guide aims to explain the core principles of commercial translation, its common applications and the benefits it can provide to your business in both the short and long term.
What is Translation?
The late philosopher Walter Benjamin described translation as the act of liberation, that the meaning of a text would be freed from the language it was written in and released into the language of the translator.
In practice, translation is taking a text written in one language and rewriting it so it can be read in another, which sounds far simpler in theory than it is in practice.
Languages often have centuries of evolution and cultural meaning, which ensures that it is difficult, if not outright impossible for texts to be directly translated from one to the other whilst also retaining the same level of meaning.
For some industry sectors, this process is so involved that it goes beyond translation and into localisation, particularly when products are being launched in a new region.
Who Uses Translation?
Nearly any part of a business that interacts with people in another language will require translation services at some point or another, but some particular job roles require high-level translation.
When launching a product into a new region, it is essential to translate your marketing copy, trademarks and product materials into the native language of the country you are expanding into, and not doing your due diligence in this regard can have potentially catastrophic consequences.
One infamous near-miss is the release of the Honda Jazz in Europe, which was hastily renamed after it was pointed out by a Scandinavian localisation expert that the initial name would be highly inappropriate.
Expert translators are essential when working with contacts, legal letters and other essential documentation for two equally vital reasons.
The first is that often a contract in a country is legally binding in that native language and a translation error can lead to people agreeing to very different terms than a company believes. The other is that elementary blunders can harm attempts to network with other businesses in that country.
What Benefits Are There To Using Commercial Translation?
The benefits that can be reaped are considerable, but as with translation itself, exactly what you will get out of it will depend on what you put in.
When networking with other businesses, speaking a language fluently adds an immediate reputation boost, as most people in business prefer to undertake business in the language they are most fluent in.
It highlights that you understand them, put the effort in place to understand them and ensure that you are understood, and emphasises that if there are any complexities, they will be heard, understood and quickly addressed.