Foreign Translations – Are You Lactating? Cost of Localization Mishaps

Poor Translation Reduces Commerce Opportunities

Localized Foreign Translations

Businesses in the 21st century are seeing a complete change from the 20th, and that change has a distinctly global feel to it. This amplifies the importance of corporate mishaps in foreign markets. Using low quality foreign translation services, one can not only fail in foreign marketing campaigns, but flop on a national scale as well.

For instance, while Cuba is now ripe for new investments, the only contracts that will be signed are those which have passed the scrutiny of a socialistic military-run body. Some English sentences or phrases may perfectly translate into Spanish, but unnoticed connotations may denote a capitalistic ideal repugnant to governing bodies examining the arrangement. Only the human element can properly interpret such situations, and using anything less is begging to fail.

As the century marches on and companies develop relationships, they funnel economies through international trade. The new ideal centered around production webs in multiple disparate countries that yet interlock. Couple that with a secure economy not necessarily centered in any nationality.

Foreign Translations Inside An Organization

When trade agreements are being drafted with the built-in assumption of international economic ebb-and-flow, naturally translation can’t be merely approximate. Approximations organizationally yield statistical losses. While there is always a gain from expenditure reduction, there’s a point at which reducing expenses in one area will actually end up costing more elsewhere. In some cases, translation is not sufficient and transcreation is in order.

This reminds us of the old milk campaign “Got Milk?” that after its initial foreign translation into Spanish and launch, was interpreted by many Hispanics as “are you lactating opens in a new window?” Doesn’t quite send the right message, does it? Spanish isn’t English, but it’s a lot more culturally similar than, say, Chinese. Imagine your organization selling its products in 20 countries in Europe and 5 countries in Asia. Imagine there’s a mishap after a shipment to all those countries has been made. The recall alone would be disastrous; often in such scenarios some kind of re-purposing is sought, but not all products can be re-purposed, so potentially millions could be lost through a simple mistake. Such a loss limits outreach and expansion commercially, and forces damage control into the lime-light.

No corporation is immune from such mishaps, either. For instance, even NASA famously blundered in translating Metric and English units, crashing the multi-million dollar Mars Orbiter into the Martian dust. You must be adroit in the translation services you choose. It’s not just about accuracy, it’s about conveyance of meaning and localization.

Proper Translation Functions as an Investment

Professional localized foreign translations demonstrate concern, cordiality, professionalism, and tact to those with whom you do business. This is therefore as important inter-organizationally as it is in international commerce. The global market has been burgeoning for years now and is at a stage of ripeness. Such markets are poised to increase, not decrease. This requires professional translation services of the highest level. By using them, you can ensure a streamlined corporate functionality. Furthermore, the establishment of firm international foundations promote future economic growth. The costs of professional translation services are like development, marketing, regulatory or any other necessary expenditure; but a dependable service will definitely save you more than any other option. With commerce increasingly tied to international agreements, failing to utilize such options as they are available risks substantial losses.

To fully milk your cash cows worldwide, make the right choices in translation services as they are key to bringing your products the right attention. Don’t wait till the cows come home…

10 Tips On Achieving Quality in Translation and Localization

Whitepaper 10 Tips on Achieving Quality in Translation & Localization

This whitepaper presents applicable ten tips that will help you navigate through the requirements of your time-sensitive translations and deliver a quality that your stakeholders will thank you for. Download it for free!

    * How did you learn about us?