Judging the Return On Investment on Translation

With over 6,500 languages spoken in the world today, we all understand how integral translation is to the smooth operation of our global economy. Not a single industry has been left untouched by the advent of instantaneous global communications, and with worldwide access to the Internet, not to mention the continual growth in international trade and the ever increasing number of multinational corporations, being able to communicate with one another effectively has never been more important. While translation has become mission critical, as for any investment, companies still want to know its concrete return on investment (ROI)

At the same time, though, can any business really be sure whether an investment in good quality translations guarantees a good Return on investment. The evidence at present clearly indicates that translation can contribute to positive revenue growth. A Common Sense Advisory survey in 2011 concluded that Fortune 500 companies who expanded their translation budgets were 1.5 times more likely to increase their company’s revenue. But let’s take a look at the reasons behind businesses choosing to invest in translation in the first place.

 

Reach Out to New Consumers

In this Internet age, one of the first texts considered for translation is usually your business website, along with similar marketing materials. While English may be the most widely used language on the Internet, just 25.3% of Internet users are actually native English speakers, with Chinese speakers accounting for 19.4% and all of the other major languages making up large parts of the remainder. It makes business sense to market to these potential customer bases, especially considering that consumers prefer to buy products and services marketed to them in their native language. This is especially the case when it comes to success in digital marketing, as consumers tend to google search in their own language, and are more likely to get results and be guided towards services and products offered in that same language.

 

This is where investing in good quality, target market-aware translation can really prove invaluable. Properly translated and localized marketing content will not only break through the language barrier between your business and new potential consumers, it also fosters a sense of familiarity and makes your business more appealing and trustworthy to the local market. By speaking directly to consumers in a way they can relate to, you will attract more business.

 

Preserve Your Brand/Message

Obviously, a lot of thought and effort goes into any business’ marketing strategies and campaigns. Similarly, brand image and reputation count for everything in today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven environment. Whether branching into new international markets or marketing to the multilingual local market in your own community, retaining your brand image whilst protecting the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build thus far is something worth investing in.

 

More Than Just Marketing

Investing in translation beyond the most obvious marketing materials may be more costly but it has been shown to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. By offering both technical and support materials in each language, as well as business-related materials for international partners, companies can dramatically cut the cost of the more expensive support services they need to offer. In addition, businesses become far easier for foreign partners to work with, thus improving multilingual business relationships and maintaining the service quality for consumers across language markets.

 

The same holds true for in-house teams. Ensuring the availability of native language employment communications (even for those working in the company’s main language), safety manuals, as well as training materials can boost overall morale whilst also promoting a more safe and productive work environment for all employees.

 

Best Translation Practices

When considering return on investment, you need to take into consideration the costs of translation, not just the potential new revenue streams. By focusing on translating just those materials that are required based on local market-specific goals and targets, excess costs can be minimized, while still enjoying the benefits of translation for your expansion objectives.

 

Balancing your translation strategy with the needs of your business is another great way to keep costs low and profits high. While a simplified process may be sufficient for informal internal communications, relying on Machine Translation (MT) to complete complex technical manuals or marketing materials would seem ill-advised. Always know what you need. Partnering with a reliable translation agency can be beneficial in this sense, as they can offer advice on not only what translation methods are best suited for each of your materials, but also on finding and managing the most highly qualified linguists for your business so you don’t have to. Translation agencies also offer the benefits of professional computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, translation memories (TM) and adherence to rigorous review protocols and quality assurance standards.

 

You Get Out What You Put In (and More)

Your investment in translation is ultimately going to decide how your business is presented to new target markets. The brand credibility that has been painstakingly built up with hard work and dedication doesn’t just need to survive this crossing of the language divide, it has to overcome it and thrive in the new cultural environments of the multilingual global market. With careful consideration and in possession of translation expertise, your business can reap the rewards of translation, by reaching out to the world in all its many languages.

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