The UK has finally reached a trade deal with the EU, but the complications arising from the new Brexit agreement are already being felt by businesses. There have been reports of shipping price increases and delays at ports, which have been partially blamed on Brexit. Add to this the news that many smaller companies are considering moving away from trading between the UK and the EU due to VAT and customs complications, and it comes as no surprise that some businesses are switching their focus towards rapidly developing markets elsewhere in the world. Areas such as the APAC region and South America are becoming increasingly popular with international traders. While Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese are the main languages in South America, in the APAC region, there are over 14 languages in widespread use. All of this gives exporters a lot to consider in terms of potential language barriers and global trading!

Selecting your markets – the fundamentals of International Trade

Selecting new markets to enter is guided by a number of factors. Successful international trade requires solid market analysis beforehand. Identifying consumer / business spending habits, cultural influences and competitors needs the support of accurate translations. It is important to also consider the native language of the main populations in new markets – these have key cost and resource implications for trading overseas. Additional costs could also arise due to employees. New starters in other countries may need documents translated, and you may need an interpreter for interviews or spoken communications.

How does global trading affect the world?

Global trading affects the world in many ways. Global trade can help to boost economies, bring new goods to specific markets and help with balanced risk management. Expanding into wider markets can help to avoid serious consequences as a result of market or economic downturns.

If your industry is facing a skills shortage post-Brexit or in the wake of Covid-19 job losses, having a more globalised workforce can allow you to invest in talent from anywhere in the world. Balance this with the trends towards remote working and recruiting globally could prove a cost-effective move long term. Entering emerging markets can also help build business resilience – since some countries have fewer restrictions and Coronavirus cases, consumer spending and trade could be less affected. Being ready with translated human resources documents such as employee contracts, onboarding documents, health and safety information and user guides is crucial.

Another area of vital importance for businesses post-Brexit is compliance with new regulations and keeping even more on top of exchange rates – access to expert financial translations can be key to keeping finances watertight.

Do language barriers affect global trading?

According to an article on, a 10% increase in the Language Barrier Index could result in a 7% to 10% decrease in trade between countries. Language barriers can at best, cause confusion, and at worst, cause offence. Time differences and expectations of communication can also produce barriers to global trading productivity. Building your brand abroad relies on communicating your brand messaging consistently and effectively in the languages within scope for your trading efforts. Language barriers can effect global trading hugely.

How to market effectively in different languages

With a clear communication strategy, translation can be completed cost-effectively and to even the tightest schedule. As business documents can often contain legally binding and regulatory content, it is advisable to prioritise when budgets are tight and make sure to use a professional provider.

It’s also important to ensure cultural sensitivity across communications as traditions and popular culture references can vary around the world. The best starting point for global trade is to investigate the markets most relevant to your sector. This requires a full understanding of the target market, purchasing decisions and local culture. For marketing materials, it’s vital to achieve buy-in. This means investing in translators with creative translation (transcreation) experience and knowledge of the specific language of your sector.

To find out more about translations for global trading success, please contact our language experts today!