December is Write a Business Plan Month, and this year it seems more apt than ever. With news that entrepreneurs are frequently spawned during a recession and with many small businesses starting up during the pandemic, we are looking at what small businesses and start-ups should know about purchasing business translations. There is a lot to consider; from deadlines to regulations across different markets, so in this blog, our experts discuss some of your burning questions…

When should start-ups consider translations?

It is important to consider what translations you’ll need and how you’ll procure them from an early stage. This is especially crucial if you will be importing or exporting, or you will be hiring staff. While most reputable translators are used to working to tight deadlines, it is always better for both the business and the translator to work as much in advance as possible. Some businesses may launch globally, particularly in the tech sector or manufacturing, with innovations launched in multiple markets.

This allows the translator to get a feel for the business and the industry and understand the brand tone of voice if you are creatively translating texts or marketing materials. Translations are not a matter of translating word for word; translators often need to take into consideration the local culture, market tastes and ensure that creative texts fully make sense in the intended language. It is advisable to include translations in your business plan and begin enquiring about what you may need to consider early on. At Albion Languages, we can offer a no obligation consultation, advising you on what you may need to think about in terms of regulations, timescales, and challenges.

For start-up businesses who have used crowdfunding or overseas investment prior to hiring staff or launching a product, it may also be necessary to get financial and business plan documents translated professionally prior to launch.

What content might a small business or start-up need translating?

Most translations for start-ups are written, and can include creative texts such as marketing materials, adverts, and website localisation, as well as technical and administrative texts like user manuals, employee handbooks and contracts. It’s also worth considering local payment methods and regulations for your industry, as both may throw up unexpected delays and need translations.

It is also worth considering your branding and web presence as both will be crucial and need to effectively communicate your messages in the target market. Look for gaps in the current market; are there messages your competitors are not using or problems that you may be able to help solve? If you will be using social media, it’s also worth considering involving your translation provider in establishing your content plan, as you’ll need to be mindful of different cultural tastes, social media platform usage and how holidays differ in various markets.

Are online translation tools suitable for small businesses?

Online translation tools have their place but should only really be used for individual words or short phrases. These tools are not able to offer creative flair or discretion as a translator would, so should be used with caution for business purposes. Translators often need a solid knowledge of a particular market to understand cultural influences and make sure translations make sense and do not offend any local traditions. They will also need industry expertise to be able to translate industry-specific terms and jargon. These are all factors a translation tool cannot realistically consider.

What budget should small businesses allow for translations?

The budget for business translations varies dependent on requirements. Aspects that should be taken into consideration include text complexity, how niche the industry or subject matter is and what volume of content requires translation. As start-ups and small businesses are naturally budget-conscious, it is advisable to prioritise if the budget is unlikely to cover all the translations you may potentially require. Mission critical items that are required by law such as documents for employees, contracts or financial information should always take priority.

Do you want to discuss translation planning for start-ups or small businesses? Then turn to our friendly experts who will be glad to guide you through the process, tailored to your unique circumstances.