Whether you’re a seasoned exporter or are investigating new export opportunities for your business, you’ll have a good idea of the huge investment in time, effort and resources which is required for export success.
Your priority will be to get your product or service to market, and it’s a fact of life that procurement of translation is often left to the last minute. In this article we’d like to demonstrate to you how building translation into the early planning stages of your export campaigns can pay dividends.
The internet, mobile connectivity and social media mean that now more than ever before customers, be they B2B or B2C, are buying goods and services within the context of a connected world. Buying decisions made in isolation of wider and constantly changing sector, economic or social contexts are a thing of the past. This means that increasingly any product or service offer has to be supported with professional technical, marketing or other contextual content.
As examples of this, exporters need their technical documentation to be easily assimilated, their marketing content to be compelling, and their website to be interesting and easy to read. Human resources departments on the other hand need sensitive localisation of policies & procedures in line with local legislation, corporate guidelines and house style. After all an international expansion strategy or company restructuring could easily be undermined by insensitive internal communication.
In non English-speaking markets, all of the above can be achieved by working with a reliable and professional translation partner. So how can really good translation help build your export success? Firstly, clear and accurate foreign-language branding and content will motivate foreign customers to buy from you, and overall brand integrity and reputation will also be enhanced. Secondly, consistent and harmonised messaging helps to convey and reinforce your company’s values and ethos. Finally, corporate and operational risk through poor quality communication and misunderstanding is eliminated.
The following components are key to a successful translation project, and show how AST can make the process of internationalising outward-facing and internal communications simpler, more professional and more cost-effective:
Rigorous selection of translators
AST’s ISO9001 certified and ISO17100 compliant processes mean that the company has approved sector-specialist translators whatever the language and deadline requirements, with experienced proofreaders to give the text precision and fluency to really focus the reader’s attention.
Translation memory technology
Client-facing materials often contain sections which stay the same and sections which need periodic updates. Similarly company websites and technical data or manuals can contain identical paragraphs and sections. Translation Memory technology is used in this situation to identify duplicate and legacy text. The duplicates are logged and reused – leading to reduced turnaround times and resulting cost savings – with company wordings for products, processes, titles & descriptions translated consistently.
The key words used to describe your company’s products, services and processes support your brand and identity. This is equally true in your foreign language communications. Unfortunately, once translated it is often easy to lose control of key terms, leading to uncertainty as to whether the translations are having the desired impact.
AST’s terminology management prevents this. Glossaries are maintained in multiple languages and client terminology is checked in each language by industry sector experts. As the glossary grows it can be reused with each new project, so client content is always on-message and brand integrity consistent.
So there’s really no need for you to leave the “softer” aspects of your export campaign to chance. Using a professional translation company like AST provides a guarantee that your international content will be clear, consistent and effective. Whatever the language.
As another successful year has drawn to a close, we’re amazed at how much has happened at AST in the last 12 months. Here are some of our highlights from 2016:
We really increased in numbers and welcomed project managers Roseanna and Josephine, accounts supervisor Siobhan and translators Charlotte, Maisie and Jessica to the team.
Because of our growing numbers, and so we can welcome visitors to the office, we are now inhabiting not two but three large business units at Ayr Street in Nottingham.
Bernadette recently started her MA in translation and has left the project management department in favour of the translation department.
We launched our own blog, were re-certified to ISO 9001:2008 and began a new marketing partnership with the Institute of Export, the UK’s professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade.
We now have a client portal for transferring large and sensitive files to and from clients, and we have been awarded Cyber Essentials accreditation from the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme. Cyber Essentials helps organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously. This means you can now be even more confident that your documents are secure with AST.
A number of our project managers and in-house translators received certification from CAT (Computer-Aided Translation) tool programs Studio and MemoQ and we are planning to upgrade to the latest version of Studio (2017) early on in the year.
Not satisfied with the number of languages they already speak, some in-house colleagues started learning French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Croatian/Serbian at the University of Nottingham in their spare time.
We welcomed Alexandra back from her maternity leave and waved Lindsay off on hers. Three new babies have arrived to AST parents over the last 18 months; all lovely little girls.
We celebrated with Anna as she got married in September and Kim when she got engaged in June.
Finally, we translated well over 6 million words! Wow what a year! We look forward to working with you all in 2017!
Becoming a PM isn’t necessarily an easy career move. There is a lot to familiarise yourself with – the ins and outs of each client, the translators’ specialties, and the ways of a new office. I don’t like to shy away from a challenge, but you definitely need to remain switched on and preferably in the right gear 99% of the time (the 1% can be for the all-important biscuit, or as at AST, banana break). At the start it can be overwhelming – especially for someone who hasn’t worked in the translation industry before. You have to get your head around an array of texts, where the subject matter can vary from railway switches to petroleum dyes to installation of urinals!
Once the subject matter is mastered, you need to place it with the right translator. This part of the job would be a lot easier if you were telepathic. However, the reality is you have to do as much research into the translator’s specialisms as you can, record their future absences once made aware of them and with a spoonful of good luck the right person will be available. The next hurdle is finding the proofreader. Depending on the timescale of the job, it can sometimes be tricky to find a suitable proofreader who has time when you need them to. It is often the case that you start your morning staring at a sticky note with “find proofreader” labelled gloriously and optimistically by yourself on last night’s paperwork. Nevertheless, as I have found, the right proofreader does always come along and somehow miraculously (or actually down to hard work) the job falls into place and is ready to go. The final step is trusting yourself to have set everything up correctly so that the job runs smoothly to make way for an easy delivery and an easy delivery makes way for one happy client. As a famous duo once sang, you have got to try to keep the customer satisfied….
I cannot help but notice the smile on someone’s face when I tell them that I am a translator. Of course, I ought to be one since I have Turkish parents and grew up in Austria and can speak English. What else should I have been? A doctor? A scientist? Or even an astronaut? Oh dear, no. Someone who was practically born with two languages and who grew up learning two more thanks to an excellent education system is a de facto translator.
This is a conversation that I can never dodge when meeting new people. There are just too many people out there who assume that growing up bilingually makes one a translator. Does it?
As a qualified translator who has been surrounded by other translators for over 6 years now, I can assure you that the answer is a big NO! Translating is way more than transferring text from one language to another. There are so many factors that a translator has to be aware of during the process of translating. It is more than ‘I = ich’. One has to think of the context, the cultural references, the correct word choice, the author… And to do all that, growing up bilingually is not sufficient enough. Being a translator involves much more than knowing two or more languages. It is all about the constant development of language skills, broad general knowledge, even deeper knowledge in one or more disciplines. And that brings me back to the first part of my blog post. A translator is not just a translator or a bilingual person; a translator can also be a doctor, a scientist or even an astronaut.