Translation for business: Why is it important?

by Maria Xanthopoulou

How can a good translation contribute to the selling process and why should it be assigned to professionals?

Unfortunately businesses often neglect the importance of translation, seeking cheap solutions and allocating a low budget to this process. Translation though is not a simple, mechanical or automatic process, as many people would think. It involves dedication, professionalism and plays an important role for a business. In this article we’ll see how a successful translation can boost sales and we’ll understand why it is valuable and it should be assigned to a professional.

Effective marketing

In international trade you should adapt your marketing approach in local markets. To motivate and attract consumers you need to consider not only their local language, but also the local culture, mentality, society and habits. Your marketing campaign should be smart and creative from a linguistic point of view, while from a cultural point of view it should prove that the company takes into consideration local special characteristics and needs and designs a product to best respond to them. From this description we can already realize why the translation of marketing campaigns is a professional job and special attention should be paid to it.

The below examples clearly show why professional translation is critical for marketing purposes. As you see a careless translation may convert a positive meaning to a negative one or negatively affect the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.


Administrative purposes

Translation plays a crucial role for the submission of documents to foreign authorities in order to obtain permissions, licences or other benefits as well. See the consequences a foreign company had to face in its effort to launch its product to the Greek market. Poor translation quality forced the ministry in charge to reject the submitted documents. The company had to re-translate them and repeat the procedure. This resulted not only in significant delays regarding the completion of administrative tasks and the product launch, but also in a waste of money, since the company was charged translation expenses twice.

Poor translation quality was rejected by Greek authorities:


Use of product or service

Once the formalities are completed and your marketing campaign has successfully attracted clients, it’s time to think about how you can ensure a good customer experience. Again translation can contribute to this. It’s important to make the consumer feel comfortable with the product and this starts by providing a clear set of terms of use in native language. For this purpose it’s also crucial to fully understand the description and technical specifications, as well as the function and instructions for use without struggling or misunderstanding. In case you are selling an online product / service, you need to make sure that the platform feels/sounds natural to local consumers, is easy to navigate and the user can easily understand the options and functions from the labels. This is quite challenging, if you think of possible character restrictions or variables often included in strings. A literal translation of the English string wouldn’t be an optimal solution in many cases. You need to put yourself in the user’s shoes and find out which linguistic expressions would be most functional for their online experience.

Not clear instructions make the consumer feel uncomfortable and mistakenly use the product:

bad instructions

Would you be prompted to taste this menu as a tourist?

doner menu

It’s not only about words; it’s about culture! A company can be stigmatized, if the translation neglects a cultural value of the local market. This is why professionalism is needed.

Nieger brown furniture

Conclusion: The selling process passes through translation

As you can see translation is not a simple task. It is rather a professional job and it should be assigned to professionals who have been trained for that. Its importance is equal to other factors, like the quality of your product or a reliable customer support service. A careful linguistic approach can boost your international presence and sales, so don’t underestimate its role!

Maria Xanthopoulou graduated from the Ionian University, where she was trained in legal, financial, medical and technical Translation. She also holds a MA in Conference Interpreting from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her academic career is enriched by several international seminars and courses related to her field in various universities across Europe, including the Leibniz University of Hanover, the Marc Bloch University (ITI-RI) of Strasbourg, the Johannes Guttenberg University of Germersheim and the Bosphorus University in Istanbul among the most important ones. Maria’s professional path includes valuable experiences in multicultural environments throughout Europe. She has worked and lived in France, Germany, Portugal, Ireland and Turkey and this allowed her to enhance her intercultural communication skills and gain deep cultural knowledge about the places and people.

She currently owns the agency Translation Embassy and you can meet her through her blog or social media profile.

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