Investing in Translation: Understanding the Value for Your Business
Unless you’ve worked directly in the translation field before, you may not understand the value of a professional translation, as opposed to something created with either a free tool or using a service with a price tag that feels too good to be true.
Translating and localizing your content is a great way to not only reach a broader market of potential customers, but you can also connect and engage with these individuals in the same way you would with your English-speaking customers.
Your customers deserve the same positive, intentional experience when they engage with your content, regardless of their primary language.
While it may be tempting to try to cut corners when it comes to the translation services you use as a method of cutting costs, it can be detrimental to your company.
Investing in a professional translation service is a great way to connect with these individuals and turn them into paying customers.
High-quality translations are a great value for your business. Here’s why.
The appeal of cutting translation costs
We understand that, if you’re looking at ways to reduce company spending, it may seem beneficial to find ways to cut translation costs.
But how does this affect the quality of your translations?
And what is the cost to your business?
While using a free translation tool or a translation service whose prices are far below others’ pricing may sound appealing, there is value in what a quality translation can do for your business if you approach it as an investment.
If the pricing seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
The marketing messaging you generate to appeal to your current and potential customers has a direct impact on their relationship with your brand, and in turn, the return on investment (ROI) that you can generate from having the text translated in the first place.
While there are ways to prioritize and organize translation projects to potentially reduce the amount you invest for your translations (more on that below!), choosing a service that is unprofessional and low-quality will not serve your business.
What is included when you invest in a quality translation?
When possible, we recommend working with a trusted translation partner, such as a professional team of experts or a reputable translation agency whose core work is to provide these professional teams, for your translation needs.
Working with a reputable agency is the best way for you to feel confident that your project has been handled correctly and appropriately from start to finish.
For most projects, a translation agency is a one-stop-shop.
With your translation investment, you’ll enjoy an orderly process, working with a project manager who oversees your project to make sure the right people are handling each step. This lets you get back to the day-to-day work that moves your business forward.
The only thing you need to worry about is requesting the translation, being available to answer questions and receiving the final product.
The translation agency will handle everything in between, taking the stress of managing a complex project off of your plate.
Professional translators and proofreaders will be hand-picked specifically for your project because of their specialized skills and expertise.
If you need Desktop Publishing (design and formatting in a software like inDesign or similar) services, your assigned project manager can make sure this step is handled by a trusted team, as well – all you need to do is ask!
One your text is translated and proofread, the final text will undergo a rigorous quality assurance process to minimize any potential risk for errors.
If you opt to use a free or too-good-to-be-true service that cuts out any of these steps, you’re more likely to end up with a final product that contains errors, which can be damaging for your brand (and maybe even for your job!).
What translation errors (both big and small) can mean for your company
Translation errors can be detrimental to your brand.
If you’ve ever visited a website and noticed the text was so poorly written that it was difficult to get through, it was almost certainly translated into English with free or cheap tools as opposed to being translated professionally by a team of native speakers and experts.
If you can tell when you’re reading a poor translation, so can your customers. And it can lead to a very poor first impression.
According to BBC, even a single spelling error can cut online sales in half. Misspellings and poor translations give customers concerns about a website’s credibility, and they are less likely to spend money with the company.
Having poorly translated content leads customers to feel as though they’re not as valued as their English-speaking counterparts, and they’re more likely to find a different company to do business with.
Other, bigger errors can also have potential legal ramifications for your company. If you’ve mistranslated the dosage instructions for medication, for example, and someone falls ill because of the error, there could be serious legal consequences.
If the translation is for your website, a poor translation could also negatively impact your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) ranking, as search engines are less likely to show sites with errors in their results. This means it’s less likely your site would show up for potential customers who may otherwise need or want your products and services.
How investing in translation helps your company’s ROI
In the past 15 years, Common Sense Advisory (CSA) conducted two surveys about language and web browsing behavior, the most recent of which was in 2014.
Both times, CSA found that internet users are around 72% more likely to purchase a product from a website in their own language than they are if the website appears only in English… even if they believe themselves to have a solid grasp of the English language.
Having translated text for your consumers is a great way to reach them. But make sure it’s professionally done so you don’t lose them once they land on your page (or read your print materials!).
Although investing in a professional high-quality translation may cost more up front, it’s worth it for your brand in the long run.
You’re more likely to retain the customers you do reach with your translations, as they will feel confident in your brand, building trust and helping you potentially secure more sales as this relationship grows.
Tips for cutting costs while still investing in a quality translation
Investing in a high-quality translation does not mean you will go over budget! Here are a few ways you can conceivably cut costs while planning your translations.
Prioritize languages. If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first.
Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach, and which will provide the biggest ROI. In most cases, you do not have to handle every language you may ultimately wish to target at once.
If you know you’ll have more of a budget available later, you can also break up projects between quarters (if your timeline allows).
If, for example, you will be expanding to a Spanish-speaking market this quarter, but can wait until the next quarter to translate your materials for your French-speaking audience, you can more easily spread your translation budget out each quarter.
Focus on the specific materials that are critical to your target market. In the same way you prioritize which languages to tackle first, you should also decide which materials are most important.
While it’s nice to have a fully translated marketing campaign in every language, not everything may be relevant for your target market(s), at least not from the onset.
Choose the materials that will help you reap the most benefit from your investment, and either save the rest for later, or leave them in English, depending on your long-term goals.
Make sure the text you’re sending for translation is current and up-to-date. No one wants to pay for the same service twice!
If you’re unsure when your content may be scheduled for an update, it may be worth asking the various departments who oversee their portion of your company’s materials if they plan to make updates to their respective items.
If they’ll be updating content in the coming weeks, and if you have a timeline that allows you to wait for any potential updates to be applied, it would be worthwhile to delay the start of the translation project to make sure everything is in its final version.
Investing in a positive multilingual experience is a wonderful way to strike a balance between customer needs and your business goals.
Not only will you be able to reach new audiences just by having information available to customers in their native language(s), but you’ll be on your way to gaining their respect and trust while seeing a return on the investment and staying within your budget.