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Posted by in Business, Cross-cultural Management, Global Mobility, International Trade

Global Markets – Do We Really Need Translation Services?

Global Markets – Do We Really Need Translation Services?

As globalization accelerates and volumes of cross-border and international trade continue to expand, Australian firms are being exposed to a range of opportunities in international markets. However, with the high Australian dollar squeezing margins and putting pressure on company budgets, firms are looking for ways to minimize costs.

Exporters and companies with international operations face challenging questions about the need to invest in translation and localization services. Is it really necessary to provide information to consumers and counterparts in languages other than English? Could doing so significantly increase the bottom line? Or would the money be better spent elsewhere in the business?

Surprisingly, it’s hard to overstate the value of translation services for companies looking to capture or retain market share in international markets. As Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche point out in their new book Found In Translation, a recent study from industry research firm Common Sense Advisory found, based on a survey of consumers in eight countries that 72.4 per cent of consumers were more likely to buy a product if provided with information in their own language. In fact, more than half the respondents said that the ability to obtain information in their own language was even more important to them than price. Business owners take note: If you’re keen to differentiate your product in the international arena, language can be a differentiator.

Mark Saba, CEO of Australian translation services firm Anecsys Translation concurs. “Making information accessible is vital to success in foreign markets. It’s about adapting a product to a culture, making it easy for your customer to understand what you’re saying to them”.

“The easier it is for the potential customer to understand the product or service that is being presented to them, the more likely the exporter is to make a sale,” he says.

Research from the European Commission highlights similar trends. A 2011 study based on a Gallup survey of language preferences among Internet users in twenty-three European countries revealed some surprising findings. The study found that, when given a choice of languages, nine out of ten Internet users always visited websites in their native languages. 42 per cent of respondents said that they never purchased products and services in other languages.

The bottom line – as Kelly and Zetzche stress – is that translation is vital for any company that wants to do business in multiple markets. Customers expect to receive information in their native language and in an age of global competition and increased access to information, translating content into other languages is about being business savvy.

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