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What’s Changed Regarding Translation Services

If your company considered professional translation services years ago but thought better, then it’s time to reevaluate. Whether you want to expand to a foreign market or increase your local market share, translation services can help you communicate with users who you’ve been unintentionally ignoring. Here’s what every business owner should know about translation:

Translation is ubiquitous

For the past two thousand years, getting a text professionally translated was a job in itself. You had to find a polyglot who was willing to work for a reasonable price.

Then, with the inventions of computers and the Internet, translation suddenly became a normal commodity. With tools like Google Translate, anyone could translate anything as long as he knew how to copy and paste.

You could, for example, translate this blog to Spanish and have a native speaker check it for you. But you already know what’s going to happen; he’s going to laugh at some awkward phrasing, poor word choices, and the occasional unintelligible sentence.

Automated translation is everywhere, but it’s not particularly good. But with professional translation services, you can hire an experienced translator on the Internet for a low-cost. As a result, you can enjoy the high-quality of a native speaker’s translation along with the speed and convenience you’ve come to expect from automated translation.

Simple errors lead to major mistakes

Not all businesses are willing to invest in professional translation services, though, and they have to pay the price further down the road. Even big companies with enough resources to spare have translated their content and slogans so poorly that they’ve offended locals. A recent Venture Beat article summarizes two of the most well-known translation fails:

When Pepsi tried to introduce the slogan ‘Come alive with the Pepsi Generation”’into China, the translated message apparently was read in Chinese as ‘Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.’


‘Got milk?’ — the famously successful tagline for the California Milk Processing Board — didn’t go over so well in Mexico. The Spanish version was interpreted as ‘Are you lactating?'”

Thankfully, you can learn from the mistakes of other companies before you. If you don’t get your content translated by a native speaker, then you run the risk of saying something you never intended to.

Foreign markets are now within reach

New services have made it easier than ever to expand to a foreign market. In fact, you can communicate with prospective customers around the globe just by having Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Not all businesses are doing this yet, though, and according to a recent Search Engine Journal article, it might be one of the best ways to get an edge over your competitors:

For the smart marketer, this is perhaps the strongest justification for starting to plan and implement an international digital marketing strategy now. Much as everyone was justifying going responsive some two years ago with, “get ahead of the competition and gain a first-adopter advantage,” the same can be said about going multinational and multilingual today.

Your competitors will eventually notice that they can market to users who speak a different language. If they aren’t already doing it, then they’ll probably wait until their current market share plateaus.

But in terms of entering a foreign market, first is usually best, and you can claim that title by investing in translation services. Identify which markets you want to expand to in your business strategy and come up with a communication plan.

So, although professional translation services are now within every company’s reach, many still rely on automated translation. This, along with other sources of poor translation, sometimes puts businesses in a bind when they accidentally market the wrong message to their new target audience. You can avoid this and gain an advantage over your competitors by investing in professional translation services to communicate with your target audience like a native.

To talk more about translation services, or anything else, contact us today.

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