Exporting and tapping into new markets with the aim of steady, organic business growth: easier said than done. It is, however, possible to achieve growth in the short term without too much difficulty. How? By integrating professional translations into your company and organisational strategy. “Companies must realise that their website is a business card that helps people find their product on the Internet”, explains Martine Kuijs, owner of MK Vertalingen.
Using the correct foreign language technical terminology can be crucial for Internet findability. “Whether from the Netherlands or any other country: all over the world, buyers are performing their searches by using the specific technical terms for the technology or application they require. If the product on your company website does not contain that exact term, they won’t be able to find you”, Kuijs argues.
The right tone
According to Martine, many companies are simply not aware that professional translations are an essential component of their business growth. Online translation services such as Google Translate or DeepL lack the expertise of a native translator who is able to do far more than simply convert texts from a source language into their native language. Kuijs: “There are companies that don’t want to spend money on translations. Those businesses don’t recognise the importance and value of a professional translation. And yet that is so important.”
Tone of voice
“Just take a look at the European Machinery Directive. It specifies a number of health and safety requirements with which all European machines must comply. One of the requirements is that the machine must be accompanied by a user manual in the language of the country where the machine will be used. This translation is mandatory, and naturally it must be 100% accurate. In addition, you need to take into account not only the appropriate tone of voice, but also the cultural and social aspects. While this applies to marketing texts in particular, it is also relevant for tenders and quotes, for example. German readers expect a more formal tone, whereas in France they will criticise any use of English words.”
Part of a business strategy
Companies invest heavily in new machinery, innovation and the development of products and services. Professional translations are usually the last item on the budget list, with whatever money left, to spend on a translation. This is a mindset that Kuijs would like to see change immediately. Not only for the benefit of professional translators, but also as the relatively best way to give the industry as a whole a huge boost. “If a company wants to grow, then it is important that a professional translation is part of the growth strategy. Have one person or department coordinate the translation of texts, thereby ensuring continuity and maintaining an overview. That would be a minor change which can be made in the short term and at low cost”, according to Martine Kuijs.
For an international player such as the TBK Group, a correctly translated website, brochures and manuals are extremely important. “This is not only a part of our service, but also a marketing tool. Our distributors will receive brochures and manuals in the language of the relevant country. We want our export business to grow, and MK can help us achieve that”, says Bart Kelderman, co-director-owner of the TBK Group. As a result, he is very satisfied with the translation agency and their mutual collaboration. “We always have the translated texts checked by the distributor in the relevant country, and that is only to verify specific specialised terms. If any adjustments are required at all, then this is a one-off: MK Vertalingen saves and stores the correct specialised terms so they can be instantly applied in any future context.”
Speed of translations
In the past, the TBK Group translated their texts into German and English themselves. Later, the company decided to use a translation agency. But they only really got value for money when a business relation recommended MK Vertalingen, According to Kelderman. “I’m always amazed at the speed of the translations and the small number of corrections needed. They have translated brochures for us into English, German, French, Swedish, Finnish, Russian and Spanish. He is convinced that, due to the fact that the correct technical terminology is used in a foreign language, potential foreign customers can find their way to the website. “We’ve recently been getting a lot of reactions from South America via LinkedIn. So now we are considering making a Spanish version of our CenTrax and TBK Spillage Control website. The same goes for a Russian translation, as we will be doing business in Russia,” says Kelderman.
author Zamire Willems, CM Communicatie