In today’s world, more and more UK based business owners approach international markets in search of new customers, market shares and opportunities to grow. Indeed, with the developments in technology, approaching customers in a foreign country is easier than ever before. Nevertheless, some things never change and so even in today’s globalised and internationalised market, your potential customers would still prefer to be approached in their native language, whatever it may be, and therefore the need for language translation services.

In fact, the translation industry is an industry which grows at a very fast rate, with predictions to grow its total worth to around £40b ($45b) by 2020. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the SME sector grasped the opportunity in approaching foreign markets and acquiring international customers, which today is much easier than in the past, and naturally, translation services are a big part of international business expansion throughout different sectors.

Today, although business owners appreciate the opportunity which lies in approaching and penetrating foreign markets, some of them do not yet fully realise and perhaps appreciate the importance of professional translations and how accurate translations are, or in fact should be, an inseparable part of their global development plan.

Many UK SMEs, even the ones based in London, work with very limited budgets, and therefore one of their priorities is to save money wherever they can. A business owner who has never worked with a translation project before may simply not recognise the differences between machine translations, such as Google translate, or working with professional translation agencies, such as Translation Services 24, a provider of translation services in London, which specialises in translating and interpreting for the UK and international business sector.

A number of UK SMEs cannot justify the costs of professional translations and so they turn to machine translations, which often are free services available online. Nonetheless, since the translation industry is a fast growing sector, certainly some businesses must recognise the true importance of working with professional language agencies and the true benefits this can bring to their business.

The question then is, why do some business owners, also from the SME sector, are able to see past the costs and are able to fully justify incorporating expert translation services into their budgets, while others rely on free services?

Although this might seem like a complicated question, the answer is quite simple; business owners who work with professional translation agencies can see the bigger, long term picture, which naturally goes beyond a one-off expense and involves investment prior to results.

For a marketing and consumer behaviour savvy business owner, brand image is an extremely important factor, which becomes even more significant when expanding onto new, foreign markets. In such markets, new international brands who enter, simply do not have an established position and must compete in order to acquire consumer’s trust and establish their market place.

Approaching consumers in their native language involves translating a number of different documents and materials such as website, marketing resources and even legal contracts. An error in translation of such items may cause damage to the company’s image, and therefore directly impact the business’s plans for a successful, international expansion.

Working with a TSP (translation service provider) will guarantee not only accurate, error free and reliable translation of all materials, but will also ensure that the company’s message is kept consistent throughout different channels, such as website, brochures or even social media. This is something machine translations aren’t capable of doing just yet.

A senior project manager for the London based translation agency Language Reach, which specialises in international business translations and localisation, said that the growth of businesses from the UK SME sector, which require professional translations not only of their marketing material, but also legal documents, is clear in the last few years. Interestingly, although majority of such companies choose local, European markets as their first, target market, such as France, Germany or Poland, a rapidly growing number of business owners decides to approach more exotic markets, such as China, Hong Kong or some of the African markets as their international hubs. The number of foreign companies deciding to invest in London, consequently requiring translation into English, is also rising, despite the market uncertainty linked with Brexit.

Another very important advantage of working with a professional translation agency is localisation. When approaching new markets, ensuring that your content is accurately translated is just one side of the coin. The other, is making sure that your content is socially and culturally appropriate. Colours, currency, images or slogans, although perfectly fine in the company’s home market, may not be quite suitable for the overseas consumers.

In a number of markets around the world, symbolism plays an extremely important role. By working with a TSP, you will be able not only to accurately translate your content, but also ensure that your material, for example website, is localised specifically for your target audience, and consequently, targeting your chosen consumer group specifically with a tailored approach.

In fact, there are many examples of companies, who decided to approach all of their international markets with a one-for-all solution. This, although cheaper and easier to plan and execute, is an outdated method which doesn’t suit a globalised world. You can read more about examples of success and failure with this approach in more details here.

As you can see, working with a translation agency has a number of benefits. Although using free-online translation tools is ideal for private use, for example, communicating with friends and family, they should be avoided in the business world due to their nature. Collaborating with a professional translation agency will ensure that your content is not only accurately translated, but also carefully localised and suitable for your target audience. This may be especially significant when working with marketing content, such as websites or brochures, where the text content is just a part, alongside images.

A business owner, particularly within the SME sector, should always do everything in their power in order to protect their brand image. An accurate translation, localised website and a carefully planned, tailored approach can ensure that the company will flourish within the new, international environment, attracting new, potential clients and business opportunities.

Author: Katie

Katie is a finance specialist with one of the biggest firms in London. From savings to investments, there’s nothing she can’t advise on and she’s here to help spread the word and help you on your way to financial freedom.

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