When you think about revenue killers for your business, what first comes to mind? If you do business in international markets, low-quality, inaccurate translations might top your list. Despite the high stakes, some businesses continue to treat translation services as an afterthought.
Thinking in these terms, it becomes evident that translation is not just another item to cross off of your to-do list. Whether you are looking to take your business global for the first time or are well-versed in available online translation services, success demands a comprehensive strategy for translation that ties into your big picture business strategy.
Integrating a translation strategy into your business strategy
Although you may be able to get away with translation and localization on a sporadic basis at first, as your business expands, approaching these efforts strategically becomes increasingly important. Many businesses jump in too quickly fueled by an immediate surge in demand, only to fade away without a proper plan for growth.
Keep in mind that entering a new foreign market is not equal to forging new ground in an additional domestic market. Whether you specialize in technology, finance, law, or medicine, these steps will guide you to create a translation strategy that works for your organization.
1. Define Your Strategy: Focus on Key Areas
Integrating a translation strategy into your business strategy is a challenge. Before solving this puzzle, you must get your bearings. Figuring out specific marketing, sales, operational, and functional goals for the international side of your business is a crucial first step in the process.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are my organization’s international objectives?
- What translation services will enable us to meet those objectives?
- What steps can our organization take to communicate with our translation partner to ensure that we reach our objectives?
As you continue to define your strategy, you may discover that you need to drill down further. This is especially true if you are, say, expanding a startup into global markets for the first time. If you are new to translation for business, the best place to start is with your website and marketing materials.
With any digital marketing strategy, content is key. But marketing outside of your primary language is not simply a matter of running taglines through an automated translator. To take just one example from marketing research, Americans and Chinese consumers have different ideas of what makes something creative.
It will help to consider your target customer in each market, along with their buying habits. Remember, for instance, that American Millennials may behave very differently from German Millennials when researching your product or service.
Also, consider what parts of your website users access most often. Come up with a prioritized list of what should be translated today, in 3-6 months, and a year from today.
In addition to coming up with a content strategy, your organization could benefit from developing a quality strategy as well. This consists in deciding what content needs to be of the highest quality and what content could be of basic quality while still meeting the expectations of your target audience.
While you may end up with some initial cost savings by settling for basic quality, take care here to determine what your buyers (and influencers) expect. Making a miscalculation on users’ quality requirements can have a greater negative impact than skipping translation altogether.
2. Find the Right Translation Services to Fit Your Needs
Once you have defined your strategy, it’s time to find translation services that fit your custom needs. Consider your workflow needs, deadlines, and customer service requirements. The right translation services can do wonders for your business by saving you time and making you more productive.
At Alpha Omega Translations, our linguists are hand-selected based on their formal academic qualifications and professional experience. We understand that successfully translating your business’s unique value into another culture’s vernacular is a complex process requiring a team with business expertise as well as expert translation skills. Request a quote today!
3. Track Your Progress: Success is Nothing Without Accountability
Building your translation service strategy is really only the beginning. It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of the work by keeping a close eye on crucial metrics. On your website, track user behavior by metrics such as types of content (e.g., video, landing pages, product and services pages), vendors, and languages in order to figure out what is working and what needs adjustment.
What should raise red flags? If you notice these or similar changes, it may be time to adjust your strategy:
- High support demand in one particular market: A surge in customer support calls about a service despite localization efforts, might indicate that your translation strategy in this market needs to be evaluated.
- Lower than expected user engagement or conversion: While not alway a sign of translation issues, it doesn’t hurt to contact experts for a second opinion when you encounter this pain point.
As with all quality assurance processes, triage is a necessary principle to follow when it comes to measuring the success of your translation services. Prioritize what needs your immediate attention, then move on to making incremental changes aiming at time-tested solutions.
Developing the right translation strategy takes time. But putting some thought into sketching out a careful plan will pay dividends in longterm success and preparation for future growth. Looking for more helpful tips about building a successful global business? Download our FREE Ebook.