September 2010

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Reaching Domestic Niche Markets with Translation

Toronto Translation Services Torontonians have a quarter of a million neighbours who speak Italian. New Yorkers can hear as many as 170 different languages in the Big Apple. In the state of California, 12.5 million residents say "Gracias" instead of "Thank you." Wherever you are in North America, the world outside your window knows and uses over 300 world languages. Is your business taking advantage of the opportunity?

Benefits of Translation: Doing the Math

The benefits of translation come down to common sense—if you have a product to market in a city or neighbourhood where some or even most of the population speak a language other than English, you lose valuable custom by speaking in a language they don't understand. If you have a product to offer in a community where 30 percent are Polish immigrants, you've lost almost a third of your potential customer base before you begin. Translate that notice in your store window into Polish, however, and instantly you've increased your audience by half, from two thirds to 100 percent.

But it's not just about the product. It's about the consumer. When you go the extra mile to communicate with your customers in the language they know, they feel respected. When word gets out that your law firm provides translations for speakers of minority languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Tagalog, members of local ethnic communities will seek out your services before competitors. If your service occupies a market niche, others will travel from further afield, knowing you value their culture and language enough to talk in a language that makes sense. When you make the effort, your customers make the effort in return.

What our Clients Are Saying

"I have been very pleased with the service and people I have dealt with. I will continue to use Technovate Translations for any projects that I have in the future." – Julie Wills ADR Chambers

In This Issue

Reaching Domestic Niche Markets with Translation
How much business are you missing in your own backyard?

Document Preparation and Optimization
Get the most from your translator by optimizing your original document.

Client Spotlight: Bombardier Inc.
Translation plays a major role in worldwide transportation.

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For this reason, consider the benefits of translating your website and other marketing materials into other languages. It extends your business beyond the borders of your local community and further into your county, state or province. Your English-only website might—with savvy marketing and a bit of luck—capture the attention of some English speakers, but who is talking to North America's 26 million Spanish speakers, two million Chinese speakers and almost one million speakers of Vietnamese? If you're the only one in your field marketing online to a minority language group, you can guarantee their attention.

Benefits of Quality Translation

There are no shortcuts to quality translation. Free automated translation tools can't capture the nuances of grammar, syntax and meaning that are essential to effective communication. In Asia, poorly translated information for English tourists has been jocularly dubbed "Engrish"—and you can bet those mangled and often comical translations came from badly informed business owners fumbling their way through dictionaries and experimenting with barely adequate online translation tools.

On the other hand, quality translation provided by a professional service makes an impression. It tells the customer you care and ensures they receive your message exactly as it was sent. The avoidable spelling mistakes and grammatical errors of a bad translation can cost your reputation with the people you need to attract to your business. If potential clients see you pay attention to detail, you instil the trust and confidence that makes them want to use your services and purchase your products.

As the USA and Canada continue to become more diverse, with a growing number of world languages adding to an increasingly multicultural society, translation will only become more important in business and commerce. Distinguish your business from the rest by complementing an already unique product with effective translation that reaches the audience others fail to reach.

Document Preparation and Optimization: Tips from a Translator

Tips From a Translator As a translator, I should be calling this article a wish list.

Every agency and translator I have ever spoken with has had definite thoughts on what makes a document good for translation, particularly when a translation comes back from the client telling the translator: "that is not what I intended to say".

Nothing can frustrate a translator or a translation client more than to find that the translated text does not capture the intent of the writer. The result of such a miscommunication is often a returned translation, covered and confused by mark-ups that rearrange the text – more stress for the client, and more challenges for the translator.

A good translator will do his or her best to communicate the intent of a document in its translation. But if the intent is even remotely unclear in the original – the translator is forced to hazard a guess, which can sometimes fail to hit the mark.

A translator's wish list: Documents that are set up logically and contain no colloquialisms and dialect expressions. Documents that are grammatically correct, contain no spelling errors and no punctuation errors.

The ideal document, let's say a technical specification or a software user manual, would be written such that an average English speaker in Greece or Belgium or Argentina or China would understand it without any problems. The emphasis here is on average. Very often, writers are specialists in their own fields and assume that everyone else understands what they have written. After all, it is in English, right?

Let me ask this: have you ever tried to assemble a new product according to its assembly instructions? It doesn't always work – in fact most people don't have a lot of faith in assembly instructions – even though they are written in English.

We don't have faith in assembly instructions because nine times out of ten, they're poorly written. And if they are not written well in the first place, they cannot be translated well, or only in very rare cases. There is nothing worse for the translation process than a translator having to get back to a client and ask "What exactly are you trying to say here", or "What does this mean?"

What can be understood in one language, or even goes beyond comprehension to make a strong or memorable point, does not necessarily translate well into another. And wordplay on a company's name might well "bomb" completely in another language. Listening to (and hearing) what the translator tells you just might save you time and aggravation down the line. Haven't we all heard of those translation jokes – which were no jokes to the company involved – that bombed in other countries? Remember the Chevy Nova? The play on words here was clearly meant to indicate the energy of an exploding star. Unfortunately, in Spanish, the syllables No Va means "doesn't run". Enough said.

Give your translator the TIME to do his or her job properly – the art of translation is not something that can be hurried beyond a certain point. And always insist that a NATIVE proof-reader go over your translation, even if it is just a few words. Remember the Electrolux vacuum cleaner? "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux" – 5 words that almost made it past a test market. Grammatically correct. Unfortunately there is an underlying meaning here.

And if you "flip" your sentences into a document – be aware of the underlying meaning it might have in English and listen to your translator if he tells you that a play on words here is not indicated.

In short – internationalize the English in your document. Leave out any references to local sports and events and wordplay. Have another party who has better English skills than you take a look at your document and, above all, listen to your translator.

Client Spotlight: Bombardier Inc.

Marketing and Manual Translation Bombardier Inc. is in the business of moving people – and they do an incredible job of it. Bombardier's vehicles are used by transportation providers all over the world. If you've taken more than a few trips on a plane, a train, a subway or a streetcar, odds are you've ridden in a Bombardier.

As a worldwide provider of aircraft and heavy and light rail vehicles, Bombardier needs to be able to speak a multitude of different languages. Not only do they move people who speak all kinds of different languages, but they also do business in many languages as well. Design schematics, safety procedures, operation manuals, marketing campaigns, financial reports – all need to be translated.

Bombardier works with cutting edge technology to bring the best transportation solutions to the world. Technovate Translations works with the very best translators and translation tools to make sure Bombardier's communication across borders runs as smoothly as one of their high speed trains. Visit us online

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