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Translation For Start-Ups And Small Businesses: All You Need To Know


Being a small business does not limit you from doing what the big businesses do. Actually, not too many big businesses work on translating their content into different languages apart from the usual English, French and maybe Spanish. What works for them a good number of times is their name. Their long-term existence in the market and consistent quality has carved out a space for them in the international market so with little efforts, they rake in large sales. 

Translators have been on the block, longer than we can remember but how many small businesses visit them? How many small businesses even know the importance of having their content translated into other languages? Not too many. 

When we say translators, we do not mean Google Translate or the likes. We are talking about real human translators with a good knowledge of not less than two languages. This is not to diss AI but only humans truly understand the complexities of language. A good illustration of this is McDonald’s big mistake. When they landed with their Big Mac in France, it was translated to “Gros Mec” which reads “Big Pimp” in French. 

The small business community

The SBA Office of Advocacy explains that a small business is “a firm with fewer than 500 employees”. This means that a firm can be offering its services to over 20 cities and still be a small business. 

As at 2018, there was an estimate of 30.2 million small businesses in the United States employing a total of 58.2 million workers. This possibly serves as an explanation for the saying that “small business is the backbone of America”. The numbers keep going up every year and any small business owner who is armed with this knowledge would understand the need for translators. 

Most small businesses, when they begin, target their immediate community. As they grow, they begin to extend their claws to other cities and only a few think of going global but even without establishing offices in other countries, a small business can have a steady customer base in foreign lands. 

Importance of Translation

For a small business looking forward to making waves, these are some of the reasons you should get a translator.

  • As explained earlier, getting your content translated into different languages exposes your brand to a wider audience.
  • A larger audience (and proper marketing strategies) comes with an increase in demand – which is exactly what your brand seeks. 
  • Having your content translated into foreign languages gives people the impression that you are ready to go global. Even if all your products have only been purchases by English-speaking countries, seeing a foreign language like Dutch would make them believe that you have started shipping off to the Netherlands.

How to Get a Good Translator

As is common with many other services, some translators are not worth your money. Any group of people with basic knowledge of a couple of foreign languages can set up an agency and begin to look for customers. Unsuspecting customers gladly patronize them only to get shabby content in return.

To save yourself the trauma of poor quality, here are some tips to guide you into choosing the right translator. 

  • The translator(s) should be familiar with your field. The job of a translator is basically to translate one language into another and so they can translate content on many different topics in their lifetime. However, some fields require a level of expertise in them to be able to properly translate their content. For example, someone who has spent all his life translating articles on beauty and lifestyle may find it difficult to translate content on cryptocurrency.
  • Ask for customer reviews and testimonials. Unless the agency has a penchant for dishonesty, you should be able to count on their testimonials. Better still, visit their website before you call for their services and go through most of the reviews on it. If possible, ask someone who has worked with them before for a personal review because you can’t entirely count on website reviews. 
  • Ask questions on what their certification process looks like. Do they just translate and read through by themselves? Is there any software they use to evaluate the translated content? Do they send it out to other translators for verification? A professional translator/agency should be able to confidently answer these questions to your satisfaction. 
  • Get a translator that can comfortably work with your budget. This goes on to suggest that before getting a translator, you should draw up a plan on how much you can spend on translation services. If you have to plead so much with a translator to work with your budget, you may possibly get substandard service. So, go online and make a survey. Calculate how much it would cost on average to get a translator and tweak your budget to fit somewhere around the average mark. 

How to Get the Best Out of Your Translator

When you succeed in getting the right translators, don’t forget to give them a deadline and all other desired requirements. Don’t just give your work to an agency and hope that they reproduce exactly what you desire. If you would like to be more formal, classy or less bulky, inform them. Also, ask how long it would take to get back your work – after giving them your own deadline.

Final Thoughts

Getting a translator is as important as any other part of your brand’s publicity. However, do not jump into it if your brand is not ready for such expenses. Before drawing up plans to have your content translated, you should have, at least, one solid plan on how to get that content across to the audience you are translating it for. It may or may not get to them in the first few months but with an effective plan, it subsequently would. 

This also brings up the need for patience: patience with your business and patience in selecting a translator. Start making plans and doing research regardless of where your brand is at. With time, the dots would connect. 

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