The translation is a means of coding the same message in a different language system, and as such, translation has been one of the driving forces of the world ever since the first civilizations sprang to life. Without translation, there is no international relations, the same way that without a ship, there is no international travel. However, estimating the exact effect of translation on International Business is a complex task, as it demands that the problem be approached from a multitude of viewpoints.
Globalising Translation Trends
First and foremost, translation today has to be observed through the lens of globalization. As the distances shorten and the world becomes a smaller place, the need to translate official and less official documents rises exponentially. University degrees, medical documents, sales copies and brochures all find their way to the hands of the silent wheels of International trade we call translators. It is the sheer volume of work that is done by online translation services that makes international trade (r)evolve.
Translation and International Trade
Secondly, international trade would not even be possible without translators. While it is commonplace that people are multilingual, as most of the world speaks at least one language, it is not so commonplace that a new brand enters the market without a degree of localisation and a team of translators. Being able to communicate in the local community’s language has been proven to increase sales and brand recognition. The latest example comes from eBay, a company that introduced AI English to Spanish translation and saw the effects of machine translation on international trade. Their sales to Spanish-speaking Latin countries increased by ~17%.
AI translation and International Business
eBay’s great example with AI translator brings about the third important perspective in understanding the influence of translation on international business. AI is a relatively new trend, and in translation, it may provide good but limited quality translation. However, although it seems to be far from translating novels and catchy phrases, the technology is more than advanced enough to translate sales copy snippets and short product descriptions.
The role of AI can only increase over time, as the cost per word for a good translation piece could be up to 99% lower than if a human did the translation. The Importance of Translation Service to global businesses cannot be overestimated, as this new technology pioneers its way to the digital shop windows. With low costs and a high-scope expansion, the technology is here to stay as the results are visible shortly after implementing it.
Translation vs Localisation in the New Markets
However, machine translation has additional drawbacks, as the text is purely translated. That should say that it is not localised, customised and SEO optimised for the new market. Top 10 Trends in International Business showcase the importance of having a thorough approach to business expansion, and they go beyond a simple translation and upload to your Etsy store.
Final Thoughts on Translation and Doing International Business
As the market keeps expanding in a globalising world, having a thorough understanding of the market and the more macroscopic trends taking place can make or break a company. Following the trends blindly can be a bothersome task, but building upon what you’ve observed can serve the growth of your business in ways that can only compound over time.
While the tech giants have conquered the world and Coca-Cola has established itself as the number one soda in the world (you can even buy coke in places where no doctors can be found in a hundred-mile radius), what is left for great-businesses-to-be is a more careful approach to the markets. There’s no point in selling beads to India, as it is the world’s largest producer of beads and jewellery, and there is no point in selling chopsticks to China for the same reason. However, selling jewellery to emerging economies may make sense, as the people open up to the notions of look and luxury.
Ideas Courtesy Elizabeth Baldridge
Elizabeth Baldridge had the privilege of growing up in a multilingual environment. She has a thorough understanding of the problems and benefits of having multiple languages spoken around you. She hopes to build on the differences and help those left behind because of their culture and origin.