Key Ways to Team up with the Right E-learning Partner for Translation

In this world of global markets, multinational companies operate far beyond borders that speak just their own language(s). They have set up factories and bases all around the world. This doesn’t mean that managers, executives and workers come with them from the country of origin. Depending on their skills, they could be based anywhere around the world and even work remotely if this is economically a good option.  For example, marketing personnel could be outsourced from India, especially if the multinational is U.S. or British based, as there is a large pool of highly experienced English speakers from India who have a wide range of skills.  A company may find it can source well qualified personnel from Saudi Arabia, if it’s involved in the oil industry.

If the workforce is widely spread out it has to somehow be brought together to learn about the company they are working for. The use of e-learning courses has become popular but it is preferable that the e-learning platform be presented in the employees’ native languages. This means the company has to source an e-learning professional translation partner who has the capability of finding the right translators to meet the customised training requirements.

How to find the right translation company: Here are some tips.

  • The first thing to look for is experience in translating for e-learning purposes and that means both on and off the screen as required.
  • The second thing is ensuring the translation services can come up with competent translators in all the languages that your business requires in the e-learning program.
  • The chosen company will need to provide translators who are competent in translating both audio narrations as well as written material in the language and tone required by the business.
  • An approved translation company will have testimonials from past clients that will state how competent the translatorsare.

In Australia, where a national accreditation authority (N.A.A.T.I.) controls and regulates the suitability of Australian based translators and interpreters, you can’t go wrong if you hire a N.A.A.T.I. accredited translation company. These translation agencies are ranked globally as some of the best qualified translation services in a vast number of languages with a high level of competence.

​​Culture is Key to a Business Translation

When a professional business translation takes place, cultural understanding of the target language is necessary, especially when it comes to dealing with products for a business. If the product is likely to be more of interest to women, for example, the language in the business translation should be adapted accordingly to reflect this. Cultural descriptions are a key to understanding and interpretation, whatever the language is. Even the most basic sentence structure can have its own specific meaning.

If a translator uses the wrong word it could be both insulting and embarrassing to the reader. Fortunately professional translators understand the importance of cultural norms in the languages they are competent to translate. In Australia, for instance, NAATI, the national accreditation body that regulates the quality of translators and interpreters, ensures that all their translators perform to a good standard before they are allowed to undertake document translations for official documents as well as business documents and promotional material used by businesses where culture is important.

Getting to know how to ask direct questions in a language being translated is important. There was one such incidence concerning California’s milk marketing board which was trying to promote its product to the Hispanic market. It put on its advert ‘Got Milk’ instead of asking the question if they ‘Got Milk?’. The former wording resulted in the loss of $1.3 trillion worth of market gain because the listening/watching potential Hispanic market thought the advert was accusing them of lactating, not asking them if they wanted milk! A marketing translator would be far better at understanding the potential market than the translation services used by the Californian business.

Cultural sensitivity is important when businesses are trying to market to unfamiliar markets around the world. Not all words in English for example can be directly translated into other languages so it needs the skills of an experienced translator to ensure that the right words are used when translating into a second language.

Quite recently, there was an alarming translation performed by an online automatic translator. Pepsi produced an advert in China which in English is ‘Come alive with Pepsi’ but the translation when put into a Chinese language came out as ‘Pepsi brings ancestors back to life’. This didn’t go down at all well with Chinese recipients. This example is a good reason to use a good human translator rather than try to use a cheaply constructed online machine translator.

How to Market Yourself as a Translator

As a new freelance translator it can be hard to know how to get started. Do you keep knocking on the doors of translation agencies, only to find they don’t need you / pay you too little / only want someone with experience. Or do you try and approach potential clients directly?

If this was a multiple choice question, the best (or least worse) answer is “all of the above!”

No-one ever suggested that starting your own business would be easy, and starting a translation business is no different than any other. You do have to have perseverance and try whatever means available to get your foot n the ladder. The existence of the Internet is a double edged sword. Because of it you can market yourself nationally, globally even, but so can every other freelance translator hoping to get a foot in the door.

You’ve got plenty of time, so use it!

The good thing about not having much work at the start is that it does give you plenty of time to look around and market yourself. As far as getting work with a professional translation agency, for instance, there is nothing wrong with going to talk to the agency boss in person. What have you got to lose?

They may say that they have enough French / Japanese / Spanish translators already but there will come a time when their own translators are gin got go on holiday / have babies / have time off through sickness / move on and work for themselves. And then who is the agency going to ask to do a job for them?

Be selective about the agencies you contact

As a beginner, you could work your way through the translation agencies one at a time, but if you have already been translating for a while and have found work harder to come by, you could do a little research to narrow down the agencies that suit you better / are likely to have more consistent work / pay better rates. Check out the reviews of the agencies and find those that consistently get the better reviews.

Let potential clients know just what translation can do for them

Use a different approach when marketing yourself to a client directly. They will want to know why using a translator will benefit them and it will be your job tell them. These businesses and organisations are not interested in how you do the translation work, what gizmos or software you use or how fast you can translate documents. They want to know that they can understand more of what their potential customers want and how they can market their products to make more profit.

Why a Return on Your Translation Investment is Important?

Translation may be something that is an essential part of the communication or it may be needed whenever a document is required for a government agency, an employer or business. For example, if a business wants to set up a local agency in another country it is likely that there will be a lot of documentation required. Assuming that the agency will be located in a country where the language is different, the documentation must be translated to the standards required in that country.

To take another example, the Australian government requires all supporting documents for visa applications that are not in English to be translated professionally by an approved translator. The translator must be a NAATI accredited translator (NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters).

In both these cases, the translation is a must. There is no way round translating the documents required. Not all translation is like that. Take a business that makes some kind of new gadget. It wants to sell as many of its products as it can. If possible, it would be great if it could sell as many of its gadgets all over the world. However, the business knows that it won’t sell anything unless potential customers know what is being sold and why they should buy it. It will have to make a significant investment, not just in its main marketing infrastructure, which these days, will probably mean an effective website but it will have to pay out for effective marketing translation as well.

Like any investment, it will want to make an acceptable return on it. It’s not like the man or woman who intends to migrate to Australia. They have no choice about whether they translate their birth certificates, marriage certificates, qualifications and employment record. The “investment” is fixed. The business on the other hand has a choice about what it spends on any of its marketing, which includes what it decides to spend on translation.

The return on investment may not be obvious for several months or even years, by which time the money has already been spent. There is no hard and fast answer to whether the return on the investment made will justify spending on the investment in the first place. That’s part of smart business planning. The business that is trying to sell its gizmo, for instance, may want to do some serious consumer research to find out where the gizmo is likely to be in demand. There may be cultural peculiarities that preclude its acceptance in certain communities. If that is the case then there is no point in trying to sell it there and that means that translating information about the product in the local language there is not recommended from a return on investment (ROI) point of view.

How You Can Get Your Documents Translation Ready

Professional document translators are needed more today than at any time in human history. The politics of globalisation may be in doubt in many parts of the world at the moment, but the momentum for many businesses to seek out new markets around the world beyond their own borders is not showing any signs of slowing down.

One of the lessons behind successful document translation in today’s globalised world is to ensure that the language used for all material intended to be read by the target audience is customised to suit their culture and linguistic norms. This usually means seeking out specialised language translators for each of the languages that are used by the groups of people who will read any of the material that you are producing, whether this is website pages, labels, manuals, leaflets, instruction sheets, billboards or any other material.

Before sending your material off to the professional translator you need to go through it first to cut down on potential inconsistencies. Are there any images? Do these have captions? Are the images and the slogans or captions culturally appropriate? If not, you will need to change them rather than expect the translator to adapt them for you.
If you expect to use the same translator or professional translation agency for a lot of translation material, you should provide a style guide and you may also discuss preparing a glossary which can be used in future translations if you do not have one already.

The more time spent on editing and proofreading the material or documents you are going to send to the translator the more likely that they will be translated efficiently. The more the documents incorporate slang, jargon, clichés and metaphors.

As far as making a choice between freelancers and translation agencies, there are advantages of each. Translation agencies tend to have a number of professional translators who work for them or with them and if you are looking to translate your documents or marketing material into a number of different languages, this might be the best option. The preparation you then provide for the agency will then be passed on to all the individual translators needed to translate your material into the different languages.

On the other hand, if you just want a one language translation, then hiring a freelancer has certain advantages, too. Communication is likely to be faster and the relationship you build with this individual may be more personal than with an agency.

The Pros and Cons of Using an Online Translation Service

If you need your translation certified or notarized, choosing a local NAATI translator from your area is often easier than wading through websites of online translators you will never get to meet. Of course, you can speed up the process by sending your document by email but when the translation is completed it’s nice to be able to pick it up from the translator so you can check to make sure the translation is how you want it and that the translator has certified the translation as correct.

Balanced against that is the undeniable fact that there may simply be no local professional translator who can translate the language you want nearby. That’s when an online translation service comes into its own.

One of the factors that must be taken into consideration when choosing an online translator is the time zone difference. Communication may not flow with as much ease as with a locally based translator. Balanced against that is the advantage of an online translation service which can promise a 24 hour turnaround and offer low rates for the work.

How To Find a Local Translator

This is when you go into Google and put in your search term such as NAATI translation services in Australia and you locate the translator’s address on Google maps to find which one is close to you. You can also access the NAATI translators’ list which provides NAATI accredited translators who have proven experience in the language you are after. A NAATI translator will always be prepared to certify and sign translations as he or she has the credentials and experience to do so.

NAATI translators are some of the best translators in the translation industry as they go through a period of training before they are accredited. The accreditation only takes place after the translator has sat an examination. The government of Australia only uses NAATI translators for its translation requirements.

Do You Need a Sworn Translation?

If you have ever had to have an important document of your own translated into another language because it had to be submitted to a government department or an employer then you will have come across what is known as ‘sworn translation’. Every year in Australia, for instance, thousands of migrants make use of approved translators to translate their birth certificates, degrees or diplomas, trade certificates and employment contracts.

Sworn translation is generally never left just to those who consider themselves linguistically competent. In Australia, these sorts of official documents must be translated by professional translation services. These companies or agencies have accredited or approved translators who know how to deal with the usual range of legal documents that must be made available to support applications for visas, temporary and long-term employment, study, and citizenship.

Most countries in the western world have established clear procedures for the way in which sworn translation takes place. In Australia, for instance, translations must be carried out by translators who have been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Translation done by NAATI-certified translators provides a guarantee that an honest and accurate translation of key documents has been carried out. NAATI translators will ensure that the translation they have been entrusted with is certified by them to show that it is an accurate version of the original document.

In some European countries, the translator must swear that a translated document is an accurate copy before a court (hence the term ‘sworn translation’), but this is not by any means a uniform practice. In the U.K. or U.S., where the equivalent of an organization like NAATI does not exist, the translator bears the legal responsibility that a document they have translated is a valid translation. In theory, a member of the public who is not a trained or professional translator could translate a birth certificate, for instance, and sign the document to say they certify that it is an accurate translation.

If you think you have to have an important document or documents translated, then make sure whether it is regarded as a sworn translation and what the rules are concerning translation. Taking short cuts may lead to a visa being cancelled or at the very least postponed or delayed.

Key Legal Documents that May Need to be Translated

Most people in Australia understand that anyone coming to Australia from somewhere where English is not the mother tongue will probably have to confront the issue of translating key legal documents. Even ordinary tourists may have to translate their driving licenses into English if their home licenses are not written in English. This is not just a requirement in Australia, as most countries insist that foreigners translate their licenses into the host language if they want to hire a car to drive around in.

Of course, an ordinary tourist is unlikely to be searching for the services of a translation service provider by a NAATI-certified translator just to get their driving license translated. They can apply for an international license before they leave home. International licenses are commonly translated into a number of the major world languages like French, German, Spanish, Japanese, etc.

Foreigners who stay for longer in Australia as students, employees, businesspeople, or migrants will soon find that they need to translate quite a number of key legal documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, employment records, educational and professional qualifications, transcripts, bank statements, and financial statements, just to mention the main ones.

This is where the use of professional translation services in Australia, whether they are translation services in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, or any other major city, has a major role to play. In general, translated documents need to be translated by an authorized translator. In Australia, that means a translator or translation agency that employs NAATI translators who have been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

It’s not just visitors that may need to get key legal documents translated. Many businesses that have dealings with or business in Australia or wish to do business in Australia will no doubt find that supporting documentation and application forms are translated or at least completed in English. Examples include things like patents and copyright applications. Without these important documents being approved in Australia, there is a risk that both intellectual property and technological ideas could be copied at a financial loss to the rightful owner.

Translating for the Local Market may be Beneficial

A content translation moves businesses ahead

These days a business’s website is the main method of marketing its products whether they are tangible products or services. A potential customer whether looking for something in their local area or overseas gets out their smartphone and puts in a search and that’s often the first point of contact they have with the product. Interestingly English is not the only language used on the Internet. In fact, more than 50% of Google searches take place in a language other than English. Any business that doesn’t take advantage of this apparent fact and fails to translate its website into some of the main languages used in internet communication around the world will be losing out to competitors who took the wise move and paid for professional translation services.

Emphasizing localisation of a product does not necessarily mean that’s the best way to move a company forward. The local market is always limited while reaching out to the global market is limitless. Many companies in the U.S., for example, emphasized the local market more in the 2008 economic downturn than normal, but they didn’t take into account the fact that up to 20% of U.S. households speak a language other than English.

It’s always warming for a person who is not living in their country of birth to hear some dialogue going on in their native language. It might be a surprise to know that for 60% of Californian households English is not their native language.

It seems that the top 100 U.S. retailers still fail to get their websites translated into a second language, in spite of the fact that more than 70% of the Earth’s 2.3 billion users of the Internet are not English native speakers and quite a number of them live in their own backyard.

Every language that is used to market products through a website inevitably attracts more customers. The more languages there are, the better. Research published by the Harvard Business Review notes indicates that 9 out of 10 Europeans prefer to search for information and compare products using their own native languages. An adviser who specializes in translation services in Australia has discovered that visitors will remain on a site far longer if it is written in their own language.

It doesn’t take too much to engage the expertise of NAATI translator in Australia to get your business moving into the global market, as well as attracting non-English speakers in the local market too.

Understanding is Sometimes Lost When Translating Business Emails

There is no question that emails have reduced boundaries and have increased the speed of communication in workplaces, between family and friends, and the movement and paying for products.

One of the first people to benefit from email was the management in workplaces as they could get a message out to their workers all in one go without the need to type and deliver such messages by hand. It also meant that discussions about just about anything could all be jammed in an email and the responses could be sent back too. Unfortunately though, interpreting an email is not necessarily as simple as that and sometimes people can misinterpret what the message is supposed to convey which may mean several emails are passed amongst a group of employees before the true meaning is finally determined.

When real face-to-face communication takes place between people there are more than just words that are exchanged. There are facial expressions, smiles, laughter, and looks of disapproval. These all make up part of our non-verbal communication tools between each other. Emails, particularly those that are of a serious tone, may lead to misunderstanding if the receiver is unable to really understand the email deeply. They have even been known to cause such bad disagreements amongst fellow workers that whole afternoons have been taken up resolving the issues. This is certainly not what emails were designed for.

In a workplace in particular there are employees from all works of life. Trying to put them all in one box when it comes to communication may not work as well as you might think. A younger person, an older person, a person of a different gender or a different ethnic group may all read between the lines of an email in a different way. Take for example a communal email sent out by the CEO to a whole group of employees. To be quick about the process the employee’s email addresses will assume an order when the email is sent. The recipients may well question the order of importance of each of them. Is the person who is first on the list the most important? If it is a directive from management regarding the improper conduct of an employee the first on the email list may feel he or she is being singled out as the culprit.

There are some employers who have established some rules for the use of emails indicating that if an issue can’t be resolved through one single email response then a face-to-face situation has to be arranged to solve the issue. Just imagine if the email has to be put into several languages to reflect the language groups in a workplace. The translator from professional translation services will need to have a full understanding of the individuality of each of the employees in order to compile an email that does not offend. That’s why translation services in Australia normally only use certified translations, which have NAATI-certified translators who understand the importance of the cultural influences of language.