Native translators make a world of difference.
When a business is expanding into English speaking markets, an accurate translation from a native speaker is essential to make the right first impression. Presenting yourself online to potential new customers requires great attention to detail. Every aspect of how you offer your products and services makes up the whole and will contribute to the overall impression you give.
A translator with the right expertise can do a good job, but a skilled native speaker offers a deep understanding and speaks your market’s language.
Never use google translate!
Nothing screams unprofessional more than text that is clearly a translation generated online. Sentences have no flow and words are offered that give the literal translation but not necessarily one that provides meaning to the sentence. A native speaker will ‘localize’ your content, making sure the most commonly spoken local words are used, rather than the ones the dictionary provides.
A great example is the most common food item to us all – water. It is an essential ingredient to human life, yet can be referred to in dozens of different ways that are location specific. One country’s mineral water is another country’s spring water. Sparkling water in one region is carbonated water elsewhere while water with gas might be soda water across the border. Tap water, ground water, recycled water, rain water and tank water are another category entirely.
This is important because, for example, elegantly bottled sparkling water from a pristine European mountain, is of no consequence in third world countries looking for clean drinking water solutions for rural communities. Translating ‘mineral water’ from English into a variety of other languages is a great exercise in the wide variations available in translations. You will be offered variations on the same thing however unless you know the destination language well, you may be referring to a completely different product than the one you are producing or the one they are looking for.
Translation and localization
A comprehensive translation from a native speaker will use relevant local vocabulary and be written in an appropriate style for the market you are speaking to. If the opening paragraph of your Home page starts with ‘Greetings Ladies and Gentleman’ and you are selling urban street wear to people under thirty, chances are they will move on pretty fast.
The written word online replaces the conversation you would have with them in person and you may lose their interest fast simply because you’ve chosen not to speak to them in an appropriate way. If English is your second language then you’ll usually have a more formal approach because you have a different experience with the language than someone who has lived with it and grown up with it. Native speakers will offer distinct cultural nuances, which often are important to ensure effective engagement.
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Getting the right tonality
The tone of the language will set the scene for the reader. Varying degrees of formality, friendliness, and sincerity are required depending on a multitude of factors and a bad translation will tell your market they are not really that important to you. So the best way to make sure your translation is saying what you really mean to say is to find someone with a natural instinct about the language to say it for you.
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