There is a greater need than ever before to communicate across cultures and languages and this trend is certainly not slowing down. With a growing demand for this sort of communication, all sorts of translation companies are offering translation services to cover it. Cross cultural communication is more than word for word translations. If a translator is not careful with the translations they could be lost in translation. The result of this is not just embarrassment for the translator but there could be financial consequences for the client.
Miscommunication could lead to a number of different things, such as a loss of reputation for the business, legal issues due to the misunderstanding of a legal document like a contract, physical harm if it was misunderstood safety matters, or even an industrial disaster. For these reasons, clear, effective and accurate communication taking place between languages, cultures, disciplines, and industries is now much more of a priority.
Localisation Solution for Businesses
Whatever the possible consequences, this does not stop a business trying to access new markets overseas. They are increasingly investing more and more into translation and localisation so that accurate communication can occur allowing key information to be shared with those important agents that are a part of business communication such as partners, government agencies and customers.
Localisation is adapting the marketing material and other information related to a product like manuals so that speakers of different languages in different cultures can understand the product in their own language and how to use it. There are several possible ways of doing this including:
- Translating text and audio material
- Modifying documents such a product manual
- Modifying software so that it fits not just the targeted language but the conventions used in the targeted countries such as the displaying of decimal points and the use of date and time formats
Translation Services on the rise
Annual spending globally on translations is expected to increase to US$45 billion by this year (2020). This is mainly due to more and more globalisation so that there is a rise in demand for translated material. Even though many more organisations are accessing artificial intelligence (AI) like machine translation (MT) as a way of lowering the cost of translation this type of translation is not accurate enough for businesses. For example, translating a taxation document, or writing the user manual for a product in a different language.
MT improvements and the further development of translation platforms such as Microsoft Translator, Amazon Translate and Google Translate, have lowered significantly the cost of translations that are good enough for most consumer and the simplest of the business-to-customer application. This has without a doubt worried translation services but as communication is increasingly being demanded in languages other than English the continued demand for translation expertise and higher accuracy, added to machine translation, isn’t going to lose too many jobs in the translation industry.
The more likely development is that machine translation tools will not replace human translators but they will complement one another so they can handle the stringent demands of the most highly specialized translations needed in such areas as engineering, law and healthcare. Additionally, as machine translations coupled with human translators become cheaper because the translation process is shorter more enterprises are likely to consider marketing their products globally because they can afford it.