As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy, what can businesses do to survive and weather the storm? What options are there to tap into so much in the business world and our very lives have changed overnight?
Hope is not lost as businesses can find a new lease of life with translation. We’ll show you why going global (virtually) with the help of professional translation services through a translation company can help save businesses and even boost revenue!
Although the economic fallout as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is proving more difficult to handle than the Great Recession, it’s better to look for whatever opportunities now for survival and even growth in these tough times. In that case, why not go global and take your chances with new audiences and markets with the help of translation!
How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacted Businesses?
Since the coronavirus outbreak first started shutting down China’s factories and businesses, world economies have already been experiencing the ripple effects since China is the world’s 2nd largest economy and produces most of the world’s exports.
However, as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic due to rising cases and deaths in Europe and the US, the global economic repercussions have been catastrophic, one that is already bringing about another recession.
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The impact on China was worse enough as the temporary shutdown of factories has already disrupted the global supply chain. But international and even domestic travel is now halted, giving businesses of all sizes from small restaurants, tourist destinations, to hotels, and airline industries.
Governments are now imposing quarantine and lockdown ordinances as their health care systems continue to fight a blind battle against the pandemic with no vaccine in hand just yet.
The cost of this recession is said to be even higher than the 2008 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession. Experts estimate that all the world economies combined are pouring $7 trillion worth of financial aid to cushion the global economic fallout. As gopping the number seems, many experts believe that number is the bare minimum and will have to take a lot more than $7 trillion dollars should the crisis extend further till June.
But even with millions laid off and temporarily out of work in the US alone, the economy must continue carrying on in any way it can. How exactly? Well, online of course! Doing business online is the norm now and will continue to do so until the quarantine and lockdown measures loosen, along with the full resumption of domestic and global travel.
How Can and How Was Translation Helping Businesses?
Using translation as a way of communicating and conducting business across borders is a practice that is as old as human civilization itself. For obvious reasons, it’s hard to establish and maintain trust between business associates if they don’t understand each other. Now that we live in a heavily globalized and digitized economy, translation is more than needed than ever.
Statista proves that the world demand for translation services is rising every year. The global language services market has doubled in the past decade alone from only $23.5 billion in 2009 to $46.9 billion in 2019! Who are these clients hungry for translation services? Almost every industry and institution you can think of! From manufacturers, banks, electronics, software, gaming, to governments, organizations, academic institutions—you name it! If there’s a need to communicate across language barriers, then translation is the bridge.
Not only has translation acted as their springboard to global ventures but quality translations rendered by professional translators have been keys to their success! Take note by the term quality translations. We’ll discuss more about the importance of quality translations later on in the article. They say money makes the world go round. I beg to differ. It’s translations that make the world round.
However, is the demand for translation services still relevant now that circumstances have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses across all industries are either going bust or hanging by a thread. Many can’t stock their businesses due to interruptions to the global supply chain. People’s consumer habits have changed for now as demand in certain markets have shifted to the essential goods markets. International and domestic travel has been halted until further notice.
That being said, the need for translation in business will always exist as even in times of economic crisis, people are still communicating across borders. But now, it’s just a matter of how high or low translation is in the priorities of businesspeople considering that many are in a cash crunch and looking for ways to increase their chances for survival.
Employing Translation in Business Strategies
Now that you know the kinds of opportunities translation can bring to your business, here’s how to do it. First and foremost is website translation. Since everyone’s doing business now online, chances are you are too.
In that case, it’s imperative that you have your website and its content (blogs, product descriptions, tabs, content, press releases, etc.) translated to the language of your choosing. Looking to attract a Spanish-speaking audience? Then have it translated from English to Spanish?
Don’t know how? Similar to how you hired a web developer to develop your website, coordinate with a professional website translator and in this case, a Spanish website translator.. They’ll be familiar as to which assets and strings ought to be translated and can create your very own multilingual website with the help of your web developer.
They even take the optimization of writing systems into account. As you know, there are multiple writing systems in the world from the Latin Alphabet, Chinese characters, Arabic scrypt, and etc. When you translate one language to another i.e. E
nglish to Spanish and Spanish to English for instance, you’ll notice that Spanish will have more words than English. If your website’s layout is character sensitive, then language pairs with wide word ratios will drastically change the appearance and even feel of your multilingual website.
Next is marketing translation. Marketing translation is quite a broad field in translation that involves essentially all of your marketing collateral. You can think of website translation also as marketing translation. But let’s focus now on social media translation as in tandem with websites, social media channels are another important digital assets that businesses use to connect with their audiences at large.
Statista reports that there were 2.95 billion social media users in 2019. Expect that figure to go beyond 3 billion now that we’re in 2020. Most of them are on Facebook however many of them do not speak English. In that case, you should create a translated version, a Spanish version for instance, of your social media page apart from your English master page. That way, you can post relevant translated content on your multilingual social media page, thus increasing its relevance to social media users, especially since they can easily fine tune their social media feed and weed out unrelated content.
There are many other ways to use translation such as email translation, financial translation, legal translation, app translation, document translation services, and etc. But these entail extra expenses that are not in line with critical priorities businesses as facing now. Sure, every business is looking to minimize costs right from the start but since many are now facing a cash crunch, it’s best to highlight primary assets now which are websites and social media pages.
Aim For Quality Translations From a Translation Company
We’re now back to the importance of quality translations as promised earlier. Now that you know how to integrate translations into your business operations, you might be thinking, “That’s easy enough. I have Google Translate to do the job for me!”.
As amazing Google Translate is and the fact that it’s free, its translation accuracy is quite spotty and quite questionable, thus it’s not advised to use it for professional purposes. There’s a reason why many businesses have yet to hop on the translation bandwagon.
It’s not that they don’t appreciate or at the very least, understand the value of translation in business. Rather, they understand that poor translations will do them more harm than good, but don’t have the extra budget to invest in quality translations. What do you mean by a quality translation? One that comes from a professional translator.
Professional translators routinely provide professional translation services under a translation company. Professional translators undergo years of training in their chosen language pair specialization (Ex. English to Spanish, Spanish to English). They also hone their linguistic knowledge by diving deep into the cultures of the native speakers of the language.
That way, they can come up with translations that ring true to the target audience at hand.
That being said, Google Translate as of now is only capable of churning out simple translations such as common short phrases and single words. When context and other specific nuances are embedded in the text, even humor, then that’s when Google Translate misses its mark.
All in all, if you’re aiming for quality, it’s best for it to be rendered as human translations. Why the emphasis on quality? It’s necessary to create a good first impression in front of a multilingual audience. That being said, quality translations are a sign of professionalism and brand quality.
But even with quality translations, those experienced in the global arena have another trick up their sleeve. That’s not to say quality translations aren’t enough. They’re laudable already and effective enough as they stand, but how can businesses maximize the impact of their translations? Let me introduce you to localization.
Use Localization To Draw the Attention of Global Audiences
You might have heard of localization before since it has been a popular concept in global business and marketing for quite a while. Localization is simply another way of conducting globalization by adjusting products and messages to the nuances and preferences of the target audience. In simpler words, it’s going global by going local.
Localization is used to enhance the relevance of translations. How you might ask? By adding local flavor to the translations. Specifically, by altering it in a way it fits the regional linguistic nuances of the target audience. For instance, if you’re looking for an English to Spanish translation that is targeted to a Mexican audience, then you need a Spanish translator with native knowledge of Spanish that is spoken regionally in Mexico.
Localization can also be applied in nearly all business operations. In market research for example, it helps fine tune your audience research as it compels you to look at factors deeper than the surface level. These include their preferred units of measurement (imperial vs. metric), cultural and social nuances, color scheme preferences, and even taboos. That way, you can come up with the most ideal and practical ways of catching the attention of your target audience.
Keep in mind that a quick Google search won’t do the trick. Although it will give you a general understanding of your target audience, you need someone with firsthand knowledge of your target market. For that, you need a localization expert with firsthand knowledge of your target market from their linguistic habits, consumer behavior, to their marketing channel preferences.
That being said, localization is for those who want to crank up their global business strategy from 1 to 100 from the get go. If done properly, localization is a sure way of establishing local relevance and boosting the success of your brand and product. However, it will take time to do the research. And time unfortunately, isn’t a luxury that many businesses right now of all sizes can afford.
Challenges Translation and Localization Can’t Address. . . For Now
Despite the promise and transformation translation can bring to businesses, the current economic turmoil and coronavirus pandemic is indeed making things difficult for everyone even when they’re doing the very best of their efforts. Businesses that heavily rely on the global supply chain can’t restock and continue doing business, especially if they’re in the business of selling non-essential goods.
Speaking of non-essential goods, a crisis always has an effect on consumer behavior and the coronavirus pandemic is no different. People are flocking to supermarkets and panic-buying all essential goods from food, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol, masks, etc.—leaving little but crumbs left for frontliners, low income earners, and the elderly. Consumer habits have now changed to survival spending, at least for now, since essential goods are now everyone’s priority rather than the latest smartphones and trendiest outfits.
There’s no doubt that there will be more challenges to come as the coronavirus pandemic continues to deepen the global economic and social crisis. As to how long this will last, nobody really knows. Some experts argue that lifting travel restrictions and lockdown measures too early cause a second wave of infections.
As for how long this recession will go, as we know for sure is that it will take a while for all world economies to restart their economic engines after the coronavirus pandemic dies down. In the meantime, businesses should seek to look at all opportunities they can afford to lengthen their chances of survival and even growth. In that case, translation ought to be a part of your list of options worth considering.