managing a startup, fundraising might be one of the most harrowing experiences
any startup founder will go through. Everything hangs on how you can captivate
different types of investors.
you’re seeking more funds from foreign investors; be it private investments
from angel investors, venture capital from venture capitalists, loans from
investment bankers, then you’ll need to enact some major changes to your
One of the
main issues in communicating with foreign investors are obviously language
barriers. For that, you’ll need professional help in the form of interpreters
and translators from professional translation companies.
What You Need From a Professional Interpreter
First off, you need professional interpreters specialize in the language pair that you need i.e. English to Spanish, English to Chinese, and vice versa. But, you’re obviously not looking for any kind of interpreter.
One of the main points of the article is that your ideal interpreter should also have specialist knowledge. In this case, your interpreter should be familiar with legal and financial terminology in your requested language pair. There will be situations you have to look at foreign financial and legal documents on hand and you can’t have it translated for you within the next few days.
Connecting With a Professional Translation Agency
As you know, pitching is precarious business, especially if the survival and the future of your company is on the line. That being said, you shouldn’t spare any expense in getting the best help you need. Under the context of communicating and appealing to foreign investors, you need professional translation services from a professional translation agency.
You’re not looking for the cheapest
translation agency but the best one you can find with the budget you have. A
reputable translation agency will provide you with specialized translation
services to help you translate all of your relevant materials. To name a few,
these include document translation services, financial translation services,
and legal translation services.
But if you need a real time translator, then
you’ll be glad to know that they also offer professional interpretation
services. However, if you’re wondering whether or not you can use the language
skills of your bilingual/multilingual employees, well it depends.
Bilingual/Multilingual people have varying language proficiency levels. Even if they’re native speakers and can carry complex conversations in their native language, do they have the necessary background and technical proficiency that you need from an interpreter? Look forward in the section below to learn more about choosing the right interpreter.
Optimizing Your Pitch Materials
You’re already familiar with the fact that it takes a great deal of effort in preparing the best pitch deck. Coupled with the likelihood that you’ll need to pitch in front foreign investors means you have to further tailor your presentation & all of the relevant media.
Crafting the ideal pitch deck for foreign
investors means relying less on text-based content and more on visual content.
However, you need to streamline your visuals by using pictograms, universally
comprehensible illustrations that convey consistent meaning.
That way, your foreign audience can comprehend most of your presentation and allow the interpreter to fill in the gaps. Another characteristic they’d expect and appreciate from your presentation are numbers, facts, and market figures that they’re looking for.
This is where native language skills come into
play. If your pitch includes concepts that is endemic to your domestic market,
then it will be hard to translate these figures of speech to other languages.
Overcoming this translation challenge involves your interpreter incorporating
local vocabulary and forms of local expression that will resonate with them
If your pitch confuses them since you
improperly used even one or two terms, then misunderstanding is about to
happen. You will give off the wrong impression about a specific aspect of your
pitch. If that happens, then your chances might end up right out of the door.
That is why you must coordinate very closely
with your translator and interpreter to find the optimal angle to captivate and
resonate well with your audience at hand. Ultimately, what foreign investors
want is accurate information. They are actually depending on you to provide
them with on the ground information about your specific market.
This is another area where your translator and
interpreter’s financial and legal expertise come handy. As business regulations
vary from country to country, foreign investors always want to make sure your
business is compliant with all the necessary financial and legal regulations in
This must provide them all the relevant translated financial and legal documents of your startup to ensure them that you’re playing by the book. They also want to be aware of any limitations on foreign ownership in your home country and see if their investment won’t cause any legal trouble.
Capitalize Your Foreign Investor’s Native Language
The simple fact is that miscommunication as a consequence of language barriers presents risks in doing business. You can mitigate these risks by communicating with them in their native language. Even though English is considered as the lingua franca of the international business community, it’s best not expect foreign investors to be fluent in English as you are.
As the saying goes “When in Rome, do as the
Romans do”. Every language has their own flow and cadence. You’re not aiming
for robotic and nonsensical literal translations. You need native speakers that
can capture the optimal mode of expression that will help you gain the interest
Why You as a Startup Founder Should Also Learn New Languages
There will be situations where you cannot rely on an interpreter or your multilingual employees, and rather you have to brave the storm by yourself. Who better to represent the company than the CEO themselves. This might not matter too much in the beginning but as your company increases its global connections, then language skills are a must.
Take a look at global CEOs who are bilingual and multilingual. They’ve accredited their language skills in helping catapult their recognition as a global business leader and boosted the overall image of the company.
the co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba, speaks fluent English.
Even though Alibaba is a primarily the e-commerce giant in the Asian region,
his English skills and captivating public persona allowed him to be
recognizable throughout Western audiences even if they don’t use the services
good example is Mark Zuckerberg. He speaks Mandarin as his second language.
Mandarin was a natural choice for him since his wife’s family is native Chinese
and he wanted to communicate better with them. He also cites learning Mandarin
as a business maneuver as he awaits the possibility of Facebook being finally
legal in China.
and speaking Mandarin, it will provide Zuckerberg plenty of bargaining power
and soft power projection towards the Chinese audience and even the Chinese
government. Notice that these two figures are part of truly global companies.
Their proficiency in even just one more language has given them considerable
insights and soft power projection in other markets.
by being a bilingual/multilingual CEO of a startup, your language skills might
help you gain lucrative access to opportunities not open to monolingual CEOs.
You can use your newfound language skills to further sway more investors.
Another bonus of learning a new language is that you become more culturally aware of the various cultures around the world. This fresh perspective will inevitably help you and your business as time goes on.
Foreign investors are looking for business opportunities everywhere they can find. Essentially, you can improve your chances in gaining foreign funding by pitching to them in their native language and ultimately convince them that your company is worth investing for.
What will bring them over is that you have tried everything in your power to make sure that you can communicate properly with them. That sign of determination might help convince them that you’re worth the investment.
About Author: Steve Nelson
Freelance content marketing specialist; core expertise include content strategy, massive content development, syndication and content flow design focusing lead generation. I have delivered successful campaigns to a big list of small businesses in the US and Canada. On the other hand, I help publishers to better monetize their content.