You might not agree with the old maxim that ‘the customer is always right,’ but ensuring your customers feel respected and valued is critical to the success of any company. Valuing your customers appropriately means that they are more likely to become repeat customers and will make them more likely to recommend your business to others. But could you inadvertently be disrespecting them by using machine translation?
The case for machine translation
Multinational and global companies are well used to approaching business matters in multiple languages. Even for smaller companies, the rise of social media has meant that reach can be global. As such, the role of translation in the business world has never been so relevant or important.
Using machine translation (such as Google Translate) is fast and free, which is why many companies turn to such services when they have a business letter or email that needs translating. Machine translation services can almost instantly provide a foreign language version of your letter, which you can then copy and paste to the customer.
The case against machine translation
While it’s come a long way in recent years, machine translation is still far from perfect. Machines struggle with the nuances and idioms used in everyday speech. They can translate words but not meaning and often get lost with complex sentences. The result tends to be an imperfect translation that may well seem a little bizarre to the recipient.
Customers receiving imperfect translations may consider your company to be unprofessional, assuming that a poorly written letter could reflect poor practice in the company as a whole. They may also feel that your business doesn’t consider them worth the time and effort of translating the communication properly.
Human translation to the rescue
Human translation is the traditional alternative to machine translation and provides a solution to the problems of machine translation. Professional human translators are bilingual experts who will have no trouble translating your business letters and emails into the language you wish. Their services can provide you with accurate translations that you can rely upon to express your meaning perfectly to your customers.
Given the pressures on modern businesses, many translation companies offer an urgent or rush translation service. This means that you can use translation to your advantage without it causing undue delays to your daily operations.
Translation as a customer engagement tool
Nor is it just letter and email communications that can benefit from professional human translation. Translation services provide you with the opportunity to reach out to your customers in a number of ways. You may choose to engage them with a survey, send them a promotional offer or share details of recent happenings at your company and in your industry via a newsletter.
Business marketing can also benefit hugely from translation. From your website to your brochures, reading out to people in another language can vastly increase your customer base. The translation of such materials also demonstrates respect for your customers (and potential customers) who speak that language – it shows that your company is considerate of their experience of your website and that they are valuable enough to warrant you undertaking its translation. Of course, the need for accurate human translation is even more essential with a public-facing document such as a brochure or a website!
How often does your business need to use translation services? Is translation seen as an essential part of your company’s operations, or is it just a ‘nice to have’ extra that gets undertaken occasionally? Leave a comment to share your experiences.