With the advent and rising prominence of Google Translate in the increasingly international nature of business, you’d think we as content marketers wouldn’t have any need for additional language translation resources.
Why Should Marketers Care About Language Translation?
Every professional translator will tell you that translations always involve more than simple changes in vocabulary and verbiage. There are other implications and nuances to consider — cultural considerations, idioms, and syntactical combinations, to name a few. Now, more than ever, we need to be careful how content is altered with each crossover.
It’s true that English has come to be a common tongue for much of the world. However, the marketer’s focus should always be the audience. If you’re a marketer in Iceland, for example, and the majority of your audience is well versed in English but still prefers to digest content pieces in Icelandic, you should do just that. Conversely, if you’re a U.S.-based marketing agency writing for a Spanish e-commerce client, you’re probably going to need to find some quality language translation resources to stay helpful to your client and their audience.
We at Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) only have U.S.-based writers in our network (always have), but we get the question all the time if we translate blog posts from English into different languages. While we actually do a great job catering American English posts to better suit British, Australian, and Canadian audiences, we don’t do any content in languages other than English (yet!).
We want to be sure our customers from other nations are taken care of, since our content won’t work 100% perfectly for everyone.
Language Translation: When Is It Needed?
An example of the necessity for added clarity in a translation is the warning that confronts the English-speaking owner of an Asian-built car which has, say, an overheated radiator — imprinted around the radiator cap is the caveat, “Do not open usually.” While this is not incorrect advice, more specific linguistic choices would accurately convey the urgency of this potentially dangerous situation.
Translation requirements generally fall into three groups:
- Culturally sensitive topics such as humor and regional awareness of events, often unconsciously conveyed with irony, inflection, or idioms.
- Technical awareness involving spatial concepts or the simpler semantics of accepted social conventions, such as which side of the road one drives on.
- Simple exchange of business dates, appointments, pricing, or other straightforward information.
For our customers around the world who need to translate their Verblio posts to suit a diverse audience base, we present nine language translation resources for blogs. (It should be noted, too, that many more are readily available. This list is by no means comprehensive.)
Translation Tribulations is a series of blogs by a German company that specializes in custom translation work. The author, Kevin Lossner, writes (presumably in English — in any case it’s been elegantly translated) with humor and expertise about various aspects of translation, and offers custom pricing for most work.
Further, he’s a power user of the translation software memoQ and writes users guides to help other users become more proficient with the system. Point being…he knows his stuff.
Written by Céline Graciet, this is a thoughtful site dedicated specifically to “English to French translations.” The site offers an insight into translation itself.
She offers custom pricing for “Perfect English, now available in French,” and although some may dispute that claim, consider that a translation is never just a substitution of words. A sentence translated to another language, or from another language, will not sound the same unless the concept is exactly the same in the other culture. Totally automated translation services, instead of “sounding a little different” are often unintelligible if they are applied to complex content.
A good choice for a highly complex piece that requires intimate knowledge of both languages, as well as familiarity with the terms and jargon of the specific industry.
Trusted Translations lists several worldwide corporations as its customers, including Kraft Foods, Sony Electronics, Toyota, Delta Airlines, and Kyocera. The range of languages is equally extensive, with 84 specific languages to choose from, and an ability to choose any language even if it is not available in the list.
This may be a good investment when launching into a new market with a foreign language. Contact them for an evaluation of your needs and a custom price.
OneHourTranslation has an impressive customer list including IBM, the U.S. Army, Avon, Shell, and Coca-Cola, has predetermined pricing for straightforward items such as a 12-word banner ($1) or a 5,000-word manual ($400).
They promise instant quotes, fast delivery, native speakers, and offer their customer service department around the international clock.
A company based in Massachusetts that offers “publishable quality” by combining machine-translated copy with human post-edited content. Their SAT (Smart Automated Translation) reduces costs, produces quick copy, and is suitable for high-volume technical content.
(Supposedly, one could take this to mean that you can assemble a cabinet or program a fax machine with the translated instructions without putting the doors on backward or disabling the confirmation page…usually.)
TransPerfect is the world’s largest privately held translation company. They use a combination of automation and human editing to produce affordable, reliable translations at varying levels of detail.
They offer 170 languages and 1,500 native speakers, as well as industry expertise and fast delivery deadlines. There are many screens of reviews at each stage of production.
Also, they offer a free quote, and the price will depend on the complexity of the desired project.
Touts “Intelligent Machine Translation,” which utilizes software to adapt to your business needs and specific terminology. Customization of the software is available, paired with your own data and engines.
There is an option for a free trial and the use of a predetermined number of characters per month, which can be augmented for an additional charge.
A service for free translation of simpler business communications. If you need further professional help, services are available.
Offers an array of free services which includes a free download, in addition to translation services.
Verblio might not be able to solve your translating needs when it comes to making your content speak to international non-English speaking audiences.
However, given the nine language translation resources listed here as a start, you can confidently generate content that will speak to and provide value to your readership, no matter the language barrier.