Better business with the right translation

Are you showing at a trade fair in Germany? Do you have suppliers in China? Perhaps you have offices in multiple Nordic countries? How do you really know which language to translate into for these different markets? Sometimes it can be tough to know if translating your material into English is sufficient, or if it would be worthwhile to translate into all languages in the countries where your material will be used. Naturally, the choice you make will vary from case to case. Below are five things to consider when choosing the languages into which your material will be translated.

5 things to consider when choosing a language

  • What language is spoken in the country? Is there only one? Otherwise, what is spoken in the area where your material will be used? If the material will not be used in a special area, ask us which language is biggest or if you need to translate into several languages.
  • How many countries will the material be going to? Streamline by writing down all markets/target groups/countries in which the material will be used to see how many languages or variations the text should be translated into. Some languages work in several markets and a good overview will prevent the risk of translating material into more languages than necessary. It is also essential to not miss an important dialect. Sometimes your material may need to be translated into more than one dialect of a given language. For example, there is a difference between Persian in Iran (Farsi) and Persian in Afghanistan (Dari), and an American may think British English sounds choppy.
  • What material will be translated? Who is the target audience? This will influence which language you choose. The purpose of the text plays a major role when analysing which language and dialect to translate into. Are you translating an ad campaign that should speak to the recipient’s emotions? Or will it suffice for readers to understand the overarching information?
  • Does the country have a major second language? And how familiar is the target group with that language? Will the material be used in several markets, where one language will be understood by all? Consider which language works best for several of your markets in order to streamline the translation. Most of the time, it pays to have a translation for each country, but sometimes it can be enough to choose one language that everyone understands. Maybe you only need to translate your material into English if it is for publication in the Nordic countries? This depends entirely on where the material will be used, its purpose, and who will be reading it.
  • What is the business culture like in the relevant market? In some countries it may be beneficial to make an extra effort by translating your text into the first language of the country or target group. A good text in the recipient’s first language helps to cultivate your relationship and increases the chances for business. 

Many of these questions may be difficult to answer and require a solid understanding of the culture and linguistic situation in different countries. At Språkbolaget, we have extensive experience in analysing which languages are best for various projects and customers. We are happy to help you determine the right answers to these questions for your project.

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