Translators are often the unsung heroes of many business sectors – after all, it’s said that you know that a text has been well translated when you can’t even tell that it’s a translation. So what ARE translators working on behind the scenes – and how are they benefitting millions of businesses and individuals?
A translator can help you reach a new readership
This is quite an obvious one, and perhaps the first one that people think of when they think of translation: books! Some books have been seamlessly translated for so many years that people often forget that they were originally written in a different language.
But for every (translated!) copy of The Count of Monte Christo or War and Peace that we read in English, there are thousands of copies of Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter being sold in hundreds of languages, too. In fact, Agatha Christie is the “most translated” author in the world – although of course, The Bible remains the most translated text ever.
…or new customers
However, translations are not just found in books – any company that sells their products internationally will need to translate their websites, product descriptions and marketing material into the local language. This may include localising it too; adapting the message or the imagery so that it appeals more to the new potential customers. And with the ubiquity of social media and digital marketing, many organisations now choose to have their blog posts, articles, and magazines available in multiple languages.
That’s before you even consider international sporting or cultural events, galleries or museums, who want to have their information understood by as many patrons as possible. It’s no mean feat!
A translator can help make your legal documents acceptable in another country
Births, deaths, marriages, and everything in between…there must be thousands of official documents being translated every day. If you were born or married in a different country, and you need to apply for a passport, for example, then a translator would translate these certificates to support your applications.
Likewise, if you’re applying for a job overseas, then your grade transcripts or qualifications may need to be translated too, so that your employer can understand your level of expertise.
Another example is when you want to buy a property in another country; any related bank statements or structural reports may need to be translated one way or another, so that the buyer or seller know what’s going on in the process.
A translator can help you communicate with your employees
A lot of my own work comes under this category: international companies have employees in different countries and time zones, but of course, for the best results, you want everyone to be singing from the same hymn sheet. That’s why employee manuals, training materials, internal communications and documents such as HSE policies also need to be translated, so that you can achieve consistency in every branch or office.
I also personally translate a lot of company newsletters and magazines, so that employees and partners in different locations can stay up to date with one another’s events and achievements. Speaking of partners…
A translator can help you keep your stakeholders in the loop
Companies will frequently release reports and statements on their performance, for the information of their partners, shareholders and other stakeholders. Once again, when it comes to international organisations, not everyone will necessarily speak the same language, so financial statements, audit reports, and articles of association need translating too. I often translate annual general meeting agendas, so that all of the shareholders present are aware of the draft resolutions that are going to be discussed.
A translation can help your company maintain international standards
Many organisations, especially banks, have to report to international bodies such as the ISO or the European Banking Authority to ensure that they are complying with the correct regulations. This means that large documents such as risk appetite frameworks, audit reports, and recovery plans, which the company may not have originally written in English, have to be translated for these authorities.
While the examples above are by no means exhaustive, they all require a different translation approach, depending on who is going to read the text. Whether you need a translation to inform, persuade or entertain, a skilled translator will craft a whole new text for you that perfectly conveys your desired message.