Companies, organizations and educational institutions are constantly looking to broaden their reach and engage with their target audiences. Technology helps us bring down the distance barriers and reach a potentially larger market.
However, expansion implies overcoming the big hurdle of language diversity. In this context, how can we tackle the challenge of translating corporate, educational or scientific content for a regional, international or even global audience?
According to the UN, more than 7000 languages are spoken globally, although there are five languages that are considered as “official” in 145 countries, according to the Ethnologue journal. These languages are English (59 countries), French (29), Arabic (27), Spanish (20) and Portuguese (10). Likewise, some 23 languages are spoken by half of the world population.
The 10 most popular languages are English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, French, Russian, Portuguese and Urdu. Source: Ethnologue
Quality Assurance in Translation Services
Translating and interpreting are complex tasks. A good translation should include not only the same concepts, but also the same intent, and it needs to maintain the concepts, the tone of voice from the author and apply the correct terminology.
When it comes to ensuring a global quality standard, there are certifications that can support this level of quality. Many companies choose to apply for certifications under different standards, such as ISO 9001:2015, which certifies that the organization has quality management systems in place; or ISO 17100, which sets quality standards for translation services provided by professional linguistic service companies. This latter standard establishes minimum requirements for translation projects —such as the qualifications of translators, editors and proofreaders—, resources management and availability, and data and confidentiality protection.
A company that has obtained these certifications can guarantee a service that meets a certain quality level: the organization regularly invests in ongoing training of its translators and chooses each project team based on specific standards, and has certified work processes.
Translating is not simply replacing a word with another word in a different language: it is a complex process that involves analysis, interpretation, writing and correcting.
Jorge Luis Borges, the popular Argentine writer who worked as a translator of literature and poetry, said: “From the perspective of a dictionary, languages are just a collection of synonyms, but they are more than that. Bilingual dictionaries, on the other hand, may give the impression that each word in one language can be replaced by another word in the other language. Actually, each language is a way of feeling and perceiving the universe”.
Working with multi- and interdisciplinary teams that are able to cover a broad range of languages, dialects and professional fields, is vital to meet the requirements of each project.
Translation matters: 40% of consumers state that they would not buy a product online if they cannot read about it in their native language. Source: Common Sense Advisory Complex
Translations that Deliver Results
Translation teams regularly encounter complex projects, such as technical texts, financial reports or educational manuals.
Working with specialists in the field is therefore vital to ensure an optimal translation service. If the translation involves pharmaceuticals, for example, a holistic team will include a professional with subject matter and terminology expertise in pharma to review the project.
Language diversity in science is very limited: 80% of all academic papers indexed in Scopus are in English. Source: Research Trends
Favoring translation companies that are up to date with technology trends yield better results. This is particularly important for e-Learning platforms, and very relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with distance learning becoming increasingly popular.
Holistic language services typically have full-time programmers, designers and specialists beyond strictly translators, and are equipped to plan, develop and implement projects in different languages using diverse technology tools, such as Moodle, Articulate 360 and HTML5.
Adapting learning tools to different languages will be key in the coming years. By 2024, the e-Learning market is expected to grow by almost 22 billion dollars in the US only. Source: Business Wire
As we have explained above, companies offering comprehensive translation services beyond strictly content translations offer many advantages: from international certifications and interdisciplinary teams to leveraging the most innovative technologies.
These are critical elements that will ensure optimal quality in your translations and will ultimately allow you to share your content globally, extending your reach and improving brand positioning.