Why cheap translation services can prove costly

Why cheap translation services can prove costly

When it comes to defining a comprehensive business strategy, it’s easy to overlook small yet important details that can make the difference between success or failure.

Translation errors can discredit your brand and – believe it or not – lead to major financial losses for your company. Don’t believe me? Below are just some of the ways a cheap translation service can prove very costly:

  1. Legal Consequences: when your company enters an international market you may well need your legal documentation translated (contracts and agreements, price lists, terms and conditions, etc.) A translation error in this type of document can lead to non-compliance, as well as significant delays for procedures, and perhaps even to lawsuits.

Translating for the legal profession can be one of the most challenging areas since it presents a host of legal, linguistic, terminological and cultural challenges.

Let’s consider an example: Imagine you have a construction company. You win the tender to build a shopping mall in the state of California. You send the documentation required to obtain the necessary land use permits, however an error in the English translation prevents authorization of the project.

Times are pushed back, your operation grinds to a halt, suppliers raise their prices, you need to speed up construction and hire more workers to meet the deadline.

All of this due to a translation error from an inexperienced agency, machine translation or a non-specialized in-house team.

  1. Effective means of communication: a few years ago, British media giant the BBC published an interesting article in which entrepreneur Charles Duncombe analyzed communication challenges for websites. Duncombe’s study showed that “a single spelling error can cut a website’s sales by half.”

Did people lose trust in the brand? Was the information unclear? There are many possible explanations, but the fact of the matter is that an inaccurate translation in your media could result in a considerable loss of sales.

  1.  Product launch failures: A few years ago, Ford tried to launch the “Pinto” in Brazil. The problem is the American company never realized that in Brazil the term “pinto” refers to small male genitalia.

Obviously, no Brazilian would be proud of owning a “Pinto.” Ford did try to re-brand the model for the Brazilian market, but how much time was lost, and effort and money wasted, for failing to research a simple term?

  1. Complaints, complaints and more complaints: if you ask large companies like Telcel or Banamex in Mexico how much they spend every year to handle customer complaints, I guarantee it is by no means an insignificant sum.

If a company’s communication is poorly translated it will confuse customers and generate inaccurate expectations. This confusion will lead to complaints, and complaints will lead to unnecessary expenses as well as costs from departments focused on handling complaints.

There is an old saying: “The devil is in the details.” If your company is currently going global, translation services are a decisive detail in the success or failure of such plans.

Babel is a translation company with an outstanding track record in providing linguistic solutions for a growing number of household name firms. Find out why:

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