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Five translation tips for exporters

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Translating into the languages of your customers shows you are serious about doing business with them, and content that reflects the culture of the local market is key to increasing your export success. Additionally, many countries now require documentation to be translated, such as with European product packaging. Free machine translation can be useful to get the gist of a text, but using machine-translated text for your product documentation can have embarrassing and disastrous consequences, ranging from damage to your company image to expensive litigation. Discussing the purpose of your translation and its intended audience with your translators can ensure a safer and more effective product. How to get the best from a translation service:

  1. Have a meeting or discussion with a translation service and have your technical or marketing team participate. Talk about your objectives and your export markets. Bring with you material and information about software programs used, technical documentation, websites, etc.
  2. Ask the service to recommend different solutions to handle your translation projects based on your specific requirements and budget.
  3. Simplify your writing style and avoid local idioms or colloquialisms: you will make the task of translation easier, and reduce misunderstandings.
  4. Help the translator and editor familiarise themselves with your product and company, provide them with any support material, references, glossaries, etc.
  5. Provide an accessible contact person for questions in case the translators or editors need quick answers.

-Linda LaCombe is the regional business manager at Australian Export Translation Service

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