One of the most important objectives in a global communications plan is to “Build a business case for your decision to translate for a particular market.” This is one of our key objectives in our Global Readiness Scorecard that we designed for clients to help them on their journey.
So let’s look closer at this objective and some questions that each company should answer:
- What are your target markets?
- What are your reasons for being in those markets and what are the goals/outcomes that you want to achieve?
- Have you determined how communication will play a role in that overall goal?
- What are the languages being spoken in those target markets?
- Are there secondary languages? If employees, do you know which language they are using?
You may be wondering why your language service provider is interested in the answers to these questions at this point. We ask these questions because we want to train our linguists on your specific goals and outcomes (yes, it does influence translation and the quality, the terminology chosen, the expression of concepts) and we also want to save you money and time so if you are asking for a language that isn’t really necessary or isn’t the correct language for the target market, don’t you want us to ask you this so that perhaps you can put your budget to other languages and materials that you really need?
So here’s an example of knowing about secondary languages. This one came from a linguistic screening project. The client wanted to test the company’s English name in a number of different countries. With each country, you test for the language in that country.
One of the countries they wanted was Bangladesh and therefore wanted Bengali. We advised the client to reconsider possibly doing this language (they had a limited budget). English is a de facto unofficial language in Bangladesh and is widely used in business (on TV and in the schools). While the government states that Bengali is the official language, in reality, English is the second language there and at times considered more important than Bengali.
Why should we know your goals and outcomes that you want? Here’s an example from a client relationship. Their objective was “To define their brand more and clarify their corporate objectives” within the content that they were creating for an initiative. We worked with their PR team who provided us with their overview listing the challenges, the objectives, the strategies to do this – their PR brief. That was shared with all team members on the 5 language teams. How did this help? We were able to achieve the following:
- It made the internal review process go smoother. When a reviewer made an edit, translators were able to write their comments defending a choice of term or phrase and link it to the corporate objective. It provided thoughtful dialogue and engagement………..overall, it gained trust.
- It influenced the choice of terminology that was chosen by teams.
- It gave the client an asset in their documented strategy for global communications. 80% of businesses today do not documented strategies for global communications.
So let’s look overall at this objective in the form of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
Weakness: Corporate cannot make informed decisions about these strategies. They are in the reactive mode.
Opportunity: As a strategic partner, we have the tools for your success and can advise clients so that they can make these informed decisions. You may not know which questions to ask. Let your language service provider help you.
Threat: Determining the barriers to obtaining the correct information about your target markets may cause you to lose missed opportunities.
You also risk end-user expectations for continuous support and communication in their language if you cannot commit to long term messaging in their language. This could cause a loss of credibility. For this reason alone, you need to decide whether you should even begin to translate and weigh it off against the benefits.
These are just a few examples to help clarify the main objective of “Building a Business Case” but hopefully they are ones that make this process more transparent for you and allow you to understand our side of the industry a little better. There are more questions to be asked and action items to follow with this objective and measures that you can use to gauge your success but this is a taste.
Ready to put together your global communication strategy? Need tools for your success? Why rework the wheel. Check out what we offer and give us a call. You could just begin with an audit at the least….