This article is updated regularly. It was last updated in February 2022!
Export sales are a massive sector, with so many elements that could potentially get lost in translation. Exports sales are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as, “A transaction entered into between a reporting exporter and a foreign buyer.”
So, by definition, it’s a sector of trade that works with people who may be on different sides of the language and cultural barrier. Below we’ll look at how translation services are important in the world of export sales.
Translation Services Can Help Avoid Cultural Misunderstandings
Export sales are a large part of the global GDP. In 2019, they accounted for 45.75% of GDP when averaged across 142 countries. Some countries, like Luxembourg, are so dependent on export sales that 208.75% of their GDP is exports of goods and services! Hong Kong was sitting at 177.30% in second place, while the UK was at 31.54%. The lowest was Afghanistan at 7.75%.
It’s important to keep communication smooth in export sales. The main goal of translation and adapting content is to keep a message’s tone and core meaning the same across different regions and languages.
What is translation? The translation is the part of the process that converts text into a new language. Adapting content for a specific area, meanwhile, handles the project as a whole, like updating currency symbols on websites and working on the layout of text to make sure it works with the new language. The translation is actually a part of adapting the content.
So how do translation help with export sales? If a foreign buyer is looking to purchase an exported product, that product will need to appeal to a new market. Adapting the content makes sure the marketing messages behind that product stay in-tact. It can also help avoid cultural misunderstandings, like poor translations that misrepresent what the product does or accidentally offend the new audience.
Translation Services and Adapting Content Can Help with Legal Requirements
Exporters have to jump through many different legal hoops. Certain countries have export licenses, where exporters have to report specific amounts of any products they are shipping. There are also various exporter procedures and documentation requirements to comply with within different countries.
On top of that, any reputable business that is selling goods on a global scale should be working under a contract – one that stipulates everything from schedules of delivered goods to payment terms.
These are some of the most common examples of legal requirements; there are plenty more!
All of this can get even more complicated when you also consider the fact that business is being done with foreign countries, opening up the possibility of a language and cultural barrier.
Translation services can also help with translating legal documents and contracts. The translator should be an expert in languages and a specialist in culture. That will help them be able to properly convey legal terms in the new region. The best translation services for your needs should also be an experienced firm when it comes to export sales.
Translation Services Can Help Employees Communicate Directly
In addition to translating documents and marketing materials, translation services can also help communication happen in real-time. Any business that exports may have to communicate with workers and other companies in foreign markets. They may have to negotiate deals, discuss shipping schedules, or engage in other communication that helps goods flow from one region into another.
To help with the direct communication aspects of business, many translation services handle corporate correspondence. They may translate emails, letters, presentations, memos, and more.
Interpretation services can also be invaluable. Video remote interpreting is increasingly sought after. This is where an interpreter can be present via a video chat. Since exporting is, at its core, business done between companies in different regions, long-distance meetings are common. Video remote interpreting is especially useful for Skype meetings and other meetings that take place from a distance.
Translation and Adapting Content Can Help with Data Protection
In 2018 to 2019, over a 12-month period, 32% of businesses in the UK identified cybersecurity breaches.
One surprising benefit of translation services is that it can help with data security issues. The export industry regularly sends very sensitive data across national borders. An email may contain contracts, proprietary information, patent details, and other confidential data. It could be a problem if that data were compromised, as it would mean confidential business information and contact information leaking out.
Good translation services should have some type of data protection standards in place. They may offer in-house IT and servers, for instance. They may also encrypt communications such as emails. They should also have a good data destruction policy in place, such as making sure the hard drives of old computers are destroyed.
Translation Can Help with Communication Emergencies
Export sales is an industry that can have many sudden “fires” to put out. An item’s production schedule might get knocked back. A shipment could be running late. Someone may have to renegotiate a contract last minute. A COVID lockdown could temporarily halt production entirely.
The business world rarely runs perfectly, and operations can get more complicated as they run on a global scale. A hurricane by the equator could disrupt raw material shipments, as an example.
When these emergencies happen, that’s when the emails and phone calls start flying. How long does a translation take? Some translators and translation agencies accept express translations and urgent orders. When things start to get complicated out of the blue, a quick turnaround on translating messages could save the day.