How Translation Services Help Companies Avoid Miscommunication
In “The Cost of Poor Communications”, David Grossman discussed a survey of 400 large companies with 100,000 employees. The results of this survey found that each company lost $62.4 million on average every year due to poor communication. Likewise, Debra Hamilton also explained in one of her articles that smaller companies averaging 100 employees also face losses of about $420,000 annually for the same reason.
Miscommunication is not just an internal issue. It also has external implications, especially when communicating with your target audience and global clients.
Companies working on a global level must ensure consistent and accurate communication between all stakeholders to avoid blunders resulting in reputational and financial losses. Professional translation services agencies help international companies & brands prevent internal and external miscommunication. But how? Let’s talk more about it.
How Miscommunication Affects Companies
Miscommunication can harm a company in many ways. On the consumer side, it can result in a poorly worded marketing message that fails to appeal to customers.
In internal business operations, miscommunication has a trickle-down effect, causing monetary loss, lower work efficiency, lower motivation, and higher stress levels.
Miscommunication at Sagatec Software, Inc.
Sagatec Software, Inc built a strong reputation for being a user-friendly office automation and accounting service for businesses. The company created a word-processing software that it believed would beat its competition.
Sagatec Software’s senior program designer was in charge of supervising the instruction manual curation. The team managed to create an accurate and thorough instruction manual that provided sufficient information about every feature of the word-processing program.
However, as soon as the program was launched, office workers complained about the manual being so ”massive” that they didn’t even know where to begin. Many business journals called the program ”too complicated” even though it was advertised as quite the opposite.
The result? Sagatec Software’s sales of this new program declined. Eventually, the company released a new and more helpful user manual. However, that didn’t compensate for the $350,000 and a year of lost sales due to miscommunication.
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Lost in Translation: Examples of Miscommunication in Business Ventures
You’d imagine only small and medium-sized businesses succumb to miscommunication due to their lack of expertise and resources. But that’s not true. There are several examples where the messaging of large corporations got lost in translation. Here are some of them.
If you’re a Pepsi fan, you’d know the slogan, ”Pepsi brings you back to life.”
However, Chinese fans didn’t appreciate the message, which translated to Chinese as “Pepsi brought dead ancestors back from their graves.” That was quite a haunting (pun intended) translation error.
Pepsi wasn’t the only company whose message got lost in translation in Chinese. Mercedes Benz had a similar fate.
The company’s name translates to Chinese as ”Bensi.” which means ”rush to die.” That’s not the kind of name a car company would want to be known for, would it? Mercedes Benz changed Bensi to ”Benchi”, translating to ”run quickly as if flying.”
When Braniff International decided to cater to Spanish customers, the company was confident of its influence. What it forgot to consider was the translation of its slogan to Spanish.
”Fly in Leather” translated to Spanish as ”En Cuero.” For a Spanish reader, that’s ”fly naked.”
The example of Wings Air proves that miscommunication is not only limited to translating a word wrong or linguistic differences among regions. It is also associated with negative connotations and nuances.
Wings Air is an Indonesian airline with the slogan ”Fly is Cheap.” The airline’s slogan was displayed on its aircraft and other items, such as airsickness bags. Instead of bringing in more sales, the negative suggestion associated with the word ”cheap” and the grammar error turned off potential customers.
Since then, the company has changed the slogan to ”Flying is Cheap.” A better upgrade would be to replace the word ”cheap” with a relatively more positive word like ”affordable.”
How Professional Translation Services Help Avoid Miscommunication
As the lingua franca, English has become the primary language of business for many companies, including non-English-speaking countries.
However, that creates room for miscommunication because not everyone is familiar with the nuances, idioms, colloquialisms, and slang in English. That’s where a professional translation service comes in with the following benefits.
Translation and Localisation
As an internationally expanding business, translation is the first step in breaking the language barrier between you and your customers or foreign employees. Localisation also works in sync by tailoring the communication message per the receiver’s cultural nuances to keep the context consistent across languages.
A professional translation service can ensure that all company content is translated accurately and culturally appropriately.
Being bilingual or multilingual doesn’t automatically make you a translator. You may be able to translate everyday communications, but translating official documents with a lot of jargon will become a nuisance for you.
Instead, you can let a certified translation services provider translate and proofread all your international business documents to check for accuracy and consistency and certify the translations for you if needed for official use.
Whether you’re trying to onboard international employees, get into a multinational partnership, or launch your service to new markets, you’ll need a professional translation service by your side.
These professionals will help translate and localise all business dealings to prevent mishaps and miscommunication. For instance, a professional translation service provider can write or translate your marketing message to ensure it speaks to your new audience the same way it does to an English-speaking audience.
Similarly, your translation service provider can double-check translated contracts to ensure that nothing has been lost in translation.
On top of regulatory compliance and a plethora of paperwork, miscommunication is the last thing you want to deal with in business expansion.
A professional translation service provider specialising in your work field can prevent workplace communication, primarily if you work with remote employees in other countries. The same service provider can curate your consumer-centric content according to the local slang and colloquialism.
Translation Services 24 (TS24) is a professional translation agency in London offering expert services in over 200 languages. We work with clients in all corporate and public industries and specialise in sector-specific linguistic solutions. With over a decade of experience in the industry, 15+ million words converted every year and 100,000+ projects completed, TS24 is a leading provider of expert translations and interpretation services and an officially certified member of the ATC. Contact TS24 here. You can also read all of our recent articles here.
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