You are a businessperson not a language guru so why do you need to know about translation? Good question. the answer to this is quite simple, most business owners dream about becoming rich. Some would even like to be listed on the rich lists in their own country. Wealth is not created out of thin air. A successful business grows because it promotes its product to the greatest number of potential buyers possible. It spends millions on advertising, so its product is bought and not its competitors. Take McDonald’s fast food restaurants as an example. The company advertises their products in the language of the country they wish to sell.
If you visit Colombia and see a McDonald’s restaurant looming in the distance, instantly recognisable by the world wide use of the golden arches, you won’t find the menu in English. For example a ‘cheeseburger’ is a ‘burguer con queso’. Even though McDonald’s restaurants are franchises, the owners don’t have the right to do what they like with the products. No doubt, though, McDonald’s knows the gains its restaurants will make if they use the language of the country that has agreed to host the chain. The restaurant’s name is not translated into the host country’s language, as this is a brand in its own right, but the menu is certainly translated into the local language. These restaurants have become a great commercial success out of their native America by combining American fast food culture with effective translation.
If McDonald’s tactics are not enough to convince you of the importance of translation, then many more examples of successful global brands could be cited, such as KFC and Coca Cola. In a Spanish speaking country, of which there are many worldwide, you won’t find ‘chicken’ on the menu at KFC but ‘pollo’ instead. You are urged to ‘disfrutas’ your ‘bebida’ not ‘enjoy’ your ‘drink’.
There are some other facts that might be of interest to you about global languages which are businesses grows because it promotes its product.
- 72 out of 100 customers overseas would prefer to purchase products that offer information in their language
- 56% state that language has a greater influence than price
- 60% of Internet users do not browse in English
- 27% of information on the Internet is in English
- Native English speakers make up 6% of the world population.
- 20% of British exporting companies lost sales due to cultural or language mismatch
- Shortages in people proficient in other languages besides English cost Britain £16bn in overseas trade losses.
With all these facts and figures about the importance of languages this is why you should be learning about translation and ensuring that you get your product and its characteristics translated into the languages of the countries you wish to sell. This means engaging some proficient language translators to work on your behalf.