Translation Industry Blog

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Why Translate

In this article, we discuss translation as a highly effective method to benefit your business and improve your website, product, or service.

Why Translate: Why Translation Matters in the Modern 2020 Global Business Environment and How it Can Benefit Your Business

Translation is an important aspect of human history and culture. As of 2020, more than 6500 languages are spoken across the world, of which approximately 600 have a fully developed writing system.

Translation in History

“From translation, all science has its offspring.”

Giordano Bruno

There are countless examples in which translation has had major historical impacts - Imagine what the western world would be like if scholars in ancient Rome were unable to translate all of the classic Greek literature that has contributed so much to core principles of ancient Rome.

A more recent example is 19th century Japan. Once the Japanese realized the technological gap between them and the western world, they worked effortlessly to translate knowledge accumulated by western countries and successfully implemented it in a revolutionary fashion to ascend Japan's society, military, economy, industry, and even culture onto a whole new level.

Translation allows knowledge to spread across the world without borders, and this is more relevant than ever in the modern globalized world.

The Relevance of Translation in the Modern English-Speaking World

We often wonder why we should bother with translation when everyone uses English as a core communication language in the modern business environment. That isn't true, and there are several factors that back this up.

As of today, there are approximately 1.7 Billion English speakers across the globe (22% of the global population) out of which only approximately 360 million consider English to be their native tongue. That's only 4.7% of the entire global population. This creates a plethora of opportunities for any business to grow from local to multinational.

By having your content available only in English, you are missing out on 78% of worlds population, when some of them may become your future client audience.

English Speaker Percentage from the Global Language Pool
Percentage of Native English Speakers

People Prefer Content in Their Native Tongue

In our recent study on Website Localization in combination with data from the latest Common Sense Advisory report, it was concluded that people, regardless of age, always prefer content in their own language. Additionally, data suggests that no matter the ability in a given language possessed by an individual, excellent or poor, the preference will always be for content available in their native tongue.

The Wealthiest markets in the world - most of them aren't native English speakers

Have you considered expanding your business into one of these lucrative markets? Translation is the key to opening the door to them, regardless of how you approach the market - from an English speaking country or vice versa.

The Top 20 Economies in the World (2019)

Flag of USA United States U.S. Nominal GDP: 21.44 trillion U.S. GDP (PPP): 21.44 trillion
Flag of China China China Nominal GDP: 14.14 trillion China GDP (PPP): 27.31 trillion
Flag of Japan Japan Japan Nominal GDP: 5.15 trillion Japan GDP (PPP): 5.75 trillion
Flag of Germany Germany Germany Nominal GDP: 3.86 trillion Germany GDP (PPP): 4.44 trillion
Flag of India India India Nominal GDP: 2.94 trillion India GDP (PPP): 10.51 trillion
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom U.K. Nominal GDP: 2.74 trillion U.K. GDP (PPP): 3.04 trillion
Flag of France France France Nominal GDP: 2.71 trillion France GDP (PPP): 2.96 trillion
Flag of Italy Italy Italy Nominal GDP: 1.99 trillion Italy GDP (PPP): 2.40 trillion
Flag of Brazil Brazil Brazil Nominal GDP: 1.85 trillion Brazil GDP (PPP): 3.37 trillion
Flag of Canada Canada Canada Nominal GDP: 1.73 trillion Canada GDP (PPP): 1.84 trillion
Flag of Russia Russia Russia Nominal GDP: 1.64 trillion Russia GDP (PPP): 4.21 trillion
Flag of South Korea South Korea South Korea Nominal GDP: 1.63 trillion South Korea GDP (PPP): 2.14 trillion
Flag of Spain Spain Spain Nominal GDP: 1.4 trillion Spain GDP (PPP): 1.86 trillion
Flag of Australia Australia Australia Nominal GDP: 1.38 trillion Australia GDP (PPP): 1.32 trillion
Flag of Mexico Mexico Mexico Nominal GDP: 1.27 trillion Mexico GDP (PPP): 2.57 trillion
Flag of Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia Nominal GDP: 1.11 trillion Indonesia GDP (PPP): 3.50 trillion
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands Netherlands Nominal GDP: 902.36 billion Netherlands GDP (PPP): 969.23 billion
Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Nominal GDP: 779.29 billion Saudi Arabia GDP (PPP): 1.86 trillion
Flag of Turkey Turkey Turkey Nominal GDP: 743.71 billion Turkey GDP (PPP): 2.29 trillion
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland Switzerland Nominal GDP: 715.36 billion Switzerland GDP (PPP): 548.48 billion

In late 2019, Investopedia has created a solid list of 20 Economies from across the world with biggest markets, out of which less than a quarter can be considered as a native English speaking country.

15 of The World's Fastest Growing Economies (2019-2023)

GDP growth projection:

Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia 2019: 7.9%; 2023: 6.7%
Flag of Rwanda Rwanda 2019: 7.6%; 2023: 7.8%
Flag of Bangladesh Bangladesh 2019: 7.4%; 2023: 7.0%
Flag of India India 2019: 7.3%; 2023: 7.2%
Ivory Coast Ivory Coast 2019: 7.1%; 2023: 6.7%
Flag of Cambodia Cambodia 2019: 6.7%; 2023: 6.1%
Flag of Myanmar Myanmar 2019: 6.7%; 2023: 7.3%
Flag of Laos Laos 2019: 6.7%; 2023: 6.5%
Flag of Vietnam Vietnam 2019: 6.6%; 2023: 6.6%
Flag of Tanzania Tanzania 2019: 6.3%; 2023: 6.2%
Flag of Philippines Philippines 2019: 6.3%; 2023: 6.4%
Flag of Senegal Senegal 2019: 6.3%; 2023: 7.9%
Flag of China China 2019: 6.2%; 2023: 5.3%
Flag of Mongolia Mongolia 2019: 6.2%; 2023: 6.6%
Flag of Ghana Ghana 2019: 6.0%; 2023: 5.1%

All of these markets have one thing in common - English is not their native language. Only a small percentage of citizens in them have English as their second language. Meanwhile, the market and both its current and future growth potential is colossal.

Establishing your presence on them before your competition may prove to be very profitable both in short-term and long-term.

Translation Allows you to Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers

Our world is big, diverse and complex. There are many barriers to entering a new market, but besides a clear business plan, you need an approach strategy, a crucial element of which will be an ability to overcome both cultural and language barriers.

Translation and Localization can be tricky and overcoming a linguistic and cultural barrier can be a significant challenge for any business. Everyone is prone to error and in some cases, those errors can not only harm your brand’s reputation, but also result in costly expenses.

Here are a few examples from world-famous brands:

  • HSBC Bank:

    For more than 5 years this bank has run a very successful campaign on the US market with the slogan "Assume Nothing.". A decision was made to use the same highly successful campaign across various other markets in which HSBC is present. What could go wrong, right? When the campaign was rolled out across various countries, the message was translated in many cases as "Do Nothing.".

    This lack of research resulted in costly expenses, brand damage and a need to invest an additional $10 million USD to fix the results of this "successful" campaign.

  • KFC:

    In the late 1980s the world-famous American fast food restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has made a big step in entering the Chinese market by opening its first restaurant in Beijing. Customers were greeted with a Chinese version of KFC's famous slogan "Finger-lickin' good", which was literally translated as "Eat your fingers off". Yummy.

  • Electrolux :

    The famous Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer also had its share of issues when attempting to enter the US market with their vacuum lineup. The Swedish companies brand new lineup of highly effective vacuum cleaners, with an emphasis on their high power, was supported by an ad campaign with the tagline "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux". The competition was really happy about this ad.

Don't repeat the mistakes of the past, learn from them and prepare for the future. Overcome the language and cultural barriers with high quality translations.

Translation Improves Customer Experience, and Makes Them Return for More

Customer experience is crucial for any modern business. Satisfied customers will come back to you for more, which results in a direct improvement in customer retention rates. In accordance with Market Metrics the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to only 5-20% to a new prospect.

Those figures will be even lower when entering a brand-new market for your business, where potential clients won't be familiar with you or your product/service, to begin with. That's why a well-executed translation and localization strategy is crucial in this case.

This data is further backed by data from the Common Sense Advisory, which states that "Multilingual support is important. 74% of consumers are more likely to repurchase if after-sales care is offered in their language".

By translating your content and improving customer experience by offering them support in their native language, you not only maximize your chances of getting a brand-new client but, most importantly, this will allow you to retain them in the long run, which is essential to the longevity of your business within the environment of a new market.

"Multilingual support is important. 74% of consumers are more likely to repurchase if after-sales care is offered in their language"

Common Sense Advisory

Translation as a Legal Requirement

When approaching translation from a Legal point of view, the requirements are very harsh and rigorous across the globe (and in the example of the EU - extreme), where in those cases your bilingual friend Joe just won't cut it. You will need a high-quality approach only achievable through a professional LSP (Language Service Provider).

A good example can be the European Union and its extremely strict regulation when it comes to the healthcare sector. After all, human lives are at stake here and incorrect translation be can literally lethal. EU regulations towards those sectors are harsh and will only become stricter in the near future.

The EU Medical Device Regulation (EU MDR), circa 2017, will be mandatory in all EU member states starting May 26, 2020, and EU IVDR a regulation specific for screening and diagnostic tests will become mandatory from 2022. Both of them will be applicable to a wider range of devices in comparison to past decades.

One of the key aspects of these regulations is that if you wish to sell your product within the EU market, you will have to fully localize all of its documentation, packaging, website and any other accompanying documentation and material into the official language of the European Union country targeted (up to 24 official EU languages in total).

Similar regulations are starting to be applied across the globe, where countries frequently borrow well-implemented rules and regulations from one another to further bolster quality and standardize processes.

Perhaps this is a good time to start preparing your range of products and services from a legal standpoint, instead of rushing it at the last minute?

Legal Translation

Translation and Online Traffic

The web is growing, and insanely fast at that, and translation goes hand in hand with it. In accordance to Internetworldstats, as of late 2019, the web has reached record heights, with 4.536 billion active users. That's 58.8% of the world's population who actively uses the internet. In just two years it has jumped from 3.885 billion users in June 2017 (51.7% of world's population) to the current figure, and the figure has tripled over the last decade - from 1.566 billion as of 2010 (28.7 % of world's population).

By all predictions, this steady growth will continue to boom over the next decade.

While western economies have steady continuous growth, the real boom and escalation are already happening all over the emerging markets. Especially high growth can be seen all over Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. More than half the population of Sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by 2025. That's 634 million unique mobile subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025. The digital market is worth more than $150 billion in value.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asia will deliver a digital market worth $300 billion by 2025 in accordance with Reuters, where it's predicted that its online industry will grow by 200%. Key unique feature of the region is that 50 % of the population is urban (334,418,881 people in 2019).

Did we mention that both of the regions mentioned above have more than 1.2 billion citizens across them? Those are plenty of new potential customers that your business can get.

The next decade will see a colossal influx of new users from across the globe to the internet, with the majority of them having different cultures and only a small percentage of them speaking English. Are your products and content ready for them? Become one of the first to accommodate all of these new potential customers by translating and localizing your content and platforms.

Website Translation as a Major Boost to Your Business Web Presence and SEO

Everything starts with your website. It’s the first place a sales prospect will go to learn about you. It’s where they’ll do their due diligence on you. And your need to show up when a prospect Googles relevant terms, as a result, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical part of the modern online strategy for any business. Your discoverability on the internet directly affects the amount of traffic you get, which can result in new prospects and clients.

Meanwhile, referring to the content above, only a fraction of these people will speak English (or your local language at that) and as a result, they will search in their native language. If your website doesn't have its content available in the specific language that user searches in (and additionally you won't have the particular keywords that match their search query) - you are missing out on numerous potential visitors from various countries from across the globe.

In his recent video blog, famous digital marketer and SEO specialist Neil Patel, provided some interesting data on the translation of his highly popular marketing blog into five languages. The number of visitors (traffic) to his blog increased by 75% as a result of the translations. That whole stream of new users was achieved simply by translating the existing content.

Sounds simple? Because it is. It makes perfect sense that a valuable piece of content if correctly translated will find its audience and gain popularity across the globe, especially if there is no competition.

Why compete in a highly saturated and competitive market with a high barrier of entry, when you can save money by translating your content and expanding into a market with little to no competition in your sector.

Recently we wrote an article outlining 6 SEO Benefits of Website Localization. Check it out!

Translation is a Universal Tool for Any Modern Business

Translation is universal - it can be applied to any sector, subject, or content. You can find its users practically everywhere. The translation industry is constantly growing hand in hand with the demand for translation. The globalization of our world has a large role to play in this, and there are no signs that this will change any time soon. Instead, we have all the indicators pointing to the fact that demand for a large variety of translation services will only increase in the foreseeable future.

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show a planned surge in the demand for translation services of all kinds.

"The employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase by 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth reflects increasing globalization and a more diverse U.S. population, which is expected to require more interpreters and translators."

And those are only predictions based on the US market. Reality may be totally different a decade from now on. Over the past decade from 2010 to 2020, the demand for translations of all kinds has increased three-fold across the globe and as a result, the size of the translation industry has grown with it.

100% growth at that, from USD 26.3 billion in 2010 to a whopping USD 49.6 billion.
"With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, the global language services market has seen rapid growth. Over the last ten years, the market has doubled in size, reaching 46.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. " -E. Mazareanu

"In addition, growing international trade and broadening global ties should require more interpreters and translators, especially in emerging markets such as Asia and Africa. The ongoing need for military and national security interpreters and translators should result in more jobs as well."

All factors indicate that in the global market environment of today and especially of the very near future, the ability to compete not only on your local market, but also overseas, will be the key success factor that will drive growth.

No longer will it be sufficient to offer your product or service in one language, instead, you will have to focus on many, and the more the better. Otherwise, if you are unable to adapt to the reality of the globalized market of the near future, there will be others that will outcompete you simply by doing so.

"The employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase by 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations."

"With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, the global language services market has seen rapid growth. Over the last ten years, the market has doubled in size, reaching 46.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. "

The Bottom Line

Modern-day translation is a universal swiss-knife-like multi-purpose tool that can find its application in practically any industry or company. The global economy is continuously growing, especially in developing countries, the markets of which offer a lucrative opportunity for companies from across the globe to expand into.
Nevertheless, globalization will always have an accompanying obstacle – the language barrier. Translation is the only tool out there that fully tackles it.

Speak with Translation experts at AD VERBUM and we will help you with all your translation and localization needs in a professional and friendly manner. Get in touch with us today to start your translation journey.

Start Translating Today

References:

Adverbum.com. (2019). Why Website Localization is Important - Translation Company - AD VERBUM. [online] Available at: https://www.adverbum.com/en/blog/why-website-localization-is-important .

Bls.gov. (2020). Interpreters and Translators : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm#tab-6 .

Cisco.com. (2018). VNI Complete Forecast Highlights. [online] Available at: https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights/pdf/Global_2020_Forecast_Highlights.pdf .

Eur-lex.europa.eu. (2020). [online] Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32017R0745&from=EN .

Eur-lex.europa.eu. (2020). L_2017117EN.01017601.xml. [online] Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32017R0746&from=EN .

FocusEconomics | Economic Forecasts from the World's Leading Economists. (2020). The Fastest Growing Economies in the World (2019-2023). [online] Available at: https://www.focus-economics.com/blog/fastest-growing-economies-in-the-world .

Ft.com. (2020). Africa to propel world’s population towards 10bn by 2050 | Financial Times. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/868e20d0-90ec-11e9-b7ea-60e35ef678d2 .

Internetworldstats.com. (2020). Internet Growth Statistics 1995 to 2019 - the Global Village Online. [online] Available at: https://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm .

Investopedia. (2020). The Top 20 Economies in the World. [online] Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/insights/worlds-top-economies/ .

ISS. (2020). Market Metrics - ISS. [online] Available at: https://www.issgovernance.com/market-intelligence/market-metrics/ .

Multilingual Support. (2019). Common Sense Advisory.

Newsroom. (2020). More Than Half of Sub-Saharan Africa to be Connected to Mobile by 2025, Finds New GSMA Study - Newsroom. [online] Available at: https://www.gsma.com/newsroom/press-release/more-than-half-of-sub-saharan-africa-to-be-connected-to-mobile-by-2025-finds-new-gsma-study/ .

Statista. (2020). Global language services: market size 2019 | Statista. [online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/257656/size-of-the-global-language-services-market/ .

U.S. (2020). Southeast Asia's internet economy to hit $300 billion by 2025: report. [online] Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southeast-asia-internet/southeast-asias-internet-economy-to-hit-100-billion-this-year-report-idUSKBN1WI07X .

Worldometers.info. (2020). Population of South-Eastern Asia (2020) - Worldometer. [online] Available at: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/south-eastern-asia-population/ .

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