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Good Translation Is About More Than Just Words

November 21, 2015

In today's increasingly global economy, the demand for good, accurate translation is great. When hosting a multinational event, your ideas must be translated effectively into the native language of everyone who attends your meeting. For example, assume the people at your event speak French, Spanish, Hungarian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, German, and Italian. To ensure everyone feels at home, you have to successfully translate your words into all of these languages. If someone doesn't have access to translation services at your conference, he or she will feel isolated, unengaged, and unimpressed with your company.

Successful translation is about more than mere words. It involves an understanding of both the source culture and the target one. For example, to efficiently translate business principles from one language to another, a translator must possess knowledge of the business practices prevalent both in the source language and the target one. Therefore, human translation is still superior to machine translation. In addition to translation, multinational businesses should strive to learn the social customs and norms of the target audiences they wish to reach.

Without the correct cultural information about a target audience, a global company might unwillingly commit costly errors. For instance, in China, you should never frown while someone is talking to you. Frowning is construed as disagreeing. Also, a greeting is a formal event in China. When making introductions, the oldest person in attendance should always be greeted first. The Japanese population typically doesn’t shake hands when greeting each other. Instead, they bow. And, the type of bow initiated is usually based on a person’s social status.

While engaging in multinational commerce is challenging, it can also be stimulating and rewarding. To enjoy global success, understanding the importance of both translation and the cultural differences of your target audiences is crucial.

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I simply gave Rosie a list of the various languages, the estimated number of attendees and a description of the room layout. In a very short period of time I had a detailed quote with multiple options in my inbox. We host monthly meetings and ProLingo never fails to impress.
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