Is Your Content Ready For An International Audience?


Adrian Dent, International Trade Adviser at UKTI, and Robert Gorby, Senior Director at SDL, discuss why it is imperative that language and translation receive serious attention when trading abroad.

This video is a clip from "Grow Faster, Reach Further - Open up new markets with translation" - watch the webcast on-demand.

[Robert Gorby:] Nobody ever really pays much attention to translation, until either a) you're faced with something you just don't understand that you need to understand, or b) things go wrong. And we've got plenty of examples of when things go wrong. The good news is that it's not always limited to the smaller businesses or the businesses that don't have that much money to invest to do things right. It also hits quite a lot of the big brands where it hurts as well, and there's some examples here on the screen where things have gone wrong on translation for some of the bigger brands. The Schweppes one in particular went down pretty badly.

What's quite interesting with this is that people don't forget these mistakes - they are pretty high profile. When something goes wrong on translation, it's high profile. The problem is, when things goes right, nobody really notices. Nobody pays much attention until it goes wrong, and so it's very important that you take translation seriously because, as we were discussing earlier Adrian, there are a lot of examples out there where businesses have done all the planning, have done all they needed to do, gone through everything, it looks absolutely water-tight, and then they've let something slip through the net from a language or translation perspective, and it just shoots them in the foot. Therefore, it's really important that you take time to really focus on the language you're going to use and the quality of translation that you're going to use.

[Adrian Dent:] There's lots of these, I think, there's 3 great examples there, Rob, but I still think one of my favourites is the Vauxhall car, and I think you'll know of it, the Nova - in a Spanish market, "No Va" means "doesn't go." It really is that basic. How anyone can launch a car called "doesn't go" is slightly mad, but people do this without realising and the importance of language cannot be overstated.

[Robert Gorby:] Yeah, and pretty interesting, quite recently, we had a small business, they sell through the Amazon platform server, they were an Amazon seller, they came to us to say that their account had been shut down because the quality of the Japanese that they were using just wasn't good enough. They had been using machine translation from a pretty well known translator online and unfortunately the quality was so poor they actually got shut down. So, whilst they might have saved themselves £500 in translation costs, they actually lost themselves quite a few thousand pounds in getting their web page shut down, so it's an important one to look at.