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Going Global: What to Consider When Expanding Your Business Internationally

While it can be very lucrative for your company to expand over global markets, it can also be detrimental to profits if you are not in a position to do so. So how do you make the call for your business?

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is whether or not your business is ready for international expansion.

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Are you ready for international expansion?

Although it can be part of what helps grow your business in the long term, the leap into new global markets can be a difficult one. That’s why it’s vital to know whether or not the decision is the right one for you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

  • Does it make financial sense for your company to enter into global markets? This is a huge investment into your business, so you’ll need to budget for things like international marketing efforts, customer service support in local languages (during local business hours), and setting up an international office with management teams and support staff, as needed, among many other details.

  • Is there a genuine market for your product? Just because a product or service sells well in the United States, that doesn’t mean it will sell well overseas. Find out whether or not there is a market for what your company offers so you can be confident in your ability to hit the ground running when you head overseas.

  • Have competitors gone before you but failed? Research why. If you can learn from their mistakes, you’ll be more likely to have a successful launch! Make note of these things and improve upon them before you expand into the same overseas markets. However, if there is genuinely no market for your product or service where you are looking to expand, you may want to reconsider, or pick a different target market with more interest in your brand’s products or services.

What are the advantages of taking your business global?

If you find that you are ready to invest the time and money into expanding globally, you may be wondering about the benefits of expanding your business in new markets. Here are some of the most appealing advantages for doing so.

  • Increased sales and profits. Expanding your customer base by introducing your products or services to other countries and regions creates huge possibilities and the potential to bring in more sales revenue over the long term.

  • Sustainability. Your U.S. market may be a large one, but by expanding globally, you no longer depend solely on this market for your success. If sales slow here in the U.S. due to economic reasons, or if a competitor launches something new that results in decreased sales for your company, you will feel less of an impact if your global efforts are turning a profit. This gives you time to regroup and strategize.

  • Less competition (potentially). If you choose your overseas markets carefully, you will likely see fewer competitors who have expanded to the same areas. And if done correctly, your expansion could give you an edge in making sure you are the leading brand in these markets.

What types of challenges could you face by expanding your business overseas?

If there were no challenges, everyone with the financial ability would already be tapping into overseas markets. Since there are certainly challenges to consider, you’ll want to make sure you are aware of a few potential obstacles before you begin.

  • Initial investment. This new venture can seem daunting. Even with the best plans, you are still making an investment with both your time and money that could potentially not provide you with a large enough return on that investment if things don’t pan out. Crunch the numbers and determine if your company is truly ready to make this leap.

  • Local competition. Is your product or service similar to something customers can find produced locally? If so, you’ll need to work harder to gain their trust and invest in translation and advertising to attract these customers so they decide to choose your product over a local version. Focus on what makes your brand unique and how you stand out from similar brands sold locally.

  • Country-specific hurdles. Taking your business global is not as simple as duplicating all of your efforts in another country.There are many different things you have to keep in mind. Each country will have its own set of regulations, rules, tax codes, etc., and you’ll need to make sure you are creating marketing content specifically for these new customers if you want to be successful. More on that below!

Tips for successfully entering global markets

  • Learn the local rules and regulations. Each country has their own unique regulations, tax codes and packaging requirements. These rules and requirements will not be the same as what you are accustomed to here in the U.S. It’s important to understand these rules well before you launch, or you might run into some obstacles related to compliance issues.

  • Get to know your target market, and get to know them well. Whether or not your new customer base connects with your product will be the largest determining factor as to whether or not you succeed. Get to know their likes and dislikes, and make sure you understand their culture so that you can have the best chance of making a genuine connection with your new markets.

  • Decide on the type of structure you’d like to see overseas. Will you have offices in these countries, or are you just looking to sell your products online? Do you need management teams, or can everything be managed remotely?

  • Localize your product. Your product should be localized to make sure it is both appealing and understandable for your global consumers. Take a look at things like product packaging, inserts, and instruction manuals. These should not only be translated to the local language, but also localized to make sure it is appealing to those purchasing.

  • Localize your marketing efforts. This starts before you ever launch in a new market. By drumming up excitement about your brand and new offerings, you can create a sense of brand awareness and loyalty in your new target market. Prepare your marketing materials and make sure they are made specifically with your global demographic in mind. It would be a mistake to duplicate your U.S. marketing efforts for every piece of marketing collateral, since you can’t be sure your message will truly resonate with international customers.

  • Consult experts. You don’t need to do everything on your own! Find a lawyer who specializes in foreign-market expansion and can help you navigate the rules and regulations. Look for a financial advisor who can assist you with taxes and foreign payments. And utilize a professional to handle the translation and localization of your product packaging, inserts, and website. Having a team of people who can help you overcome potential obstacles and questions will have a positive impact on your success.

No matter how much planning you do, you’re bound to encounter some hurdles when you expand your business abroad. This is normal! Don’t let it deter you if you are determined to expand. Instead, be prepared to adapt your strategy, just as you would here in the U.S. If you’ve already made the leap into global markets, please share your own best practices with us!

Multilingual SEO: Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Site for Other Languages

Maintaining your company’s website ranking can be a difficult task with its own set of challenges. You know that maximizing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important when it comes to gaining visibility for your company, product, or service. So, what happens when you decide to sell and market your product overseas or to a multilingual audience? Is translating your website content enough?

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Ultimately, that answer is no. While translating your website content will help you connect with your international audience, you also need to consider a multilingual SEO plan to ensure you reach your target audience. Here are some tips and tricks for optimizing your site for other languages.

What is multilingual SEO and why is it important?

Multilingual SEO covers both translating content into other languages and optimizing that content in such a way that it drives search traffic in those other languages. Developing a multilingual SEO strategy for your translated content is what helps customers find your content. After all, what good is a translated website if no one in your intended market is able to find it?

Planning your multilingual SEO strategy

Before anything else, it’s important to develop a solid plan for what you want to do and learn more about the demographic you’re trying to reach.

Get to know the audience you’re targeting

Your new market most likely has different customs and cultural practices than your English-speaking, U.S.-based audience does. A lot of how they search is determined by language. You must choose keywords and phrases that your target audience would enter into search engines. This is how you successfully draw them in. What is important to your current consumer base may not be important at all to the multilingual consumers you are looking to reach. If you do not already know this multilingual market inside and out, be sure to find a consultant who does. Skimping here could have a particularly negative impact on your search engine rankings, and therefore, your sales revenue.

Some preliminary questions you may want to ask yourself as you’re creating a strategy:

  • How are our customers searching for information online? 

  • What is important to them?

  • Is there anything currently use in our marketing strategy that may be perceived as negative or offensive to this new audience?

Shape your SEO strategy to fit your target market, instead of trying to make your target market fit into your current SEO strategy for English speakers.

Decide what content you’ll have professionally translated and adapt your SEO strategy there first

Your SEO strategy can be laid out in phases, depending on which pages of your website you plan to have translated first. If you are not planning to translate certain pages (perhaps those that are not relevant to your non-English speaking market), then there won’t be any need to translate or optimize keywords or create SEO descriptions for those specific pages. 

Doing so could actually have a potentially negative impact. If you create Spanish search terms for pages that haven't been translated or localized yet, the user who searched for those terms will visit your website expecting to read that content in Spanish. If the site is only in English, the visitor may feel disappointed and frustrated with your company, and click away without visiting other pages of your site that may actually be localized specifically for them.

This strategy is typically easier on your overall translation budget as well. Choose the pages that will help you reap the most benefits from your investment, and either save the rest for later, or leave them in English, depending on your long-term goals. Mirror your SEO efforts with this overall plan.

Don’t forget about the details behind the scenes that will help your search engine rankings

There is a lot that goes into multilingual SEO strategies that has nothing to do with what your new site visitors will actually see when they visit your site, but is still just as important to your overall goals. 

  1. Translate your tags and keywords. Even the best translation won’t show up as often in a search result if your tags are not translated into terms your target market is actively searching. They won’t be searching for these keywords in English; they’ll be searching for them in their primary language. The tags you use should reflect this as well.

  2. Think about search terms your multilingual customers may use in a voice search. When you’re creating your multilingual keywords, be sure to optimize some of these for voice search as well. You can read more about how these differ from typical search terms here.

  3. Include hreflang tags for any page with multilingual offerings. Hreflang tags are basically the code you include on the back end of your site to show search engines like Google that you have content in multiple languages. In a nutshell, it is the coding behind why a user sees the correct URL/language in their search results. Having these tags in pace also prevents content duplication issues (which actually hurts SEO rankings by making your pages compete against each other!).

  4. Consider location settings. When coming up with a new SEO strategy for foreign markets, don’t neglect to include the country, city, or even the region your new target market is in when deciding on keywords to pair with your product. People tend to use “near me” or city names in their search when trying to find a product they’d like to purchase or browse for online. Having the location information in your SEO setup will help your site appear more often in search engines.

Make it easy for site visitors to switch between languages if they don’t land on your page in their preferred language

If someone is searching in Spanish when they come across your page, chances are good that they’ll be automatically directed to your Spanish-language site. However, sometimes people come across your page through other means (links from a friend, searching in English because they assume more information is available, etc.) so having an easy way for them to switch to their preferred language is a great way to take them there. You can make a drop-down menu available for the language options you offer, for example. Keep it visible and easy to find for anyone who may wish to switch to another language. If they have to search for it, they’ll be more likely to click away.

Planning a brand-new SEO strategy for an international market can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone! Did you know we offer website audits? We’d be glad to take a look at yours and help create a strategy for your international growth! Feel free to contact us if you’d like to tackle this one together.

How to Produce a Great Website Translation That’s Still Budget-Friendly

Your customers deserve the same positive, intentional experience when they visit your website, regardless of which language they speak. Translating and localizing your website is a great way to not only reach a broader scope of people, but to also connect and engage with these individuals in the same way you would with your English-speaking site visitors. Although a fully immersive website experience with each page translated into every language you’re targeting would be ideal, most companies cannot afford to make such an investment, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, this isn’t usually necessary. Here are some tips for translating your website effectively, while still keeping your overall budget in mind.

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Ways to stretch your translation budget while still delivering an effective experience

Before requesting any translations, it’s important to have a plan. Planning for the audiences and pages you want to prioritize will help keep you aligned with your overall financial goals.

  • Choose the language(s) you’d like to prioritize. If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach, and which will provide the biggest ROI. In most cases, you do not have to handle every language you may ultimately wish to target at once. 

Often, it’s better to translate to just a few languages at first so that you can learn from these. If there’s anything you’d like to change about the process (on either your end or your translation provider’s end), you’ll know for the next set of languages which will make the process easier for you! It will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company’s budget.

  • Reduce the scope of the project if needed. In the same way you prioritize which languages to tackle first, you should also decide which of your web pages are most important. While it’s nice to have a fully translated website in every language, not everything may be relevant for your target market. Choose the pages that will help you reap the most benefits from your investment, and either save the rest for later, or leave them in English, depending on your long-term goals.

  • Make sure the text you are sending for translation is current and up-to-date. No one wants to pay for the same service twice! If you’re unsure when pages may be scheduled for an update, it may be worth asking the various departments who oversee their portion of your company website if they plan to make updates to their respective pages. If they’ll be updating content in the coming weeks, and if you have a timeline that allows you to wait for any potential updates to be applied, it would be worthwhile to delay the start of the translation project to make sure everything is in its final version.

How to decide what to translate now (and what to save for later)

Localizing your website’s content can be done in stages. You’ll want to decide which pages are relevant for and important to your domestic or international audience and which can remain in English at the beginning.

  • What should you prioritize for translation? Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. But we would recommend prioritizing:

    • Your home and landing pages

    • Your mission statement and/or “About Us” page(s)

    • Any sections or pages that may be considered part of your sales funnel

    • Contact forms

    • High-traffic pages that are relevant for your target markets

Since you want site users to have a seamless and positive experience, any pages that allow them to get to know and trust your company, as well as those that help turn them into paying customers, should be first on the list when deciding what to translate.

  • What can usually wait for later (or just be left in English)? There may be parts of your website that are not quite as relevant for your non-English-speaking audience. These are the types of pages that can either be left for later when you’ve got the budget for additional content, or can just be left entirely in English, depending on your specific goals. Some examples of these types of sections may be:

    • Product landing pages for products that will not be sold in areas where the target language is spoken

    • A careers page for local job opportunities

    • Upcoming local event notices if the market you’re targeting is not local to your area

Things to plan for and consider once your translation is complete

Having your website content translated is a huge step forward when it comes to getting your multilingual website up and running. Here are a few other things you may want to keep in mind when planning your budget:

  • If your site is updated often, you’ll want to account for frequent ongoing maintenance costs. Your website experience should be the same for all users, no matter which language they speak. This means that if your English content is updated, your translations should be updated to reflect these changes as well. 

  • Make sure your site is set up to accept the sales you’re aiming to funnel in. An exceptional translation won’t do much good if your customers cannot complete their sale. If you are launching products in Italy, for instance, not only should your website be translated into Italian, but you should also make sure your site is set up to accept foreign payments and communications. The shipping and billing section should not request a US zip code during checkout, for example. Moreover, product descriptions must use the metric system instead of the imperial system, and the cost of your products or services should be reflected in Euros instead of USD.

  • Decide if you’ll offer customer support in the languages of your target customers. If customers browse your site in German, you should expect to receive phone calls and emails from customers who expect to communicate in that language. Determine whether or not you’d like to implement customer support options in these languages, or if telephonic interpreting might be a better and more budget-friendly option.

Offering a positive multilingual website experience is a wonderful way to strike a balance between customer needs and your business goals. Not only will you be able to reach new audiences just by having information available to customers in their native language, you’ll be on your way to gaining their respect and trust, while seeing a return on the investment and staying aligned with your budget.

Should You Translate Your Blog?

If your company has a goal to reach a non-English-speaking market, you may have considered whether or not you should translate your content marketing blog posts in order to reach your new target demographic. There are many options available for blog translation, but not all of them may fit your company’s specific needs. Before all else, it’s important to understand whether or not it makes sense for your company to translate your blog posts. So how do you know whether or not you should translate your blog? And if you decide to pursue it, what are some things you should consider as you begin?

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What are the benefits of translating your blog?

Translating your blog can have several benefits when it comes to reaching non-English speaking markets, both domestically and abroad. These benefits include: 

  • Increasing organic search traffic

  • Enhancing your reputation and building trust with non-English speaking visitors

  • Helping more people by disseminating information to a wider range of visitors 

  • Growing sales as you convert your new site visitors into fans and paying customers

Blog posts are a great way to reach new audiences if you write them consistently and with a genuine desire to help. When you choose to translate your content, you essentially add new and valuable content to the web for those searching for answers and solutions. This can help increase your SEO ranking when handled correctly. And if your content is translated well, you’ll build loyal customers as they learn to trust and engage with your brand.

Are there disadvantages to translating your blog? Why doesn’t everyone do it?

While translating your blog can certainly bring you new customers and sales, it is important to note that there are some disadvantages to consider, such as:

  • Unlike a typical website translation, blog translations are not one-and-done projects until you decide to revamp the website.

  • Depending on how many blog posts you’d like to translate, costs can increase quickly.

  • Your Return on Investment (ROI) is unknown at first, so taking the leap without knowing what your ROI will be can create some uncertainty when it comes to budgeting.

A well-maintained blog is regularly updated, so having the posts professional translated is an ongoing project. Knowing whether or not your company is ready to tackle a project like this will help you determine if making this move is the right step for your company. Just remember that content marketing is incredibly valuable right now, as more and more people are searching the web for information before they make a purchasing decision.

When should you consider making the investment to translate your blog?

Thankfully, there are a few things you can consider that will help you determine whether or not you should look into translating your blog for a non-English-speaking audience. Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Does your current blog bring in revenue? If so, your chances of seeing increased revenue from translated content is higher, since you know your content is already crafted in a way that results in sales from current customers.

  • Are you pursuing these target markets in other ways already? If you have marketing materials, advertisements, social media posts, and a website already translated and localized for these markets, you are already building their trust. The blog may be a great way to then expand on that relationship.

  • Do you have the budget for an ongoing translation project? If the answer is no, see the Options section below. There may be another fit that’s right for your company if this is your only hesitation. 

Whom should you target?

Perhaps it seems to go without saying, but you do not need to translate your blog into various languages if it will not benefit you. Consider which languages will make the most sense for your company and your ROI and go from there.

  • If your website is already translated, focus on those languages for your blog content translations. If it is not already translated, it doesn’t have to be out of your budget. If your current non-English-speaking site visitors can also access your blog in their native language, you can more easily grow your site traffic organically. 

  • Determine which languages your target market speaks. If you want to grow your Canadian customer base, for example, you may wish to focus on producing content in Canadian French.

  • Use Google Analytics to find out where your foreign website traffic is coming from for your current blog posts. You may be losing many of these visitors without a translation available, and if you are not already targeting these languages, it may be worth looking into. Lost visitors mean lost revenue.

What are your blog translation options? Do you have to translate every post to be effective?

There are many options for what to consider when it comes to translating your blog. It does not have to be all or nothing. Here are a few options for translation that you can keep in mind before making a final decision.

  • If your blog is wildly popular and already bringing in substantial revenue from your English-speaking visitors, it may be prudent to translate each blog post as you write them, as well as some of your most popular or recent content. What does well in English may not have the same impact in other languages, but it’s still quite possible that a great amount of your content is appealing to non-English-speaking readers and customers.

  • If your blog is “hit or miss,” you may decide to take a “wait and see” approach by just translating a few of your best-performing blogs. Bear in mind this approach will not work if your blog posts are time-sensitive in nature.

  • You can also decide in advance what content you’d like to have translated based on what type of information you want to make available to your multilingual target market. If there are blog posts that won’t be as relevant to this customer base, plan to keep those English and only translate the posts that cater to specific target audiences.

What else should you consider before taking the steps to translate your blog?

If you decide that translating your content marketing blog posts is the next right step for your company, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before hitting publish on your translated content to ensure you maximize your SEO strategy and outreach.

  • Translate the tags for foreign-language posts. Even the best translation won’t show up as often in a search result if your tags are not translated into terms your target market is actively searching. They won’t be searching for these keywords in English; they’ll be searching for them in their primary language. The tags you use should reflect this as well.

  • If you link to other blog posts or sites, make sure the links you use lead to the translated version whenever possible. If you are linking to another blog post on your own website, for example, it would be helpful to translate the blog post you are linking to. That way, your readers have a seamless experience when browsing your website and topics. If you link to an outside source that you cannot find in your target reader’s language, it may be helpful to let your reader know (in parentheses) that the page you’re linking to is in English so they can decide whether or not to click away from your blog to follow the link. 

  • Translate the name of any images you include in your post. Naming your image files something relevant to your blog topic helps your blog show up more often in search results. These image names should be translated to reap the same benefits when you add them to your translated blog as well. 

  • Recreate infographics to include translated text. If you create an infographic for your English-speaking audience, make sure the text of the infographic is translated, too, so that your non-English-speaking readers will be able to read what you’ve created (and share it with their friends/colleagues!).  

Why it’s important to use a qualified translation agency and avoid automatic translation tools

It can be tempting to install a plugin that translates your website content automatically. After all, it’s free and instantaneous. But these translations are typically laden with errors, which can be detrimental for your brand. Here are a few reasons to always use a qualified translation professional instead of automatic translation tools:

  • Automatic translations create mistakes. These tools translate copy quite literally. If a word has multiple meanings, or you are using colloquialisms or figures of speech, your content is almost guaranteed to be mistranslated. Native speakers will be turned off by incorrect or unnatural sounding language, which means you will repel the audience you were hoping to attract. A competent agency will employ a translation team that makes sure to capture the meaning and nuances of your content, as it was originally intended to be read.

  • Machine translation errors could have potentially disastrous results. Depending on the type of information you want translated, there could even be legal ramifications if something is translated erroneously. This is far less likely to occur if you use a professional translation agency. In fact, agencies and professionals should carry Errors & Omissions Insurance to cover these rare instances. This helps to protect you if something is incorrectly translated and causes damage to your company, brand or customers.

  • Freshly translated content is not considered duplicate content, so it’s helpful with SEO! However, pages built with machine translation or automatic translation could negatively impact your site’s SEO. Google has actually covered this topic, saying that auto-generated content is usually removed from their indexes entirely. It’s just not worth the risk to lose SEO potential by automatically translating these pages.

“In general, when we determine that a page contains only auto-generated content, we may remove it from our index...This may sound a bit harsh, but auto-generated content that is created for search engines is a really bad idea and a waste of our resources.”

No matter your decision, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the process of translating your blog content in a way that is beneficial and unique to your company’s needs. And if you have already had some of your posts translated, we’d love to hear about your experience. Let us know in the comments!

How Translating Your Website Can Drive Traffic and Boost Sales

Have you ever clicked through to a website that wasn’t already in your primary language without meaning to? If you clicked away from that web page almost immediately to find another option, you’re not alone. Over half of internet users will not make a purchase on a website if the information is not readily available in their native language. 

With that said, you were directed to that site for a reason. There’s a real potential that the site you visited could have met your needs. In this scenario, you are part of the traffic (and potentially, the sales) that the website’s owner missed out on, simply because they did not have a website available in your primary language. The same can be said for your own website. 

If your site is not optimized for visitors who speak another language, you are missing out on a ton of potential traffic (and leaving money on the table!). If you are looking to drive new traffic to your website–and keep them there long enough to turn them into potential customers–you should consider translating your website for your target demographics.

Why does a translated website perform better than one that isn’t?

If your first language is English, it can be easy to think about the internet only as it pertains to English. Although English is, currently, the most common language used on the internet, Chinese is not far behind, and Spanish is the third most common internet language as of April 2019. Did you know that both China and India have a much higher number of Internet users than the United States by a long shot?

If your target market speaks a language other than English, neglecting to translate your website could have a serious negative impact on site traffic and sales. This is a large number of users who likely won’t even visit your site and inquire about your services or products.

How do you determine where your foreign website traffic is coming from?

An easy way to find out where your foreign website traffic is coming from is by utilizing Google Analytics. Within Google Analytics, you can filter the Acquisition report by country. If you notice that a decent amount of website traffic comes from specific countries, it may make sense to prioritize translating and localizing your content for that audience.

However, it’s important to note that this alone does not tell you the language your website visitors speak. For example, your U.S.-based visitors could speak Spanish, and your Canadian visitors could speak French. If you plan to target these markets, translating your website into the languages most commonly spoken in these areas is a great way to help keep visitors on your site once they land there.

Quality matters. Don’t drive your new visitors away with faulty translations.

When you decide to translate the content on your website, it can be tempting to use a free translation plugin. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can basically just add it and forget about it. But at what cost? These translations are almost always faulty. Entire blocks of text can be incorrectly translated, and the whole meaning you are trying to convey will be lost. This is an easy way to lose the customers you are attempting to engage, and it doesn’t say a lot about your brand’s image. 

Using a professional translation service ensures that the consumers visiting your page have a consistent experience on your website, thus remaining engaged with your brand and increasing the likelihood that they will convert to paying customers. By choosing a reputable translation service provider, you’re setting yourself up for increased website traffic–and boosted sales!–in no time at all. If you are looking for guidance on how to make your website translation work for you, don’t hesitate to reach out.

What to Expect When Translating Legal Documents

Legal translation is a very complex task, and it’s one that not just anyone can take on. A translated legal document must be able to stand up in a court of law and, therefore, needs to be translated, edited, and perfected by a team of expert linguists who can make this happen. 

Here are a few things to consider about the translation process when you find you need to have a foreign legal document translated.

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Your translation provider should request certain information be provided separately if anything within the legal text is illegible or difficult to decipher

If you have provided a scanned document to your translation provider and some of the text is difficult to decipher, supply that text whenever possible. If it is not provided or remains unknown, the translation team will write “[Illegible]” instead of trying to make a best guess. If there is text within a stamp or seal that you want to make sure is included in the translation, be sure to provide that as well. Otherwise, signatures, stamps and seals are often left translated, but will be marked as “[Signature]” and “[Stamp]” or “[Seal],” where appropriate, instead. 

Also, if the language you’re you request translation into/from uses a different alphabet or series of characters, supplying your translation provider with parties’ names to ensure that they are listed correctly on the translated document can also be quite helpful. If you don’t, the team will do their best to portray it phonetically, which could potentially nullify the translated document if it turns out to not match another legal document with the same person’s name portrayed differently.

Different documents require different levels of certification or translator expertise

Determine whether your translation will require a sworn translator to complete the work or if a letter certifying the translation will be enough. Sworn translators are typically certified by their country’s government to execute a sworn translation of a document that is legally valid and binding in their country. Examples of documents that must be legally valid in a foreign country—and so, are often handled by sworn translators—are birth certificates, patents, and proofs of identity such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport, among other documents.

A certified translation, on the other hand, is accompanied by a signed statement affirming that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of the translator’s knowledge. Documents used for hearings or trials, such as evidence and transcripts, can often be accompanied by such a statement.

Depending on the country, where it will be presented or on the judge requesting the document, you may also need to have the translated document notarized or bear an apostille. An apostille is often issued by the embassy of a country that has signed the Hague Apostille Convention and is usually signed by an embassy official. Make it clear beforehand if an apostille or notarization is necessary for your document or case so that these steps can be handled on your behalf. You will also want to factor in the extra time it will take to get the notarization and/or apostille, as typically you must have the original translated document in hard copy to show the original seals and stamps necessary.

The specialized skill set of a legal translation team is vital to ensure accuracy and avoid possible legal issues

Even if you do not think you will necessarily need your translation certified, asking a bilingual friend or colleague to handle a legal translation not only risks the accuracy of the text, but can have potential legal ramifications if any of these issues affect the terms of the document they’re handling for you. The team of linguists who handles the translation must specialize in legal translation. Working with a non-legal translation team can seriously impact your credibility (and have possible legal consequences) if the translated document is found to be inaccurate or deviates from the original. 

Taking the appropriate steps to have your document translated professionally and correctly can make a difference in the translation’s validity in the courtroom or in other legal settings. As such, it is important that these translations be handled correctly. Be sure to use a professional agency or translation team, and always ask any questions you may have along the way.

Need a legal document translated or have questions about what you may need? Contact us to set up a consultation.

How a Quality Website Translation Will Help You Reach More Customers

In the current economy, eCommerce is the go-to shopping platform for many consumers, and the number of online shoppers grows each year. This opens up an effective way to reach new target demographics, both in the U.S. and abroad. In order to reach these demographics, your company should aim to use marketing materials, both print and online, in the preferred language of your target consumers. Your website is the perfect way to reach these consumers... if translated professionally! Here’s how a quality website translation will help you reach more customers.

Don’t assume an English-only website will suffice.

On the whole, people prefer to read information in their native language. By maintaining your website only in English, you risk alienating an entire potential consumer group. In fact, a study by Common Sense Advisory found that over half of consumers simply will not make a purchase on a website if information is not readily available in their native language. 

Translating print materials and advertisements may not be enough.

If you have taken the step to translate some of your marketing materials, like advertisements, mailers and flyers, it is even more critical to offer a seamless website experience in those languages. If a customer is intrigued enough that it drives them to visit your website to learn more, they will expect to find information available in their language once they land on your website. If the process feels seamless and easy for consumers, they are more likely to continue through the sales funnel, because they feel they can trust your company, as well as the information presented.

You could reach more people than you realize with a quality website translation.

More than two-thirds of the world’s internet users speak a language other than English primarily. If you are looking to target a demographic outside of the U.S., it is imperative that you localize your website for these users specifically. Even if you are only looking to reach more U.S. users, the census data shows more than 15% of all adults in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. This is a large percentage of the population that you could reach in a market where not everyone is already doing so, potentially giving you a huge advantage over competitors.

A quality website translation is an investment in your business. While it may be tempting to use a free translation service or ask a friend who studied the language to do it for you cheaply, this could have disastrous effects for your company and brand. You worked hard on creating the perfect text for your website; make sure that level of quality is reflected in the translation, too! A professional translation will not only correctly display the text in the desired language, it will also capture the nuances and tone you intend to convey to your new target audience, resulting in a more positive experience for your users... and more sales for your company!

If you are interested in translating your website, but are concerned about the budget for the initial investment, we recommend reading Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, let us know. The ATS team is always available  to help.

How a Localized Product Label Can Maximize Profits

Your product packaging can be a great marketing tool when a consumer is looking to make a purchase in-store. A label should not only be on-brand, but it must stand out from those of your competitors. This includes complete accuracy with regard to the information provided on it. If you sell products abroad, you will need to localize product labels to meet certain requirements in each country. In doing so, you will help your company maximize your profits (and avoid potential losses), to help guarantee your brand’s success abroad.

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How does investing in label localization help maximize profits?

Getting your product label ready for distribution in other countries is more than just updating the words on the label. It is about making sure your product connects with a new audience as they shop. 

A properly localized product label should not appear as though you’ve just adapted the original label so you can sell to a new audience. It should appear as though the label was created with these consumers in mind. Color choices, imagery and the correct use of cultural nuances can be just as important as the text itself. 

Consumers who not only understand the text on your label, but who also connect with what they see, will be more likely to trust your company and willing to try your product. This boosts sales, increase word-of-mouth marketing, brand recognition and your expansion into the international market.

On the other hand, if your label is not properly localized for the market where your product is being sold, the consumer may be confused as to how your product can serve them, and may, therefore, not make the purchase. If the translation is not professionally done, you risk offending the consumer or providing incorrect or misleading information as well.

What should you consider when localizing your product label?

Each country where you plan to sell your products will have its own set of regulations in order for your products to be sold there. If you want to enter the Canadian market, for example, your product label will almost certainly need to be listed in both English and French, not just one or the other. You will also have to take into consideration potential cultural differences. For example, while it may not be necessary to include in the U.S., some countries will require you to include whether or not a consumable product is Halal, or if it includes any alcohol. 

It is also important to make sure your label contains the correct format for dates and measurements that may be listed on your label. In the U.S., our dates are usually listed in a month/day/year format. However, in most countries within the E.U., that format changes to day/month/year. If your product has an expiration or sell-by date, abiding by the appropriate date format is crucial to ensuring that customers do not consume items past the expiration date. You should also use the metric system for most labels for products sold outside of the U.S..

What are the risks if your product label is not properly localized?

If your product label is not properly localized, you not only run the risk of not connecting with your target audience, but you could also run some potentially large financial risks. If the label has inaccurate information listed or if allergens are not listed correctly due to an inaccurate translation, for example, there could be a great risk of injuries, illnesses or even fatalities. Not only would your company take a hit in legal fees up front, but you will also likely need to recall the product, spend the time and money to correct the label, experience decreased sales, or even be put out of business altogether, depending on the severity of the issue. 

To help circumvent this type of risk, avoid using automatic or machine translation, and hire a professional team of translators, editors and localizers to get it right the first time.

Looking to enter a new market? Feel free to reach out and set up a free consultation.