ULG's Language Services Blog

Can You Afford to Go Without Translation Services?



July 17, 2017



Oftentimes, getting quality translations isn’t considered to be top priority for a global project or initiative. Why should you have to pay money to translate your content, when you can do it for free on the Internet, or have an employee whose multilingual?

Unfortunately, some find out too late that quality translations are a huge part of global business. When businesses try to take the easy route, they ignore the needs of doing trade on a global scale while also dealing with a long list of problems.



Short-term Gain, Long-term Loss


Relying on free translation, asking a coworker, or simply not translating your content won’t get your company far. While it may seem to be an effective cost-savings move at first, you’ll quickly discover that you’re going to lose money for not correctly translating your content.

For example, ignoring localization and having your website content available in just one language will initially save you money. However, potential consumers or clients from other countries who visit your website could be turned away by the lack of language options.

A 2012 study showed that 72.4 percent of online buyers were more likely to buy a product if they could find information about it in their own language, and 56.2 percent of consumers said that the ability to find information in their own language was more important than the price of the product.

By not translating your content, your company will lose money in the long run by ignoring localization.

And trying to cut expenses by doling out translation responsibilities to employees will result in a loss of productivity over time, as they spend time away from their regular duties. There’s also the fact that just because someone speaks another language doesn’t mean they’re qualified to translate company material.

Translators spend years gaining industry-specific skills, and have the education and experience to create informed, accurate translations. Their expertise and education make professional translators the much better option than employees who are asked to use their bilingual skills for language tasks they’re not trained for.


Losing Trust with a Target Audience


Imagine that you’re a consumer in another country who has just purchased a product, but you later find the product’s instructions uses phrases or terms that don’t quite make sense in your language. Confused, you go to the company’s website for answers, but instead find either poorly translated content or content that isn’t even available in your language.

If you have this experience, chances are that you’re not going to purchase anything from that company again. Trust is paramount between a company and its target markets. By not preparing correctly for global language differences, a company risks losing out.


The loss of trust between a target audience and a company only leads to one thing—revenue loss.

Revenue loss can be the result of product recalls, as was the case with Milka Oreo bars in Dubai. The product label was mistranslated to say the ingredient chocolate liqueur was an alcoholic beverage. To avoid spreading the rumor that the chocolate contained alcohol, the company pulled the product completely off store shelves to fix the error.

Translation errors like these have done damage to many companies over the years. Marketing campaigns and product releases have come to grinding halts because of language errors that nobody caught beforehand. In these cases, when the content isn’t translated correctly, the end results often caused confusion, and with that came a loss of revenue and trust.



Can You Get Free, Cheap, and High-Quality Translations?


Obviously, it’s important to recognize when you should utilize a professional Language Service Provider (LSP). Whenever you find yourself questioning whether some content should be translated, step back and consider what you need to get the job done. Is it internal content that needs some quick machine translation? Or is it a global product launch that requires an extensive amount of translation from professionals?

Either way, if you try to get free or cheap translation, the quality of the final product will reflect the price. You might think you’re getting a good deal at first by going for the cheap route, but over time glaring translation and localization issues will become evident.



Andrew Hitchcock




Topics: Translation, Service