In these days of COVID-19, International travel has ground to a trickle. With countries imposing a two-week quarantine upon entry making things a bit difficult. The days of leaving for Paris on Saturday for meetings Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday and being home on Friday are, for the foreseeable future, gone. Today, that three-day meeting once you arrive in Paris you are now quarantined for two weeks in a hotel. Making International business travel a bit more uncomfortable and much more expensive.
Yes, we have ZOOM, GoToMeeting, and a hundred other video chat options available. These systems are great. We make use of them for communication with our clients, prospects, translators, and desk-top-publishers. In today’s world, more than ever, we use these services for a number of reasons. The primary reason, clear communication.
After a video conference meeting, everyone follows up with emails summarizing the meeting and asking more questions. Hey, we all need to be on the same page. Right? It is only natural when reading those emails to mentally start to grade the writer on their communication abilities. Also known as, grammar.
So, today, your written skills are being put to the test, you did not even know there was an exam. Or you forgot.
How do you ensure your international communications are up to the standards of the reader? Well, if you are lucky your client in another country is more than “fluent in” your native language. That is the first hurdle. Just maybe your client is sharing your email and other documents with their coworkers. Those coworkers, may not be as “fluent” in your native language and many others may not know it at all.
Oh, you are aware of this “chain of custody” situation with your client and you’ve taken great steps to improve your company’s communication skills. You have someone on staff who is fluent in your client’s native language. You have decided to take advantage of “free on-line” language translation sites. You’ve got your back covered, do you?
Here are some tips not only to assist you today but for the long run as well.
First, you want to set up a review process on ALL international communications. If you are making use of a free-on-line language translation service for your emails. Have them reviewed by a professional translator.
Second, if you have an internal employee who is “fluent in” your client’s native language, have their work reviewed as well by a professional translator. At least, to verify the context, style, syntax, cultural relativity, etc.
I know, your first few thoughts are: “This will take time, it is only an email, the cost will not be worth it, besides our fluent in employee has done an ok job so far.” Which you are correct, an ok job, so far. Yet, have you lost a sale of size and were left scratching your head looking for the reason why? Do you have higher warranty costs in some markets versus others?
Well, the cost could be more than you care to pay, at this moment. Though the cost of losing sales or having a mechanical issue continue on machines with a price tag of $40,000.00 or more will probably outweigh the cost today. A great gain is real sales, real cost savings, and real respect shown to your client and their culture. After all, they are spending or already have spent that $40,000.00 with your firm and they too talk to others in their markets.
How do you make email review/editing both timely and cost-efficient? That is something you have to work out with a Language Service Provider (LSP), more commonly known as a language translation agency. An LSP of value an work out a process that will meet your unique demands as well as be cost beneficial. Be honest with the LSP. Let them know the languages you have a need for. What your international market expansion plans may be. If you do, your LSP can be proactive on your behalf.
In these days of COVD-19, written communication is more important than ever. Take advantage of this issue, make it work to your advantage. By showing respect for your client’s native language, their culture, their country you will create a stronger bond with that client. As we all know: it is far less expensive to retain clients than it is to prospect for them. A client who is loyal to you, your brand will help you in expanding your market share, guaranteed.
After all, do you want your written communications to be fun talk within your client’s office or present in the boardroom?