Tuesday, 13 October 2015 09:48

Businesses Lost in Translation – How to Avoid it

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

A recent FT post found that 1/4 of UK companies operating internationally or those planning to do so have lost business. Why? Because employees do not have sufficient foreign language skills. (related post: Tongue-tied UK businesses find foreign trade lost in translation, Sep 23rd 2015)

While most countries are inevitably undergoing international integration in the globalization process, one has to recognize the role that cultural/linguistic differences plays and will continue to play in the foreseeable future.

English as a Lingua Franca will see more importance especially in the B2B environment. However, when it comes to B2C, the role of local languages can never be downplayed.


According to Common Sense Advisory, a market research company based in the US, English accounts for 36.5% of online GDP – this means 63.5% of online GDP comes from other languages, from simplified Chinese (8.7%), Spanish (8.0%), German (7.5%), Japanese (7.5%), etc. making it essential to take into account the languages other than English.

(source: Benchmarking the Top 100 Online Languages for 2015)


If you are a company already operating overseas where English is not spoken or plan to expand to those markets, below are some tips:


1. Map your localization strategies with the company’s business goals

What are the company’s global vs regional business goals? To what extent would standardization vs localization fit the company’s outreach?


2. Choose the right localization partner

Avoid using your staff to perform translation simply because they are bilingual or trilingual. Choose language service providers (LSPs) based on your needs.


3. Calculate return on investment

Note that we use ROI instead of budget, because we contend that when a company wants to enter into a market, localization would be a value-creating process rather simply a cost center


4. Create SLA and manage supplier performance

Draft your Service Level Agreement and closely monitor your supplier’s performance

(For localization vendor management, check out our blog post: Advanced Localization Vendor Management)


5. Review and leverage

This may be missing from many companies, but your strategies to expand to one market may be leveraged for another – though beware that localization strategies need to localized as well.


  • Comment Link Margaret Robinson Tuesday, 22 August 2017 15:23 posted by Margaret Robinson

    While creating your web site, it is very important exclusively choose factors which will favorably impact the purposes of the website. One component of a site in which this is also true is photography.

  • Comment Link Alberto Rima Wednesday, 24 May 2017 11:40 posted by Alberto Rima

    I know Polygamy Dating is a pretty neat thing for single women looking for online dating, but even better for couples.

  • Comment Link go to website Saturday, 24 September 2016 09:59 posted by go to website

    Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I've a project that I am just now working on, and I've been on the look out for such info.

  • Comment Link Wilburn Thursday, 23 June 2016 05:07 posted by Wilburn

    I think this is among the most important info for me.
    And i'm glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The
    website style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D.

    Good job, cheers

  • Comment Link SIA YAI är övertygad om att inte dåligt arbete Wednesday, 27 April 2016 11:01 posted by SIA YAI är övertygad om att inte dåligt arbete

    If you wish for to take much from this post then you have
    to apply such methods to your won weblog.

  • Comment Link Shanon Thursday, 07 April 2016 02:13 posted by Shanon

    Simply just wished to tell you I am lucky that i came on your

  • Comment Link Zak Saturday, 30 January 2016 20:01 posted by Zak

    Of note is that their particular classes will today be offered in various urban centers across the US,
    and their internet based social media marketing training classes are growing to add both novice and intermediate/advanced

  • Comment Link free a/b testing Tuesday, 19 January 2016 11:21 posted by free a/b testing

    This post is probably where I got the most useful information for my research
    This post is probably where I got the most useful information for my research
    A nice info i like it very much.

  • Comment Link Johnette Monday, 04 January 2016 13:21 posted by Johnette

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I'm gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.

  • Comment Link Tia Monday, 04 January 2016 07:04 posted by Tia

    I do believe all of the ideas you have presented on your post.
    They're very convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are too quick for novices.

    Could you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time?

    Thank you for the post.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

Hong Kong

Unit 04, 7/F, Bright Way Tower, No. 33 Mong Kok Road
Tel: +852 5382 6110


10 Fumin Road, Futian District, Shenzhen, Guangdong
Tel: +86 155 4684 6110


294 Ienoshimo Hattozawa  Towada-city Aomori-ken Japan 034-0105