Be successful in foreign markets using the right words

‘The right word, at the right time, is what can turn a simple meeting into a successful meeting’. Barbara Beatrice Lavitola, Managing Director of BBLTranslation, tells DIRIGENTES about the importance of translation services to conduct international business.

Translation is one of the services that is so integral to companies with international profiles that, on occasion, it is taken for granted, forgetting that there is a team of professionals behind a seemingly automatic process. This example should be taken into account when embarking on the path to internationalization because ‘a bad translation at the key moment could ruin any business’. In the words of Barbara Beatrice Lavitola, manager of BBLTranslation, if even Google still has a team of translators, then there is a good reason why.

 BBLTranslation’s slogan is ‘We turn words into business opportunities’. Why is communication between businesses important?

You dress smartly to convey professionalism, you choose an office in the city centre to denote prestige, you spend a lot of money on creative texts written by marketing experts to gain the reader’s attention, but then you spoil it all with a poor translation. Is it worth it?

I like to remember that translating is not mandatory, but if it is done, then it is done to achieve a purpose and, therefore, it is imperative to create a good translation. A translation, just like a creative marketing text, can have various aims: to sell a product or service, boost prestige, increase the number of followers in a foreign market, etc. I like to say that, ‘the price of a translation is the cost of catching an opportunity’. That is why, by commissioning a quality translation service, the client can rely on a higher chance of success in the project or business involved.

Our slogan comes from the need these companies have to achieve their goal, by offering interpretation and translation services so that our clients can have a global reach without having to worry about the language, concentrating only on what it is they want to convey. 

What kind of translation services do big companies commission the most? What sector do these companies come from?

Big companies tend to ask for different services that range from liaison interpreting (a really useful service, especially in business meetings) to simultaneous interpreting (in the case of large events with big audiences) and sworn translations during trials. What´s more, clients are asking us more and more for an integrated translation and marketing service with content in several languages to save time and money. In addition to that, for a perfect publication or print, we offer a proofreading service for texts in Spanish, Catalan and other co-official languages, if we have to mention what we offer to the Spanish market.

With regards to which sectors we usually collaborate with the most, we could include companies from the entertainment and theme park sector, advertising companies, as well as law firms and banking institutions. 

What role does translation play in facilitating business?

The right word, at the right time, is what can turn a simple meeting into a successful meeting.

Our added value is the free guidance on the language requirements that are expected when entering a certain market. It´s not a question of translating, but making it local!

Making a product or service local means making modifications or adaptations to the original content so that it will be well received in the market in which you want to launch. Here´s a clear example of the importance of making it local that links the translation with the cultural and contextual interpretation of the message: Let´s think about how brand names are made local to adapt to a culture. The ice cream brand Frigo® has a different name in Italy (Algida®) and England (Wall’s®). This change is due to the fact that we’re adapting to another culture that has a different pronunciation, and therefore, we change the brand so that culture can pronounce it correctly and so that it is easy to recognise. 

Alongside being proficient in different languages, what qualities should a translator who is dedicated to serving companies have?

Firstly, we would like to highlight the absolute discrete and confidential treatment of any type of classified information. Likewise, it is essential that, apart from having an excellent proficiency in their working languages, the professional translator be a resolute and meticulous person who can undertake their task with precision and efficiency. And, in order to adapt to the pace of business nowadays, the translator must know how to work efficiently whilst keeping to very tight deadlines.

 What human team does BBLTranslation have to deliver its services?

At BBLTranslation we have a large team that is capable of meeting the expectations of even the most demanding clients. Our strong point lies in having a team of specialised translators who can make a text read as if it were written from scratch. In the case of contracts, for example, lawyers and experts in law are the ones who translate. The most technical documents are carried out by engineers or other experts in that field and always native speakers of the target language. Then, a linguist or a trainee translator will always proofread the text to guarantee its quality.

The satisfaction of our clients is of vital importance, so we undertake a rigorous selection process when choosing our team in order to always offer the highest quality to our final clients.

In our pursuit to constantly innovate and seek our client’s satisfaction, we are presenting new services in line with today´s needs such as sworn translation with digital signatures, the translation of apps and remote interpreting services, which will be increased with the development of 5G.

Why is a bad translation or interpretation a plain waste of time and money?

On the one hand, because of the negative image that it creates and for the distrust it can breed amongst potential clients. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a bad translation at the key moment could ruin any business. On the other hand, because often the output mediums can cost more than the translation itself, therefore, it doesn’t pay to make bad translations. Let´s think for instance about the cost of printing or other output mediums, or even the cost of a technician to upload the translations to the website.  

As translations are normally charged per word or per page, then it´s clear that the longer the text, the higher the fee. If you don´t have the budget required, then we recommend translating only the most important things. Less is more!

How do you see the future for the translation sector?

Dialogue is key when it comes to creating business and nowadays communication between companies in different countries is commonplace. I think that the future of translation will on the one hand go through a greater recognition and appreciation of professional work. On the other hand, I think it will go through a modernization of the techniques and methods that we use in the sector in order to keep up with the market´s new demands. In the future, despite the technological incursion on the field of translation, quality services will still need the presence of professionals to deliver that same accuracy that the added human value gives.  At the end of the day, there’s a reason why Google maintains a team of professional translators for its translations.

By Susana Mencía

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