I’m sure that when I mention international trade, the figure of a translator isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind.
Am I wrong?
I’m sure that you picture a big company with a big marketing department that invests a huge amount in exporting and importing goods.
And that’s fair enough, because most of the time it is like that.
However, implementing an international trade strategy is an ongoing process, as it is any business strategies that we implement to develop our businesses. All these big marketing departments started with one or two people thinking about how to launch a product abroad.
This process involves a certain amount of risk that a company must face to launch a product in a foreign market.
However, not every business out there knows that translators specialised in business, marketing and law can reduce this risk and increase the chances of success of an international trade strategy.
But it’s expensive, you may think. Then, you just need to do a quick search on the Internet and see how many businesses went bankrupt because their strategies didn’t go as planned. That’s expensive.
The truth is that translators can:
- Reduce the risk of an international trade strategy.
- Offer native knowledge about the market that you want to target.
- Deal with intercultural factors that may different between your culture and the new culture that you want to target.
- Avoid misunderstandings during negotiations and business meetings to quicker reach an agreement speeding up the international trade process.
But let’s analyse this little by little.
Firstly, I would like to highlight that this is an ongoing process. Nobody can guarantee that an international trade strategy will be a success from one day to another. There are some stages that a business will need to reach to meet certain business goals. Let’s go one by one analysing what a translation can do to improve and make an international trade process thrive.
Stage 1: Domestic-market establishment
This is not a stage itself, but our starting point. A business that is already established in a domestic market will face fewer risks in a foreign market. These businesses are more familiarised with doing business and have a reputation in a first market.
They will use this solid foundation to expand their business abroad. This is when a company starts thinking about international trading strategies to take a step further and target new markets.
Stage 2: Export research and planning
Yes, this process isn’t different that the ones that I have explained before in this blog. They all start with marketing research.
The more information that we can have beforehand, the fewer risks we will take in the long run.
In this stage, a business will have to research any necessary information to get to know how likely their product is to be successful. This involves a learning process as well.
It is very likely that different cultures differ at this point. This is why a business thinking about doing business abroad will need to get information about the financial structures and legal and economic systems of a target market.
They will also need to analyse the economic situation of this new market to find out the gap in the market that they want to cover.
The main problem here is that most of this information will only be accessible in the native language of this market.
At this point, a translator can:
- Filter the relevant information speeding up the marketing research process.
- Translate any legal and economic situation that may be crucial to take certain actions in future stages.
- Research primary sources to get the most updated information.
- Provide native information about how things are done in a foreign market.
Stage 3: Initial export sales
After the planning stage, businesses need to test the market with some first sales. They will also need to monitor the selling process to optimise it as they increase their sales.
They need to learn the mechanics of exporting goods to this new market (they need to be familiarised with all the documentation, distribution channels, transportation, costs, etc.)
Also, they need to get to know the new targeted customer and how to attract them and make them be interested in their products, which implies learning the regulation that may affect businesses and they way of doing business in a new country.
During this stage, the role of a translator is crucial because one would need to:
- Translate different agreements so they can be enforced in both operating countries and to avoid misunderstandings within the terms of business of different companies (shipping companies and subcontractors in the new market).
- Translate the legislation that may affect your business to be prepared to abide by the legislation of the new targeted market.
- Smooth the communication process with companies and clients in a foreign market.
- Translate, adapt and localise your marketing materials to attract clients in a new foreign market.
Stage 4: Expansion of international sales deriving from international trade
Once that the initial process has been tested and optimised to promote its performance, a business must work on his presence in this foreign market.
People in this market is getting more familiarised with the products and the business, that’s why one would need to take a step forward.
This involves a comprehensive market research and participate in events taking place in the new market (i.e. international trade shows). Networking plays a crucial role at this stage. It’s important to have strategic contact with other businesses operating in this market to increase international sales.
During this stage, interpreters have an essential role as they can:
- Accompanied representatives of business to international trade show to make the most of these events and to be able to understand and being understood in a different country and business setting.
- Interpreter business meetings to guarantee that both parties understand each other to reach an agreement avoiding misunderstandings.
- Mediate negotiations to avoid cultural differences and “cultural shock” between both parties.
I have recently given a talk about negotiations in multicultural environments, you can have a look at the presentation to find out more about it:
Stage 5: Investment abroad
This is the starting point to expand sales and presence in the market and to start building these huge marketing department that we all can picture in our heads, right?
In this stage, a business would need to tighten business relations with different local business and even invest in establishing a physical presence in this market.
In this final stage, apart from the tasks mentioned before a translator can:
- Guarantee the coherence between two branches of the same company (same brand values and their conveyance through marketing texts and translations).
- Guarantee the understanding of every communication between the two branches, local businesses and clients.
- Translate any internal corporate documentation that may be necessary according to law (annual financial statements, corporate taxes, among a long list.)
Now that you know what a translator and interpreter can do for your internationalisation process, I’m sure that you aren’t thinking about any excuse. You can’t afford not to hire a translator.
Have you ever work with or as a translator in an internationalisation process? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it!