Use Your Website To Grow Your Business Overseas


The internet provides a big opportunity for businesses of all sizes. About one third of the world population has internet access and can be reached easily. So, if you have an existing website promoting or selling your products, you can tap into to this huge global market.

You may want to ask why trading overseas? Statistics from the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) show that companies trading globally improve their productivity by 34%. They are also 12% more likely to survive than those who don’t export. The UKTI statistics also show that businesses believe that exporting leads to innovation.

The main point to consider is which country and language to start with? Only 27% of the internet users speak English, and 85% of online customers prefer to make purchases in their own languages. Therefore, in order to attract these non-English speaking users for your products, you need to communicate with them in their respective languages.

How do we market our products to other countries ? Contrary to the common belief, the initial market research can be done on a small budget.

It would make sense to target one of the fastest growing top 9 languages used on the internet. These languages cover over 55% of the entire internet users’ population. In order of growth rate, these languages include Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Korean and Japanese.

Then how do you find out if there is a requirement for your products in countries where these languages are spoken?

The first method is using your Google Analytics data. This is a free product and will give you plenty of information. Here you can see your visitors’ languages and countries of residence. If you find any users data from any country other than the UK, then this could mean that your product or service has already attracted online users there. This can be a great starting point.

If you have no available data, then you may use the criteria below to decide which country may be suitable for your business:

– The number of internet users
– Their growth rate in the home market
– Openness to new products
– Number of existing products similar to yours

Then what about the market research without spending a fortune?

Start translating your keywords for your services or products. Then setup a small Google AdWords campaign to test the target country and monitor the traffic it generates thereafter to see if it’s worth pursuing further.

You can do all of these by yourself or choose an accredited translation company experienced in multilingual SEO to manage it for you, such as TTC Language Services.

If you are interested in finding out more about multilingual SEO or considering business overseas contact Levent for free, no-obligation consultation by calling +44 (0)1245 216933 or email

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What is customer care in the translation industry?

A friend of mine recently started a new job, and was asked by his employer to call existing customers for testimonials for the company website, only to find that they had many unhappy customers. He had recorded the complaints and passed them on to the orders department following his manager’s advice. His manager also told him to copy messages to number of others so that he could prove he had passed them on. As the unhappy customers would not give him any testimonials, he had to continue calling his other customers in hope of a positive testimonial.

I asked my friend whether he would follow up the complaints he received. He said he wouldn’t because it was “not his job”. I then asked if he was going to check with the department in question if they have dealt with the complaints: the answer was “no” as he did not want to make his colleagues uncomfortable. This made me wonder if the complaint would ever be resolved.

Wikipedia describes customer care as “the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase“: any responsible company would of course agree with this statement, but as we can clearly see from my friend’s example, some companies are not very keen on the after sales phase of customer service process.

If we accept Wikipedia’s description, then what is the implication of this in terms of the translation services we provide to our customers? The translation industry is not any different to any other service industry and customer satisfaction is the key to any company’s success.

The key to preventing customers becoming unhappy with our services is focusing on delivering benefits to our customers at all times: all employees need to see this as their responsibility. Delivering benefits to our customers however is not as easy as it sounds, it requires total commitment to customer care, which needs to be incorporated into the translation company’s culture and organisation structure. Only this will provide total customer satisfaction.

Translation company managers/owners need to find ways to measure the progress and make ‘delivering benefits’ their top priority.


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The cost-time-quality trade-off in the translation industry

As with project management in several areas, cost, time, and quality are three major components in the management of a translation project. They’re interconnected and in constant tension. Translation clients can’t expect to adjust one of the factors without affecting the others. You should understand these variables and be aware of how they interact in this field to get the best value for money.

“Value for money (VFM): utility derived from every purchase or every sum of money spent. VFM is based not only on the minimum purchase price (economy) but also on the maximum efficiency and effectiveness of the purchase.”

  • Cost

In the translation industry, this variable can be seen from either the translators’ or the buyers’ point of view. Translators’ rates are what professionals charge to do the job, whereas the client’s budget is the money allocated for the task. Needless to say, clients and translators don’t always fully agree on this issue: customers usually want to reduce costs, and translators—as with any professional—will seek to be well compensated for their work.

  • Time

This one is quite straightforward: it’s the amount of time allocated for the translation project to be completed. Other common ways of referring to this variable are “deadline” and “turnaround time.” Although it’s usually seen from the client’s perspective (“I need this text by X”), it’s certainly the translator’s concern as well (“I need Y hours/days to deliver this text”). And that’s another area in which tension can arise.

  • Quality

Defining “quality” is usually controversial and depends on the perspective you use.

Common sense dictates that quality in translation means that the final product is accurate, grammatically correct, and in compliance with the client’s instructions (register, use of glossary/style sheet, etc.). However, translators can render a text in different correct ways, depending on the client’s purposes: you can get a very elaborate, polished translation, such as those intended for publication, or a text written without much in the way of style concerns, such as those for understanding only.

Although some might say that the “understanding” end of the spectrum equals poor quality, it’s sometimes all you’re looking for. If your specifications are agreed upon beforehand, and the translator complies with your instructions, s/he will have delivered a high-quality service. Here’s what Chris Durban and Alan Melby say about it in their text “Translation: Buying a Non-Commodity”:

“Sometimes all you want is to get (or give) the general idea of a document (rough translation); in other cases, a polished text is essential. […] In every translation project, the buyer and the translation service provider (translator or translation team) should agree in advance on a set of specifications to be followed while carrying out the project.”

Now, looking from a different perspective, sometimes “quality” is used to refer to the professional’s credentials, expertise, experience, and the like. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that all beginner translators are doomed to deliver poor services, or that every experienced professional is always impeccable. One thing is for sure: everyone expects that more experienced translators deliver better quality—and charge accordingly.

Common scenarios

After my attempt to define the three major elements that influence a translation project, I’ll analyze the most frequent situations that translation clients may face and what they should expect. Of course, none of the “equations” I propose here are true all the time. They’re all hypothetical scenarios that are likely to happen, based on what’s commonly seen in the market.

To begin with, I believe in the following premises:

  • (a) Shorter deadlines impose more pressure on translators—with less time to do careful research and revision/proofreading, they are more prone to make mistakes and produce less polished texts.
  • (b) Lower rates are often charged by novice translators or those who have no option but to work for extremely long hours to make a living. Conversely, more experienced professionals usually charge higher rates, which are, more often than not, proportional to the quality level of their services.

That said, the situations below are what I consider the most likely scenarios in my field.

Time as a fixed variable:

Provided you have time on your hands, this is probably the ideal situation from the client’s perspective. The longer the time you give to your translator, the higher your probability of achieving better quality and negotiating lower rates.

Unfortunately one of the most common scenarios involves tight deadlines. This is when rush fees apply. When translators have a shorter time to work on a text, they’re more inclined to charge more, usually because they have to work after hours and/or reschedule their priorities to focus on your service. Under these circumstances, some professionals outsource part of the project (in these cases, translators are usually expected to ask for the client’s green light before sharing any material with a third party) and are (ideally speaking) responsible for editing the final version and making sure it’s smooth and consistent, as if written by a single person. When time constraints are overwhelming, this revision phase might not be carefully carried out, most likely resulting in poorer quality. Needless to say, two or more professionals cost more than one, and the extra work involved in coordinating a project is time consuming as well.

Time and rate as fixed variables:

The scenario translators dream about is having plenty of time to carefully work on the project while being well remunerated—not to mention that motivation is an extra element that tips the scale in favor of high quality.

This is the worst-case scenario everyone wants to avoid. As I said, the low-rate factor alone is an indication of dubious quality, and a short deadline might increase the risk of mistakes and poorly written texts.

Well, I tried looking into my crystal ball, but it’s not easy to predict the quality of a translation under these circumstances. While low rates most likely reduce the translators’ motivation or the priority they give to a project, a long deadline may help them improve the quality. The second case is even more delicate: if the deadline is too short, a better rate can allow the translator to prioritize your project or hire a reviser, for instance. In extreme situations, however, there’s only so much a higher budget can do.

The bottom line is plan ahead. Giving a translator as much time as possible is perhaps the most appropriate way to get the best value for your money.

Last but not least, if you have no time, no money, and no concerns whatsoever with quality, well, machine translation is there to serve you. Use at your own risk!

There’s certainly a lot to be discussed in relation to the cost-time-quality trade-off and how all these matters interfere in your translation project. Check out other pertinent articles at

* * *
Bianca Bold

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7 Mistakes to Avoid for Customer Satisfaction

I recently made a complaint to a company about something they printed for us. It took them 10 weeks to resolve the matter and I had to send them 6 reminders during that time asking for update. Eventually I called the company’s managing director and made an additional complaint about the way my complaint was being handled. Although the issue was resolved amicably in the end, there is no doubt that my complaint was not handled very efficiently.

I was surprised that this reputable company has dealt with my complaint so inefficiently. And I was determined to have something positive to come out of this experience. If anything just to ensure that none of our customers have to go through a similar experience.

Therefore I am writing this for our company and other translation providers who would love to put their customers first.

Feedback vs. Complaint

After all, is there a much difference between feedback and a complaint? Isn’t this similar to glass half-full/half-empty syndrome? The majority of customers who do not complain about services they are unhappy with, almost always take their business elsewhere. According to statistics, it is not a bad thing to receive a complaint. If the complaint is resolved promptly, customers may continue using the same service provider. When the customer does indeed complain, the service provider has an opportunity to correct the problem, and as a result can maintain a positive business relationship.

Asking for feedback is only a start because we need to know what to do if there is a negative feedback – let’s call it complaint for the purpose of this article. It is important that we have a complaint procedure in place. But most importantly raising awareness in the company about the below mistakes will equip us with the right mindset. I very much hope that you are reading this article to prevent a future customer complaint rather then handling one right now.

Here are the 7 mistakes to avoid if your customer complains about the translation you have provided:

#1 – Putting the complaint to the bottom of your to-do list

Delaying to deal with the complaint will not make the issue go away: it will only complicate it further and will be very frustrating for the customer. Also, the longer the matter is left unresolved, the more difficult it is to find a productive solution. Dealing with the issue promptly will lead to a positive solution, which is after all what the customer came to you for in the first place.

#2 – Automatically assume that complaint is for getting a discount

Assuming that the complaint is only made with the intention of receiving a discount or not paying for the service at all can lead you to form a very cynical view of your customers. In the long run this will be counter-productive, and will stop you looking at the complaint objectively. If this assumption is in place then you will take a defensive stance from the very beginning.

The other extreme is offering a discount as soon as your customer complains. This will stop you from getting to the bottom of the matter and would not prevent future mistakes.

#3 – Not listening to your customer or not understanding the complaint

Merely paying lip service to the customer and nodding your head with sympathy will not enable you to understand the reason of the complaint: it will stop you from finding a beneficial win/win resolution to the matter. It will only temporarily pacify your client and gain you some time.

Understanding your customer’s need will enable you to find the perfect solution.

#4 – Blaming someone else

Immediately trying to find excuses and/or blaming another person involved in the project is a sure way to annoy your customer and can destroy your customer’s confidence in the company. An even worse approach would be trying to blame the client for the problems: this is a very destructive approach and will definitely make your customers go elsewhere.

This approach can also create a ‘blame culture’ in the company and will destroy trust among colleagues. And it soon can be the first port of call used to ‘resolve’ customer complaints.

#5 – Not recording the complaint

It is essential that complaints are recorded in order to ensure that the same mistakes do not keep occurring. Every service provider, whether they are a company or a freelancer needs to have a complaint procedure and part of it should be definitely keeping records of complaints. This is a good sign that you are not afraid of dealing with issues.

#6 – Not learning from your mistakes

Despite your endeavours and good will, there was a problem and you managed to resolve it, but no lessons were recorded. If this is the case it is likely that nothing has been learnt from the mistake. It is essential to learn from your mistakes in order not to repeat them.

Learning from your own mistakes is important but learning from others’ mistakes is even better.

#7 – Not resolving the issue to your customer’s satisfaction

Only finding a part solution and dealing with the matter half-heartedly is the wrong way to handle complaints. Total dedication in resolving the matter to your customer’s satisfaction will not go unnoticed and will encourage them to come back to you again and again.

Let’s remember that keeping an existing client happy costs a lot less than finding new clients.

If you would like to discuss any of the above or find out how I can help you or your company, please contact me by email or call +44 (0)1245 216930.

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The 7 Packaging Design Mistakes to Avoid for Global Success

Packaging plays an important role in the consumer’s decision to make a purchase or not.

For this reason, companies spend a lot of time and money on their packaging. Getting the packaging right for any product is absolutely essential in order to get the customer’s attention. However, unintentionally getting it wrong can result in painful consequences. Time and money can be saved by simply putting a planning stage in place which will help avoiding the mistakes listed below.

#1 – Colours on the packaging clash with the local culture

Using the wrong colour for the target country can be disastrous for an otherwise good product. For example, some colours are associated with death in some cultures or certain colours may have a religious significance. Packaging colours need to be chosen carefully and should be neutral when possible in order to keep costs down.

#2 – Choosing photographs unwisely

Photographs can help tremendously to increase a product’s appeal.  However, if the photos or graphics used are not in line with the target country’s traditions or consumer expectations, photos that were meant to help can be a problem for your marketing campaign. Therefore, photos and graphics need to be taken into account at the design stage when it is cheaper to resolve any issues that are identified.

#3 – Making the typesetting process unnecessarily complicated

It makes sense to get as many different languages as possible onto the same packaging. This will save time and money. But, different languages, particularly right to left languages, require different skills and resources in order to get the information right.

Using a translation company equipped with a typesetting studio can be a simple and effective solution. They can make sure that all of the languages appear correctly on your packaging.

#4 – Assuming that existing packaging will work in any country

Different countries may have different packaging requirements and restrictions. Therefore, packaging designed for your domestic market that complies with the local regulations may require modification for other countries. The relative costs and time required to do this needs to be taken into account at the planning stage.

Failing to conform to the target country’s regulations may result in delays and, in some cases, in product recalls.

#5 – Not briefing the designer about your international marketing angle

If your designer is not aware of your overseas requirements, they will not design the original artwork with an international mind-set. Using text integrated into graphics will mean extra cost and time as the graphic needs to be localised for each language.

For example, trying to avoid text going over double page spreads or complex graphic shapes with text running around them, will make right to left language formatting, such as Arabic and Hebrew, very easy since the direction of pages needs to be mirrored for these languages.

#6 – Not allocating enough space for text

Text for some languages will take up more space than English text. For example, a German translation will contain approximately 20% more characters than English. If there is not enough space, then a small size type may have to be used, or the design may need to be modified.

#7 – Using product names with adverse meanings in other languages

A global brand name check should be the first step before deciding on the product name and packaging slogan. Make sure that the brand name and product taglines do not have any adverse meanings in different languages.

This may sound difficult, but actually any reputable translation company can carry out a multilingual brand name check and provide a cost effective and painless solution to meet your needs.

None of the above mistakes need to occur. Forward planning and working with the right translation company can help you overcome all of the above pitfalls before they become major issues for your product.

We are here to help our customers and provide them with support and information so that they can carry out their activities without costly delays and product recalls.

If you have any questions regarding to any of the above or would like to discuss your project, please contact me by email or call +44 (0)1245 216930.

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Why some translation providers hate doing test translations?

Some translators spend a lot energy and time about resisting test translations. I found this quite fascinating. Why pick on doing test translations so much? Why take it so personally?

There are some other translation related issues that really bug me and should occupy other translation professionals instead of this? Some of these matters are; lack of appreciating the value of translations, using machine translation for corporate communications etc etc. Some of these are burning matters for the future of our profession too.

But somehow, being asked to do a free test translation can fire up so much frustration where as simply replying ‘thanks but no thanks’ would suffice for all parties and one one would necessarily be offended.

Lets focus on promoting the value translations can add to any business looking for overseas growth. Translation is about communicating to potential customers in their native language and the image and the credibility of the business. And poor translations can damage a business’s reputation whether they are small or large.

I am very passionate about translations as a means of global communication and the value we can add to any business.

Lets talk about this more often. Happy translating…

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Test translations- waste of time or opportunity?

Test translations have always been one of the hot topics in translation industry and it is not likely to go away any time soon. Share your opinion in the poll below.

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