(Originally Posted on May 20, 2015)
Translation services are very important in the retail industry. If you want your business to succeed on an international scale, then your website, as well as all of your packaging, marketing materials, and labels will need to be translated into all of the different languages that your consumers speak. Perhaps surprisingly, retail translation is distinct from other types of translation services. You’ll need to work with a company that specializes in retail translation and can provide you with what you need. Here are some of the ways retail translation differs from other types of translation services.
Volume and Timeliness
In the retail industry, there’s a large amount of material that must be translated. Consider the variety of content your company publishes: product packaging, catalogs, coupons, emails, and blogs. Plus, if you have brick and mortar stores, there are signs, employee training materials, POS materials, and much more.
In addition, there is a very quick turnaround time. Catalogs and coupons are time-sensitive, and must be fully translated and ready to distribute in time for customers to take advantage of them. Blogs and emails may be released weekly, or even more frequently. Even product packaging and label translation is usually the last step before going to print, and by then, time is of the essence! All of these materials must be translated quickly and accurately, not only for your customers to understand, but so they will ultimately want to buy your products.
Regulations and Requirements
In many markets, retail translations have specific government requirements that other types of translations don’t. In Quebec, for instance, companies with over one hundred employees are required to provide all signs, forms, and other workplace materials in both English and French. Companies selling retail products are held strictly responsible for the accuracy of translations for every package and product they sell—which can number in the thousands. Trying to manage all of these translations is very challenging, and can lead to a sacrifice in quality.
Centralization and Automation
In order to keep up with a hectic schedule and rigorous regulations, it’s necessary to have a plan in place. Many retail product companies employ a centralized system that automates a large part of the translation process. Of course, with automation, you may think of machine translation, which can be quite unreliable, inaccurate, and out of context. This is why the best translation service providers combine automation with human expertise, to provide the best of both worlds: large amounts of timely translations, which retain the accuracy and quality of an actual human translator who can apply the use of streamlined processes and technology.
By understanding how retail translations differ from other translations, retail product companies can make sure all of their products are readily available in any market and that all accompanying materials, from small packaging to large websites, are not only well-translated, but polished and equipped to sell the highlighted product. Enlisting the help of a seasoned language service provider is a great way to ensure success in entering new markets!