Have you ever thought: “Why should I hire a specialized translator? Translators just deal with words, don’t they?”
Well, not exactly. For example, my field of specialization—financial and economic translation—requires a great degree of understanding. Within the world of finance there are many complex terms and concepts. They require niche expertise, because in essence it is about delivering regulated content. Getting lost in translation might be costly for fintech companies, especially when it comes to legal liability and protecting company reputation.
If you are looking for quality work, which will accurately project the image of your brand, then it is important to hire a specialized translator who can deal effectively with the content. In one of my previous roles, I used to work on testing a risk reporting system in a bank. I entered derivatives test data—options, futures and swaps—into the Risk Exposure Management system (RXM). This and my other roles in financial software houses allow me to quickly navigate the specialized jargon of portfolio or market performance reports and other financial translations.
But don’t just take my word for it. What really matters is what our clients say.
I have asked 3 colleagues, professional translators, to each share a case study which demonstrates how their specialized knowledge proved crucial to solve their clients’ problems.
Case 1. The Power of Transcreation – marketing copy that sounds like an original
Elzbieta pointed out how important the correct terminology is for a translation—in many of my projects, readability is an absolute must. I often get hired by companies or agencies to fix a bad marketing or sales translation the client wasn’t happy with. Not because it was wrong but because it sounded like a translation and not an original flowing and easy-to-read German text.
My most recent case is a SaaS start-up providing software solutions for car dealers. They weren’t happy with their current German translations of their landing pages and blog posts. Their German sales guy Robert was the one having to deal with it, and he spent hours improving and fixing the German copy. But that wasn’t his main job!
Transcreation to the rescue.
We decided to work on a trial piece together to see if my writing style hit their tone of voice, which it did. I also hopped on a call with Robert to understand their industry and clients better. It turns out that the German copy needs a stronger sense of urgency and be less vague than the English one. Transcreation is not a 1:1 translation, but a very creative adaptation of the source text specifically targeted for a specific audience, in this case, car dealers. Being in direct contact with the German salesperson is crucial for me because he knows his prospects, customers, and pain points better than anyone else. Ultimately, my job is to make my clients’ lives easier.
When you have to outsource marketing translations, it’s wise to not only work with a translator specializing in that industry, but also with someone who can write well and adapt the translation to the client’s required tone of voice and their audience. Hiring a transcreator means hiring peace of mind.
Case 2. Combining sustainability and legal expertise
I recently translated a letter of intent written by a group of European regions. In this letter, they stated why and how they intended to form an agreement to create a task force for developing sustainable energy strategies together. The client needed to have the letter of intent translated into each region’s language, including French.
As a French legal and sustainability translator, this is the kind of project that’s right up my alley.
The client needed to hire a specialized translator who was familiar with the letter’s content and concepts: sustainable energy, and more specifically hydrogen. They also needed someone who had knowledge of the specific legal terminology and the structure of this kind of official document.
Translating a legal document leaves no margin for error. Accuracy is everything, even in the smallest details. In 2018, a misplaced comma forced a US company to settle in court for $5 million! Just imagine what a case like this could do to your business! Next time you have to translate a contract, get in touch with a professional translator. Someone who knows which exact words to use in each context and where to look for reliable information… and who actually enjoys spending time researching the most accurate terminology for your document.
Case 3. Don’t spoil the customer experience by not knowing your onions
Cycling is my biggest passion. When I’m not busy doing admin work for our local cycling club, I spend every minute on the road with my trusty Bianchi XR3 training for my next epic cycling challenge. And I could swap out a headset and fix bar tape in my sleep! It is this passion, deep interest, and knowledge I bring to my German translation clients in the cycling industry.
High-end bike manufacturers and bike component manufacturers risk their reputation with poorly translated descriptions for their products. They hire me because I’m part of their tribe. I understand their customers like no one else because I’m one of them, and I know their products inside out. I recently worked on a project for a bike distributor translating a brochure about the brands exclusive to them. These brands included bags, cleaning products, drinking systems and much more. One of the listed companies produces tyres, and this is a minefield for translators with little or no knowledge of cycling because a tyre isn’t simply a tyre.
Imagine the customer’s surprise after ordering a tubeless tyre, he opens his package to find he’s been sent tubs instead. I mean, there are only a few letters difference but a completely separate tyre technology!! An inexperienced translator won’t recognize the difference, but knowing you need entirely different rims (wheels) for tubs means these are not synonyms.
If you hire a specialized translator, they will help you eliminate unpleasant surprises and create an excellent customer experience in a foreign market. There’s nothing better than turning a first-time customer into a loyal fan of your brand.
You will also be able to focus on your core business—on the activities that generate revenue for your company or organization—rather than worry about incorrect translations and re-working them to make them acceptable.