Whether you are conscious of this fact or not, you make decisions all day every day that affect the future of your business, whether you are the owner or the intern. Every ad you create and place, every manual you publish, every piece of content you send out into the world will have an impact on the way your company is perceived by your current and potential customers. Everything from the words you choose in your emails to clients to the tone in your voice when you answer the phone can influence the way people think about your company. All of these things form your brand, and your brand is the lifeblood of your organization. This reality is true for corporations, non-profit organizations, social services groups and any other entity. Your brand is your currency, and creating one that is recognized, trusted and sought after means you’ll have the opportunity to be profitable, or provide your services to the people that need them, rather than having to shutter your doors and close up shop.
Companies spend millions of dollars every year on marketing efforts, working to ensure that their brands are perceived in a positive way by as many people as possible. But those dollars aren’t well spent if they’re being used in a way that excludes people with limited English proficiency. In the United States alone, one in five residents speak a foreign language at home1. In 2014, that equaled 61.8 million people2, and “of those who speak a foreign language at home, 25.6 million (41 percent) told the Census Bureau that they speak English less than very well”3. These folks make purchases and need services just like native English speakers do, and you’re missing the opportunity to serve them if your branding doesn’t reach them in the languages they speak. This is where utilizing a language services provider (LSP) in your brand creation and marketing efforts can benefit both you and your customers.
A professional, experienced LSP will partner with you to help you navigate the world of translation and interpretation services, and will assist you in integrating them into your everyday branding efforts. It’s important to remember that cultivating trust in your brand is about more than just producing a single television commercial in Spanish or magazine ad in Arabic. It’s also about being able to truly serve non-English speaking folks in a meaningful way when they come through your doors or get on your website. This can take a nearly endless number of forms, but a few simple options include providing easy access to your customer service representatives in any language through over-the-phone interpretation, translating your forms and notices into other languages, and localizing your website. Your language service provider can assist you with all of these things (and more), and ensure that your outreach efforts are consistent, accurate and faithful to your original English language branding and marketing content.
When choosing an LSP to engage with, it’s important to find a provider that has professional, experienced translators and interpreters and regularly works in your target languages. You want to be sure that their linguists are familiar not only with the cultural conventions and preferences associated with the languages you will be working in, but that they are also knowledgeable about your company or organization, and the image and brand you have built and are working to maintain. Take the time to get to know your language services partner, and make sure they know you, too. Before you begin translation projects, for example, you’ll want to work together to create a glossary that contains terms that are important to your brand, and decide together on translations for each term that accurately represent your company ethos. You’ll even want to share information about where your products and services are available, as content is often translated differently for speakers of certain languages living in the United States than it would be for speakers of those same languages living overseas.
Partnering with a conscientious and service-oriented LSP will undoubtedly help you to increase your brand recognition. But more importantly, it will build trust and loyalty with a whole new group of customers, allowing you to serve more people, and your brand to grow and prosper.
1 Camarota, Stephen A. and Karen Zeigler. “One in Five U.S. Residents Speaks Foreign Language at Home, Record 61.8 million.” Center for Immigration Studies, October 3, 2014. Accessed June 27, 2019. https://cis.org/One-Five-US-Residents-Speaks-Foreign-Language-Home-Record-618-million
2 Camarota, Stephen A. and Karen Zeigler. “One in Five U.S. Residents Speaks Foreign Language at Home, Record 61.8 million.” Center for Immigration Studies, October 3, 2014. Accessed June 27, 2019. https://cis.org/One-Five-US-Residents-Speaks-Foreign-Language-Home-Record-618-million
3 Bedard, Paul. “Record 63.2 million non-English speaking residents, surge in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish.” Washington Examiner, October 5, 2015. Accessed June 27, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/record-632-million-non-english-speaking-residents-surge-in-arabic-chinese-spanish