Translate to English: Tips for Choosing a Writing Style
All businesses planning to expand globally must translate to English. English is the most spoken language worldwide, with around 1 billion native and second-language speakers. But to translate to English is more complex than it sounds; to translate language appropriately for your audience requires skill. You must choose the right writing style and may even need an English to English translation when expanding worldwide.
This guide helps you translate to English accurately and professionally in a way that encourages your audience to connect and engage with your content. All through choosing the right writing style.
English for International Content Translations
What style of English should I translate my content into? Do I need an English to English translation, for example, from US to UK English? Should I choose one or cater to all English speakers? These are common questions by businesses needing to translate to English, and they have no straightforward answer. They’re unique to every organisation, product or service, and market situation.
For example, imagine a solar company in Fiji is targeting prospective residential and business customers on several islands. The islanders may natively speak Fijian, Hindi/Hindustani, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, or other Micronesian and Polynesian languages. However, the country’s official language is English due to its colonisation by the UK from 1874 to 1970.
Day to day, nearly all Fijians speak an informal version of English referred to as Fiji English or “Finglish”. There is debate about whether this style should be classed as its separate dialect. Fiji’s geographic neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, also have distinguished vernaculars. So, should they translate language into British English, Australian English, New Zealand English or Finglish?
The company must consider language variants when they translate to English. Choosing the wrong style can impact the customer’s engagement and affect the SEO rank of your site. For example, customers in the UK search “localisation”, while their counterparts in the US search “localization”. This is hugely significant if you want to rank high on Google. But which version is correct?
Considerations Before You Translate to English
As there is no simple equation to work out the version of English to use, you need to look at why you need to translate to English in the first place. This better helps you understand whether you need an English to English translation or not. Below are some prompts and discussions to help translate language the right way:
- Who is my primary target audience? Products and services typically target multiple buyer personas. When creating a company website, the content needs to serve the needs of all prospective customers. Therefore, content often needs to be adjusted for various readers. We suggest you evaluate your content modification priorities based on the potential audience size or sales volume potential—tailor things first to your ideal.
- What is my geographic service area? If an organisation cannot serve customers outside a specific radius, its target audience’s language preferences are narrowed considerably. On the flip side, a product that can be shipped anywhere or services that can be provided remotely have more extensive and diverse audiences. You only need to translate to English spoken by the people in the area you’re serving.
- Is my content formal or informal? Government, legal, business and financial communications often dictate the official languages to communicate in writing. This might require an English to English translation into British, US, Australian, and other versions of the language. On the other hand, informal business-to-consumer content is allowed to be “wrong” for some customers. As long as it’s in English, it can be understood.
- How is my content found and shared? Global internet searches and SEO rankings significantly impact an organisation’s reachable audience. Once prospective customers find your content, they may share it with others. Predicting buyers’ abilities to access your content and their preferred English language style is essential.
How to Appeal to Global Audiences?
The best way to appeal to a global audience is to translate language in your business content into the native language spoken by your target demographic. But to translate to English is the next best option! You want to use their preferred language style so your content is engaging and searchable.
When your company operates in several regions, an English to English translation is advisable. This involves accounting for differences in vocabulary and spelling, as well as tone and style. However, this isn’t a viable investment option for all businesses. In these cases, ensuring that your readers understand your content is your top priority, and encouraging them to take action is your second.
A few tips for improved understanding are as follows:
- Avoid slang and idiomatic expressions that might not be understood if your target audiences have significant English style differences
- Translate to English dialects spoken to the majority of your customers. Other audiences will still be able to understand, which is the main thing!
- Make it clear in your content that you serve a global market, despite using only one style of English on your website and marketing materials
Importance of Localisation & Transcription
The final question above is key to determining if a standard English to English translation is acceptable or if you need to translate language and other content features. In other words, specific target audiences may require advanced translation services such as localisation or transcription. This usually applies if there are vast cultural differences between the various dialects of English.
The risks of miscommunication increase with the level of audience differentiation. Most English speakers can understand varying English styles. If there is a fundamental content misunderstanding, it can be quickly corrected with clarifying questions. Unfortunately, unintentionally offensive content can turn prospective customers away without an opportunity for rectification.
The internet is filled with examples of humorous translation mistakes made by global brands. Many organisations have survived the negative consequences of translation mistakes. It is better to use localisation services for business expansion and transcreation services for marketing campaigns in advance rather than translate to English directly and lose potential or current clients.
Translate to English with Renaissance Translations
If you’re still struggling to know which version of English to use in your business translations, Renaissance Translations can help. Our expert translators are ready to determine the best option when you translate to English. As a member of the Association of Translation Companies as well as SDL Trados LSP Partner programme, our company has vast experience in the language service market.
If an English to English translation or localisation is required, we can also take this off your hands. We have professional translators from different regions, including the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more. Get in touch, and let us translate language into the correct version of English for the best chance of global success.