Translate to English: Which Style of English Should you Choose?
It is essential for businesses planning to expand to translate to English all marketing materials including websites, brochures, business cards, etc. In fact, English is the most spoken language globally. Also, the combination of native English speakers and English as a second language speakers is about 1 billion. But what if a French company plans to sell its products in the UK and US? Which style of English should they use? Read on to find out.
Which Style of English Should you use for International Content Translation?
A frequently asked question is, “What style of English should I translate my content into?”. Of course, this is unique to every organisation, product/service and market situation, and it can become a complex decision. For example, 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 they should use this style as separate dialect. Fiji’s geographic neighbours Australia and New Zealand have distinguished their vernaculars too. Hence, should they publish their content into standard British English, Australian English, New Zealand English or Finglish? The answer is that you should consider language variants when they translate to English. In fact, this can affect the SEO rank of your site. American and British English is just one example. In other words, customers in the UK search “localisation”, while their counterparts in the US search “localization”. This can make a huge impact if you want to rank high on Google.
Ask Yourself the Following Questions When You Translate to English
- Who is my primary target audience?
All products and services particularly target multiple buyer personas. When creating a direct company website, the content needs to serve the needs of all prospective customers. Therefore, content often needs to be adjusted for various readers. Site translation buttons, microsites or multiple sitemap locations are options for the content placement of varying versions. Organisations often evaluate their content modification priorities based on the potential audience size or sales volume potential.
- What is my geographic service area?
If an organisation cannot serve customers outside a specific radius, that will narrow the target audience language preferences considerably. If the product can be shipped anywhere or services provided remotely, the audience is probably more extensive and diverse.
- Is my content formal or informal in nature?
Government, legal, business and financial communications often dictate the official languages to communicate in writing. If your content or transaction is business to consumer and informal in nature, the language style options often expand.
- How is my content found and shared?
Global Internet searches and SEO rankings significantly impact an organisation’s reachable audience. Once prospective customer finds your content, they may share it with others. Forecasting the buyer’s ability to access your content and their preferred English language style is essential.
- How substantial are the vocabulary and cultural differences between the English dialects I consider?
Ensuring that your readers understand your content is your top priority, and encouraging them to take action is your second. Avoiding slang and idiomatic expressions may not be enough if your target audiences have significant English style differences.
Importance of Localisation or Transcription
The final question above is key to determining if the standard translation is acceptable or if it would be ideal for tailoring the content to area-appropriate language. Specific target audiences may require advanced translation services such as localisation or transcription if there is an extensive range of 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.
Renaissance Translations’ Professional Translation Services
Our expert translators are ready to help you in determining the best option when you translate to English. We have professional translators from different regions including the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more. Let’s discuss your upcoming project.