How to get the most from using language services: some do’s and don’ts


  • Write in plain English – of course not to the point of using slang, colloquialisms or idiomatic expressions which may not translate effectively.
  • Avoid long sentences and jargon. If you must use technical terms, explain them. This ensures the most accurate and up to date translation of specialised terms and concepts.
  • The text should be written with the requirements of your target audience in mind. Your audience may have different social and cultural expectations. The bottom line is that you cannot get a good translation from a bad English text!
  • Choose a reputable translating company. After you have chosen your translating company, trust them – it is in their interest to deliver the best possible product.
  • Discuss your particular needs with the translation company and ask for their advice. Well-established translating companies have teams of experienced copywriters able to write directly in their mother tongue to convey your ideas and promotional concepts.
  • Allow yourself sufficient time to prepare for a promotional campaign in foreign languages and set realistic deadlines. Professional translating companies would rather refuse to do the job than risk your reputation and theirs.

Targeting your materials at overseas markets/clients

As Australia moves towards becoming more competitive on world markets, the volume of contacts with overseas businesses and interpersonal contacts associated with international trade will increase significantly. In this context, it becomes increasingly clear that a knowledge of overseas customers, their languages and their cultures will provide the competitive edge that every exporter seeks. Those who are naive say that in international business, “Everybody speaks English, anyway!” Those who know better, know that accommodating the language and culture of your overseas business associate will send several subtle messages:

  • Firstly, you are polite enough to go to the trouble of conveying your message in the client’s first language;
  • Secondly, you are interested and informed enough to make sure that your communication is culturally appropriate;
  • Thirdly, you are not arrogant and the rest of the world does not necessarily speak English.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Cross-cultural knowledge is an important component of any company’s export marketing strategy.
  • Sales literature and advertisements for export markets are best presented to prospective clients in their own language. It is also generally polite to do so.
  • Correct packaging in cross-culturally acceptable colours containing appropriate instructions in the language of the target market will enhance the sale