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Going global in 2015? Don’t Let your Business get Lost in Translation

The world seems a much smaller place as a result of technological advances. Though methods of communication have improved over the last decade, many businesses have learned that not everyone across the globe speaks English, and the language used in commercial and legal documentation often differs from that which is used every day.

The benefits of expanding your business

If you have the confidence and connections to trade overseas, you’ll soon find out that ‘Google Translate’ most certainly won’t cover your business needs. In fact you’re more likely to embarrass yourself and your business if you don’t ensure that you use the services of a commercial translation service.

Not being aware of local legal terminology can also lead a company to make expensive mistakes. Legal and business terminology can be a nightmare in your own language, let alone another country. If you use the services of a professional legal translation firm, including, you minimise the risk of any problems, which could come about by not understanding the overseas legal requirements for your firm.

The importance of global understanding

HM Government suggests that anyone considering trading in the global marketplace learns that , ‘different business cultures, legal environments and languages increase the risk of confusion when you trade internationally. It’s important to have a clear contract.’ The government strongly encourages UK companies to expand globally, but it also recognises that this is a tough marketplace, and UK companies often need professional advice when carrying out business in an overseas environment.

Same language, different practices and cultures

If you’re thinking of trading in the US or Australia, you’ll soon become aware that even though both countries use English as their means of communication, their business legislation is very different to that in the UK. The American publication the Small Business Chronicle points out that ‘the legal complexities of international business can be challenging, and without proper legal advice you might be subject to fines and penalties. Make sure you have excellent international lawyers.’ It’s important that you devote your time to building your business; it’s what you’re good at. Leave the legal legwork to others.

Local culture is also important

No matter what your business is, you should also spend some time learning about the culture of the country where you wish to trade. If you’re on an overseas trip, extolling the virtues of your business, the last thing that you’ll want to do is offend your hosts. You want to be remembered for your products and services, and not as the person who didn’t observe the host country’s customs.

Try to learn another language

It always helps to learn another language. A recent article in The Guardian pointed out that the unwillingness of British exporters to increase their linguistic skills, ‘is holding back the UK’s economic performance.’ The British Chambers of Commerce suggest that ‘61% of non-exporters that were likely to consider trading internationally said a lack of language skills was a barrier.’ You’ll still need lawyers for complex translation but if you can converse with the people you wish to trade with, then you’re on the road to global commercial success.

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