In 2020, business travel — both domestically and internationally — has come to a screeching halt. Meetings, appointments, and corporate gatherings once conducted in person are now online. Countless industries supported by employees and contractors who speak hundreds of languages seek translation services so that business-as-usual can be performed from home. Personal connections may feel challenging, as virtual contact and communication — particularly customized business translation and the meaning and context of verbal and written communication— is widespread and here to stay in the new digitally-driven landscape.
According to a recent survey conducted of over 1,000 international business professionals, 70% of respondents consider Google Translate as the top choice for a translation tool for quick business translation solutions. Though it may seem easy and natural to select Google Translate as an immediate option, better options exist for elevating your translation projects cost-effectively, without compromising quality on a longer-term basis.
It’s not uncommon for even seasoned business professionals to feel anxious in situations where translation is necessary. In the aforementioned survey, 69% of all international business pros had “moderate” to “very high” anxiety related to their abilities to communicate effectively through translation and/or interpretation. For those who traveled internationally more frequently, 75% experienced higher levels of anxiety.
Google translate — an effortless choice
No matter what the business background of a professional who needs to access translation services, it is natural to reach for what feels like the easiest solution for immediate translation needs. Google Translate checks the box: you get immediate “results” when you type words or phrases into the Google search bar. It’s accessible and is insanely easy to use. But, here’s the thing: its accuracy typically leaves much to be desired.
Botched translation? What’s the point?
When it comes to translation, accuracy and nuance can be easily lost when language is taken out of context or not customized for specific business purposes. There are myriad ramifications for companies that don’t invest in proper and accurate translation. The costs of getting it wrong can be financial as well as social and emotional. Imprecise translation can directly affect your business’s bottom line — while likely negatively affecting company revenue and undermining employee engagement/satisfaction.
Survey says: Lack of confidence in Google Translate accuracy
More than half (61%, in fact) of survey respondents rated Google Translate 3 stars (out of 5) or below in terms of satisfaction in translation. The anxiety of not knowing if a translation is or isn’t accurate can negatively affect employee performance and company outcomes. It diminishes trust in relationships, and in effect, adversely affects the profitability of the business.
Consider alternative options
Because Google Translate lacks robustness and reliability, your organization should likely consider a more responsive, customized translation solution for its critical translation projects.
What’s plainly lacking in automated translation solutions (such as Google Translate) is the unmatched quality that human oversight/management provides. When selecting a translation provider, opting to work with a human-powered team of experts, rather than reaching for the immediate, short-term solution provided by Google, will undoubtedly yield higher-quality results for your organization and its teams. Via expert project managers and translators, customized translation companies typically offer direct communication and support throughout the translation process – ensuring your projects retain context, meaning, and nuance.
A simple solution: Provide support
In our survey, 66% of respondents who received translation support from their employer felt their ability to communicate helped the overall effectiveness of the meeting and helped play a role in the business trip’s positive outcome. Then, when asked to rate their translation effectiveness, 71% of respondents who were supported by their employers gave themselves a “moderate” to “very high” rating, compared to 42% of respondents who did not receive support from their employer. One thing is clear: support is key to successfully tackling challenging translation projects.
Preparation is essential
Regardless of what method of translation business professionals use to connect with colleagues in other languages, there’s another common theme that indicates success: preparation. It should come as no surprise that lack of preparation negatively affects the translation experience. With just over half of respondents stating that they had downloaded or used the Google Translate software/app before needing translation, only 13% of international business professionals contacted interpretation service providers — this number should clearly be significantly higher to lay an adequate groundwork for success.
At Argo, we are committed to connecting people, no matter what language they speak. Contact us to set your business up for success for its next translation project.
Nick joined the team in 2017 to spearhead Argo’s expanding marketing initiatives. He graduated from North Central College in Naperville, IL with a BA in political science and a minor in global studies. Previously, he worked as a digital strategist for innovative marketing agencies in Chicago and as a political consultant for domestic and international clients in Washington, DC.