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Guest Blogger

by Alan White, Business Development Director, The Translation People

The current Covid-19 pandemic has suddenly and dramatically changed our approach to events. With travel restrictions firmly in place, social distancing the new norm, and uncertainty about what the future holds, businesses that rely on face-to-face interaction – particularly those with a global audience – will be reviewing how they keep their operations going. Here, Alan White, business development director at The Translation People, explains how companies can rethink their event strategies for the Covid-19 era.

Multilingual virtual conferences

In the current climate it’s easy to see why the likes of Zoom – which has seen its number of users increase from 10 million a day in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020[1] – have soared in popularity.

But while video conferencing tools are an effective and low cost way for people to stay connected all over the world, whether for team meetings or virtual events, international organisations who need to communicate with people in multiple languages may find they have a common problem; how do they translate live to cater for people in different countries?

There is a simple solution – remote multilingual interpreting platforms. Working with a reputable translation and language provider, the user can create an unlimited number of virtual interpreting booths. These allow skilled, experienced linguists to interpret for the attendees, meaning everyone can follow the conversations in their chosen language in real time.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, such platforms were being used to help businesses reduce the cost, time and environmental impact associated with sending interpreters around the world to translate at conferences and events. While these benefits still remain, the current climate has forced many companies and event organisers to suddenly embrace this technology.

Engaging e-learning

Often events, conferences and meetings are used as a way to train and educate people face-to-face. We’ve already seen online learning become increasingly popular over recent years,

with some studies suggesting the global education market could be worth $132.98 billion by 2023. And now given the current situation, we’re expecting to see even more businesses embrace the opportunities e-learning presents.

Online training has a few different considerations compared with face-to-face interactions. It’s even more important to deliver information in an engaging way so that the users understand what is being explained, retain the information, and complete the course.

As a result, if you’re catering for an international audience, you should localise your training materials. If you’ve got a presenter talking to camera, you can add subtitles in the local language or include a foreign language voiceover. Often e-learning contains animations, graphs and other visuals, which can also be translated into the local language.

Whether you’re using online learning to upskill your team, create a new revenue stream, or explain the benefits of your product or service to customers, you’ll get much better results if you tailor the content so your audience can easily understand it.

Looking beyond face-to-face

There is much speculation about how organisations will operate when we come out of the current pandemic, with some suggestions that we’re still a long way off ‘business as usual’. Because we may continue to see people travelling less and avoiding unnecessary face-to-face interactions for some time to come, it’s important to make sure your marketing channels are fit for purpose.

Online business has never been so important. From your website and social media channels to the content and videos you share, it’s vital that you’re offering international audiences the option of accessing everything in their native language.

A recent survey of more than 3,000 global consumers in 10 non-Anglophone countries showed 75 per cent prefer to buy products from websites in their native language, and 60 per cent said they never buy from English-only websites. If current or potential customers are able to access the content on your digital channels in their own language, they’re more likely to stay and interact for longer and, in turn, this will help your conversion rates.

But when it comes to website translations, there’s more to it than simply swapping words from one language to another.

Firstly, you need to consider local search engine optimisation to make sure that your target market can find you. As well as understanding what search engines are popular in the region, you need to think about what search terms people are looking for.

Secondly, you need to make sure that your marketing messages work. Sometimes a strapline or advert might work in English, but it makes no sense or even offends when it’s translated literally into another language.

To avoid this problem, you could consider a service called transcreation. A combination of translation and foreign language copywriting, transcreation is a creative service that helps businesses to develop international marketing and sales content. Specialist transcreators apply their knowledge of cultural references, heritage, attitudes, dialects and languages to help craft the perfect marketing message in different languages.

Although we’re experiencing the biggest shake up in day-to-day life and traditional business in our lifetimes, we shouldn’t worry that this is the end. Far from it. Thanks to technology and creative problem solving, we’re finding new and arguably better ways to connect, engage and inform our target audiences. By having a flexible approach, international businesses can embrace new ways of working and the opportunities they present to keep communications strong with employees, partners and other stakeholders all around the world

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