The Business of Translation – What Are You Leaving on the Table?

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By Rossion

As we head into uncertain economic times – call it a slow cession, a recession, or a time of high inflation – our bottom lines are changing. As a business owner, how are you adapting? Are you focused on attracting new business, or on maintaining the status quo? Have you considered translation as a strategy for growth?

What Are the Demographics of My Region, Country, or Audience?

To better understand how to best attract new business, it helps to start with data. What are the language demographics in your area? What segments of the population may be interested in your business’s offering, and how do you best approach them?

Canada is a large country with a diverse population. Fifty-five percent of Canadians identify English as their mother tongue, but 75 percent speak English at home. Nineteen percent name French as their mother tongue, and 21 percent speak French at home.

These proportions vary depending on where you are in the country. In Quebec, only 10 percent list English as their mother tongue, followed by nonofficial languages (15 percent), and French at over 75 percent. In Manitoba, however, 75 percent name English as their mother tongue, followed by nonofficial languages at 25 percent, 3.5 percent as French, and 2 percent as Indigenous languages. The takeaway? Your audience — and customer base — is vast.

If you do most of your business in the United States, things look different. While most US citizens speak English at home, the amount of people who speak a language other than English is growing. Over 27 million people speak Spanish at home, several other languages are also prominent, with between 1.5 million to over 3 million language speakers.

What’s the Best Way to Approach My Customer Base?

Studies show that consumers are more likely to buy from businesses if the business offers content in their native language. So, what does this mean for your business? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I be more approachable to my consumers?
  • How do I ensure my customers are comfortable and open to doing business with me?
  • Are there nuances in my business that would be easier to communicate with my customers about in their native language(s)? Chances are, the answer is yes!

Am I Limiting My Business by Working in One Language?

Many businesses in Canada – particularly in Quebec, with the new Bill 96 – offer their websites in English and French. But many businesses that operate outside of Quebec choose not to translate all of their content. If you are one of those businesses, you may be limiting your customer base. Do you have content that would be more effective in your customers’ native languages? Do you see web traffic drop off once readers reach untranslated sections of your website or if they cannot find product information in their language of choice?

An important part of running a successful business is providing clear, to-the-point information for your customers. Translation can help achieve this goal.

Key Takeaways: Translation and Your Business

  • Offering content or services in multiple languages can open up your business to a new market.
  • Understanding the language demographics where you operate your business may help you to better assess your potential customer base.
  • Customers are more likely to purchase from a business that offers content in their native language. Your business may be limiting itself by not providing any — or enough –information in the language of your customers’ choice.

Planning to localize content for the Quebec market? We’re here to help. Get in touch to learn how Rossion can support your company’s transition and adapt your industry-specific content to French. Get in touch


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