To date, there are 845 million Mandarin speakers. There are 500 million Spanish speakers. Then we have Hindi-Urdu at 405 million total speakers. Arabic is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, totalling a whopping 452 million speakers. English ranks beneath all these linguistic mammoths at a measly 328 million.
If you’re reading this, my best guess is that you’re a native English speaker. If you’re a business owner, your client base is probably prevalently English speaking.
As an English-speaking business, your target market is limited to 328 million people. According to the above statistics, there are billions of potential customers that you have not addressed. You’re ignoring the 75% of the consumer world that may need your product.
In order to grow your business to reach the potential it has, you will at some point be faced with the tough but rewarding decision to diversify and broaden your market. This inevitably means dealing with foreign clients.
Your first step would be to have your company website translated into languages which your expanded target market will understand. The effort put into this process will not only allow your clients to understand your services much better, your efforts will be recognized and this will put you in good stead with your prospective clients.
The next step would subsequently be that of translating product descriptions, contracts, service agreements, and all the bureaucracy which your clients would be dealing with. This step is an obvious one, as your clients will not purchase or do business with something they cannot comprehend.
The final step would be to work closely with translators in order to provide customer service to your clients in their native language. Perhaps by means of a monthly newsletter or responding to their queries in their native language. Either way, this will retain your clients, who will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.
In a struggling world economy, one will have to look abroad for solutions – following these easy steps will allow you to obtain and retain a foreign client base.
[author ]Sean Caricola is one of the co-founders and directors of an international translation firm, North By North Communication. For any questions, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.[/author]