Avoid bad English in global communications
Category : Editing
There’s a problem with global business.
Companies increasingly need to translate corporate communications into English for a global audience.
The problem is making sure nothing gets lost in translation, internally and externally.
Even the best bi-lingual translators make mistakes. And if they don’t understand the business, its employees and its customers, they won’t understand the message, tone and brand consistency required. This risks alienating the very people you need to engage.
There are three key factors to consider:
1. The quality of the original text.
2. The quality of the translation
3. The quality of the proofreading.
If corporate communications are written badly in the first place, the translation will be even worse. They key is to keep things simple when the text is originally written. Encourage the writer to use short sentences and break up the copy into small, “bite-size” chunks of information.
The translation itself needs to be of the highest quality. Use experts who know your industry and the culture of your organisation. If they don’t, make sure the translation is checked by someone who does. This is where most international corporate communications fall short. It’s not simply a question of checking for spelling mistakes and badly worded phrases, it’s about brand consistency and flow.
To avoid embarrassing and potentially costly errors, corporate communications translated into English should be checked by a native English-speaker and content specialist. You need someone who takes time to understand what you want to say and to whom; someone who understands your organisation and ensures brand consistency and tone of voice, and someone with experience of editing global communications on a daily basis.