With international business volumes escalating to unprecedented levels, geographical boundaries are seen to be fading over the years. Organizations are taking their businesses to distant places regardless of language and cultural barriers. The need to communicate in foreign languages or to draw up letters of intent and other legal documents is an important aspect of forging international partnerships. The way business is conducted in different countries is largely dependent upon local culture and traditional practices, so it becomes crucial to the success of the enterprise for each partner to a joint venture to be able to understand the full implications of the communications they exchange.

Translation services and software

The mushrooming of translation services on the web in recent years is evidence enough of the rising demand for these services. There is also an assortment of translation software that professes to provide instant translations of text between different language pairs. However, most if not all of these translations have certain limitations, and quite often the translated text output will just be a literal or direct translation, which may not be very helpful to the end user.

Consider, for instance, the following sentence in German:

“Wie in Frankfurt besprochen, sind wir mit der Realisierung eines ersten Projektes unter gemeinsamer Fuehrung auf der Basis eines Gemeinschaftsunternehmens einverstanden”

When translated to English using translation software, it would read as:

“As discussed in Frankfurt, we agree with the realization of a first project under common guidance on the basis of a joint undertaking”

A better way to express it would be:

“As discussed in Frankfurt, we are open to the undertaking of a first project as a joint undertaking under shared guidance, based on an agreement in writing.”

Likewise, if you were to attempt to translate the French paragraph below to English using one of the translation software packages:

“La comparante se propose d’ériger 11 logements avec chacun une entrée individuelle ainsi qu’un garage souterrain, conformément aux plans d’étages ici produits.”

The output would read as follows:

“Comparing proposes to set up 11 residences with each one an individual entry as well as an underground parking garage, in accordance with the plans of stages produced here.”

A better way to word the phrase would be:

“The deponent proposes to erect 11 dwelling units, each having a separate entrance as also a basement level garage, conforming to the floor-wise plans produced here.”

Business terminology

In the world of business, there are many oft used terms that are specific to the particular category of business. For instance, the terminology used in the financial sector may be at great variance from that used in the manufacturing sector – but both linguistic and technical accuracy are more crucial in the financial services area than in any other business. Similarly, those engaged in the field of building construction or real estate services may use a set of terms that may be almost unintelligible to someone in the catering business. Given this situation, it becomes all the more important for people from different language-speaking countries entering into business partnerships to be able to communicate with complete understanding of all the intricacies of the deal or transaction they might be contemplating. Whether it is a simple introductory letter or a major contractual document, it is important for the success of the enterprise that both parties are fully conversant with the communiqués they exchange.

The solution

Where there are cross-border dealings, choosing the right service provider or translator for an organization’s business needs is of vital importance to the business. To seek out the services of a native language translator would not answer to the situation when sourcing business translation services. Mere knowledge of a language would not suffice, as the translator must possess an acceptable level of domain knowledge of the business to be able to do justice to the translation work and to understand the nuances of the communication. It would be worthwhile to take a little more effort in identifying a suitable provider with domain knowledge of the business in addition to language translation certification before making the choice.


In the context of a truly seamless, globalized world as we experience it today, business is being conducted by organizations across continents and quite successfully too. With communication channels laid open thanks to the World Wide Web, all that remains to keep things moving smoothly is to overcome the barrier of language. Identifying a good service provider to render translations that effectively capture the letter and spirit of your documents is an essential aspect of building and nurturing the business partnership.

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