Global companies have a big language problem to solve. Language barriers drive a wedge between companies and their customers, negatively impacting the relationship and stifling growth. In fact, 64 percent of executives say language barriers make it more challenging to gain traction in international markets and 49 percent say that this has stood in the way of a major international business deal (registration required). This indicates that many companies’ global expansion is outpacing their translation capabilities — a recipe for confused, dissatisfied customers.

In many cases, machine translation can answer this big language problem and aid in expanding a brand’s global and multilingual footprint. While human translation is a viable option for translating content that is of high value and requires a human touch, it will not solve the high-volume, real time language challenges that machine translation can tackle.

Content Translation, Pronto

Perhaps the most obvious translation challenge businesses face today is the need to handle large quantities of content on a fast turnaround. Think of a hotel looking to translate its high volume of customer reviews. Starting with machine translation allows specially trained translators to spend their time simply editing and fine-tuning content for accuracy and cultural sensitivity instead of starting with a raw document. Therefore, including machine translation in the process allows translators to provide the same quality of content in a fraction of the time and cost. Machine translation can be trained for an individual industry or specific company so that it correctly recognizes and translates brand names, terminology and slogans for even greater accuracy.

Translations must be done both quickly and accurately to be useful to customers. This is particularly pertinent to customer service departments working to enhance relationships by offering real time support across as many channels as possible. Given that the customer service landscape is so dynamic, companies often need to have multilingual service agents to keep up. 

However, inbound web forums, email support, live chat and many other real-time customer support inquiries can be managed much more effectively using machine translation, as it allows customers and service agents to communicate in their native language in real time. This enables businesses to have significant flexibility with how and where they staff customer support teams for a much more strategic approach.

Eavesdropping, at a Global Scale

Another way machine translation can be utilized to improve the experience is listening to their online conversations, regardless of language. Customers all around the world are constantly generating content in the form of user reviews on e-commerce sites and comments on blogs, forums and many other outlets. This user-generated content provides powerful information that can enable brands to significantly improve customer experience. However, it is often very fluid and therefore rarely translated. Don’t miss this opportunity. A machine translation of the content may not be perfect, but it serves the purpose of gathering this valuable information to incorporate into products, approaches and future customer engagements.

Global organizations’ ability to communicate effectively with customers and present a streamlined brand experience also hinges on employees’ ability to communicate seamlessly. Consider how machine translation can benefit organizations internally. Because of the time-sensitivity inherent to internal collaboration, machine translation can provide a comprehensible translation that will transcend language barriers among employees. 

Using machine translation to enable multilingual information sharing across a business will drive innovation between teams and allow employees to work better and faster. When employees are better aligned, they can better collaborate to help deliver improved customer experiences. And as companies’ customer bases continue to diversify across locations, languages and cultures, machine translation will be an essential tool to have and use effectively.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  sari_dennise