German Translation Face the FutureWhy should you bother getting anything translated?  It’s expensive, isn’t it, and it doesn’t matter because most people understand English nowadays, don’t they? Who really needs this stuff?

All good, and fair, questions.  In the Covid-crisis world in which we live, companies have to make vital decisions about where to spend their money. Getting this right is probably the single biggest challenge facing business today. It is only too easy to forget a key area, something that really does make a difference, and I’m afraid that only too often translation is one of those overlooked areas.

Cutting costs will, of course, be necessary for many firms. However, that on its own will be insufficient: business needs to try and grow, and that requires judicious investment at the right time and in the right places. Many companies are looking to new markets (especially with Brexit), often further afield than they ever considered before.  Even those who only market to the UK might pause and recalibrate. I wrote last week  of the importance of translation in getting messages about lockdown to BAME UK audiences whose first language is not English and if you want to reach these people then it may well be that you need to use Gujarati, Punjabi or a similar language.

In addition, there are a number of key sectors where the language industry has seen major growth in the last decade (in which time it has doubled in size – an indication that industry and commerce are wakening up to the importance of communication in their customers’ languages).  A recent article from GALA (Globalisation and Localisation Association) lists ten specific areas where firms have especially benefited from using professional language companies. These are:

Market Research:

This should be obvious really.  If you want to understand customers/consumers’ needs then don’t omit a sizeable chunk of your (potential) audience.

Banking, Finance & Insurance:

Money, as we know, makes the world go round.  But not if the world can’t understand what it’s saying!


Made in Britain and Hecho en Gran Bretaña.  Here, we believe, there is one of the biggest opportunities, especially as manufacturing seeks new markets overseas post-Brexit.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Medical:

If you’re looking for the growth area for the next year at least, here it is!  Interpreting is also very important here: if the doctor can’t understand the patient (and vice versa) then we have a problem.  And if we get a vaccine, its instructions must be translated far and wide…

Retail, Consumer and e-commerce:

Many might think retail is not in a good place and they would, in general terms, be right, but that ignores the fact that thousands of retail/consumer businesses are working VERY hard to offer new services and find new markets.  Some of those markets will speak different languages…

Leisure & Tourism:

Like Retail, this is a sector that is clearly having problems just now. But this means leisure/tourism businesses are striving harder to keep existing customers by offering exceptional service and visitor experiences. This is a very strong area for Global Connects, as demonstrated by our work for Historic Environment Scotland.


This is another obvious one.  Just remind yourself what happened when Vauxhall called a car “Nova” without realising that this means “doesn’t go” in Spanish.

Education and Training:

If there is one thing the Covid crisis has done it’s to dramatically increase the amount of online and blended (classroom and online) learning. Also, with international business travel now heavily restricted, now is the time to speak to your colleagues overseas in their own language and make them feel (even more) wanted.


Global Connects has the contract for the Police Scotland and Courts, so this is an area in which we are extremely well versed.  Justice needs to be seen and heard to be done, no matter what languages defendants and prosecutors speak and write.


Another area where we see huge potential.  For example, with the UK’s new immigration regulations creating a level playing field for jobseekers from around the world and massive skills shortages in many IT disciplines, the firms that can communicate in the languages of overseas software engineers are going to be at a distinct advantage. And if you’re trying to sell your alternative to Call of Duty abroad, then you’d better make sure you get it translated properly!If you’d like advice on any of these (or any other) areas, get in touch with me and I’ll be pleased to help.

Fiona Woodford, Global Connects