October? Autumn has begun, tans are fading, and the team is back in the groove. An ideal time to take a step back and evaluate your company! English-language texts are crucial to any international business. White papers, job proposals, websites or LinkedIn profiles… And yet, many fall short, being littered with errors or read like awkward computer translations. Common assumptions that prevent companies from optimizing their potential include:
1. “We’ll do it eventually.” Procrastination is rampant. A common scenario: after months, if not years, devoted to developing a new website, panic sets in at the last minute because this beautiful, high-tech masterpiece needs words. The hard reality: expect a professional to devote at least three weeks to write or rewrite a website text! Writing is a creative process: powerful, fresh messages need to be crafted with a few, carefully selected words. The juxtaposition of words in headlines, buttons and calls-to-action should work visually and thematically and thus deserve individual attention. Search terms (SEO) should read naturally and be used with purpose, not slapped in at random in a vain attempt to fool Google. All of this takes time and should not be squeezed in as an afterthought while the launch champagne chills.
2. “Translation will rescue us.” Having paid a copywriter to write a text in your native language, surely an English translation will do? Think again. Translations take extensive work, often total revision, to create the strong, natural and persuasive text that you need to fulfil your marketing objectives.
3. “Should be good enough.” These companies update catch phrases, headers, buttons, and even LinkedIn profiles and blogs “on the go,” and often without bothering to verify spelling, grammar or the correct translation of terms. This carefree attitude results in errors that blatantly read “unprofessional” to anyone well-versed in English: including potential customers from France, China, Brazil, the Ukraine…or even the company next door.
4. “Our partners are native speakers” Surely our partners in the US, UK or Australia will copyedit our texts? They might. Or they may give them a glance, send a few general comments or even shrug them off with “it looks fine.” If you rely upon colleagues for editing, ensure that the task is assigned to someone who takes it seriously and who writes well. Indicate that you expect feedback and provide a specific, hard deadline. This type of task easily falls through the cracks because it lacks priority, leaving your valuable texts in a bottomless procrastination pit.
Does this sound familiar?! Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to the words that represent your company. They are much too valuable to be treated in a haphazard, amateurish manner. So, take the time now to examine the texts that are your company’s international calling card.
No time to do it yourself and curious how your company scores? Contact me for a quick, free and no-obligation assessment.