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Translation at the Speed of Retail: What You Need to Know Today

In the world of retail, life moves fast.

Brochures, signage, point-of-sale materials—they come in, they go up, they come down, and they’re gone. With all that rushing about, there’s the constant risk that your message will be lost in translation—or, worse still, poorly translated into a message that offends.

Fortunately, we’ve got some deep insights into how to ensure translation in retail hits the mark every time—conveying not just the right message, but also helping build your brand everywhere you do business. Keep these four key points in mind when launching your next multilingual retail campaign.

1. Think big picture

When it comes to translating your content, reasonable pricing and short turnaround are of course important—but try to shift your focus away from price per word. It’s important to think about campaign costs holistically, knowing that high-quality translation that hits the mark, expresses your brand voice, and delights your customers has a tremendous value. Experienced translation managers also understand that low prices impede technological advances, expertise, and, more often than not, quality.

2. Trust comes first

Here’s one core business priority that’s often overlooked in the rush for low-cost translation: Confidentiality. As a retailer, you need to keep information about your products, pricing, inner workings, and challenges top-secret. When you supply your translation company with information, you’re not only trusting them to keep it safe—you’re also trusting the translators themselves to commit to confidentiality. Choose a reputable translation partner and keep your secrets secret.

3. Precision matters

In some places, consumer protection laws hold retailers responsible for the accuracy of their translations. This puts retailers in the position of having to keep a watchful eye on translation quality. Formalizing translation as a normal business function frees up your time and resources—and lowers your overall risk.

4. Compliance—for all the right reasons

Some countries enforce laws that require retailers to present information in local languages for consumers and employees. In Quebec, for example, companies with more than 100 employees must offer workplace materials in both English and French. But offering materials in your audience’s native language isn’t just about compliance: it’s also a way to show the local community that they matter to you.

Proactively providing multilingual content gives your company an opportunity to connect with people where they live, in their own language. Most consumers would pay more for a better customer experience—and when research shows that the vast majority of consumers would prefer to read product information in their own language (just because they can speak English doesn’t mean they want to), the availability of multilingual content becomes much more than a “nice to have”—it just may be one of the best sales tools you’ve got.


Ready to reap the rewards of engaging more consumers in more places? Lionbridge makes it easy to bring the highest quality, most precise, and most persuasive translation to your retail sales and marketing materials. Contact us to learn more about our people and technologies that make it possible.

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