The challenges of auto language translation

My export attempts to date have been successful in the US, Canada and with UK expats living in Spain. I am now working on France and will shortly start on Germany; my research shows that there should be some demand and, most importantly, I have access to a fluent French and German speaker – for 99% of the time.

For the 1% of the time they were not available, I use auto translation, which has its challenges. In French I can just about work out if the translation is accurate; I wanted to say “Thank you for your order” which translated as “Thank you for your command” which is not quite what I meant. I settled on “Thank you for your payment” which translated ok. I could not manage any of this in German.

If you are trying to sell abroad it makes sense to at least try and manage part of the transaction in your customer’s language. I know most of the commercial world speaks English, but I deal with small businesses and fluency in English may not always be the case.

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