Regarding our last post, Internationalisation: Taking Action, today we will focus on the spoken side of the language requirements that may come up during this process, that is, interpreting.
Thanks to the interpreter’s work, the hard task of internationalising a company in a non-English speaking country may be smoother, as we are guaranteed a fluid communication despite not having a good command of the target country’s language. We all know about the importance of communication in every field of life, even more in a marketing field where exportation is desired.
Apart from all the written documentation that will need translation during this process, interpreting, i.e. spoken translation, plays a significant role in spoken communications carried out during the internationalisation process. We can’t forget that, thanks to the Internet revolution, many communications could be carried out via e-mail; however, there will always be topics and situations that would require a human presence, whether it is by phone, by videoconference or a physical presence in the country we wish to do business.
We must take into account then, that the interpreter will appear after studying whether the project is viable or not, therefore, when entering a foreign market.
As we mentioned in our previous post, the most common ways to enter a foreign market are business cooperation and direct investment.
Focusing on the former, if we would like to set up links or alliances with businesses in the outbound market we would need to get in touch with a local seller, or with a local representative in the country. This is the first time we would need an interpreter.
This relationship could start via email, strengthened through phone calls to get into detail and avoid misunderstandings from written correspondence. Currently we have technologies by which these phone calls can be made in two different languages simultaneously, i.e. as if it were a meeting where all the participants, including the interpreter, are present. Quite handy, don’t you think?
In addition, if we prefer to have a first face-to-face meeting to know better our future representative, we can have interpretations via a videoconference: it would be something similar to a Skype videochat with our representative, but, in this case, with the help of an interpreter translating simultaneously the whole conversation for both parties. Again, thanks to new technologies, we are able to organise a “virtual business meeting”, with all the advantages related to it.
On the contrary, if we choose a direct investment, i.e. setting up a manufacturing site, a subsidiary, or commercial centres in the target country, the interpreter will play an important role from an early stage. In the case of setting up a subsidiary abroad, in order to carry out all the required formalities without intermediaries we should contact different bodies and companies (the council to obtain permits, the tax office to register the company in the target country, banks, real estates to get your premises, a painter to prepare them… Hundreds of requirements!
Those formalities would be ideally carried out by people from our mother company travelling to the target country and communicating in that country’s language, however, as that is not always the case, if we would like to avoid fatal mistakes such as having a baby clothes shop painted in black, trying the tax office employee’s patience or having an incomprehensible shop sign, the interpreter could go with the people requiring their services anywhere and any time, easily managing with those little difficult tasks that come up once we set up a business in a new country.
Apart from choosing any of these two perspectives, we may want to attend trade fairs and conferences related to our industry where products similar to ours may be exhibited. This is a great moment to both networking and getting first-hand information about our industry in the target country: what is being already offered, what works well, what is missing… A trade fair is a great occasion to get all the necessary knowledge in a short period of time and a small space. Once again, the interpreter would become “our voice” at all times, interpreting speeches, conversations, etc., in other words, ensuring communication.
Once our business is finally set up in the target country, we obviously need to keep in touch with our foreign branch by having meetings and other events. Don’t forget that we can use the new technologies to cut on expenses and meet up with the branch managers via videoconferences or phone calls, with the interpreter in case they don’t speak our language.
As you can see, during the process towards internationalisation there are many details to be taken into account, but, luckily, we can count on foreign trade and language experts that can make this process much easier, so our only concern is what we really know: our own business.