无论你的公司翻译的是网站、营销资料还是针对全球市场的产品说明书，传达的信息都应该是容易理解的。 也就是说不仅要语法和拼写正确，还要行文流畅、没有歧义。 还必须符合当地文化风俗、当地人的期望、商业惯例和法律。 更广泛地看待国际营销这个问题，则产品名不应该像产自伊朗的呕吐牌清洁剂或德国产的“HyperSTD”（一款帮助技术写作员检查文本是否与简明技术德语一致的软件工具，但是STD同时也是性传播疾病 Sexually Transmitted Disease 的缩写,HyperSTD就成了“超级性病”）那样让人贻笑大方。
这还只是最基本的要求。 如果你真想表现卓越呢？ 让我们将翻译需求提升到客户真正期望的高度，当他们在网络上和你交互时，他们想要一次能够回答他们的问题、满足他们的需求、并吸引他们再次访问这个网站的体验。 不仅仅是客户会有更高的质量需求，供应链上的生意伙伴、公司内部的职员也如此。 你不希望浪费任何人的时间，你亦知道在网络上每个人都有太多可以替代的选择。
你提供给客户的体验——以及你想要销售的产品——应该看起来、尝起来、感觉起来就像是用当地语言为当地市场量身定做的。 有些产品类别需要本地感觉少一些，有些需要本地感觉多一些。 这要视产品而定。
简而言之，没有什么可以阻拦国际用户理解你想要表达的内容。 相反，如果你方法得当，语言可以成为你进入一个全新市场的竞争优势。 如果你是一位营销经理，这种优势会对你有什么影响呢？ 每次推出新产品你都需要估算时间和预算以确保在产品推介和网站更新的时候，有说服力的译文会在每个市场上出现。
这种效果是有成本的，因此你必须为公司的网站上的、支持资料例如在线的营销广告、在线的产品目录、印刷的营销广告和产品目录册、技术手册中的和任何贵公司发行的操作步骤中基本的准确水平和营销效力作出预算。 在这场多语言沟通的挑战面前，你并不孤单。 随着你的业务扩展到国外或针对国内群体，如美国的拉美人或者爱尔兰的极地人时，公司内供应链管理、采购管理和人力资源管理等部门的同事都会面临同样的需求。 从他们的经验中学习，利用他们使用的工具和供应商，尽可能地集中预算以获得更多的购买影响力。
如果你和大多数的业务经理一样，你肯定不太考虑翻译或市场适应性的问题，因为那只是响应进入某个市场的决策时“碰巧发生的事”。 当CEO或者董事会告知你今年你要进入这十个国家时，有人会被选为代表来实现这个计划。 实际上，这个人会将工作外包给一个外部机构，这些机构提供各种语言服务，例如翻译、桌面排版、网站过程管理和当地商务习惯适应性。
有些公司的翻译工作就是黑盒操作，根本没有内部审查。 聪明的公司雇佣了审查员跟踪整个内容生命周期，以确保翻译的信息是准确的并且可以理解。 你的工作就是确保这个更有根据的审查实现。 毕竟，利益攸关的是你的品牌，不是别人的。
这个工作有多重要？ 试想你站在语言鸿沟的另一边。 德国、日本甚至英国的公司要访问为美国市场打造的网站。 去了解这些公司还有它们的产品。 只有从国外客户的角度出发你才能够真正理解你的潜在客户对你公司网站的期望。
Don DePalma 是研究和咨询公司Common Sense Advisory的创始人和分析师，也是商业国际化最好的书之一业无国界：全球营销战略指导》的作者。
Translation as a Competitive Advantage
Marketing 101 tells us that the language you use to touch prospects should be clear and to the point, and compel them to act on your offer. These requirements don't change when you're marketing outside your own country.
Whether your company translates Web sites, marketing materials or owner's manuals for international markets, the information should be readily comprehensible. That means it should be grammatically correct, spell-checked, unambiguous and fluent. It should be tailored to local cultural mores, expectations, business practices and laws. Looking at the question of international marketing more broadly, product names shouldn't send adults giggling into the sunset like Barf detergent from Iran or HyperSTD from Germany.
That's merely the ante. What if you really want to excel? Let's ratchet up the translation requirement to what consumers really expect in their interactions with you on the Web—they want an experience that answers their questions, meets their needs and keeps them coming back. This demand for more quality goes beyond customers to business partners in your supply chain and employees inside your company. You don't want to waste anyone's time, and you know that everyone has a wealth of alternative choices online.
The experience that you offer customers—and the products that you want to sell—should look, taste and feel like they were created for that market, in the local language. Some product categories require less local feel, others more. It depends on the product.
In short, nothing should prevent the international reader from understanding what you want to communicate. Rather, if you do it right, language could be a competitive advantage as you enter new markets. How does this affect you as a marketing executive? You need to budget both time and money into every market launch to make sure that rhetorically effective translations show up for each market in time for product introductions and Web site refreshes.
This fluency comes at a cost, so you need to budget for this base level of accuracy and marketing effectiveness at your website, and in supporting material like marketing broadsheets, product catalogues online and offline, technical manuals and in any operational procedures that you publish. You won't be alone in this multilingual communication challenge. Your colleagues who manage your supply chain, procurement, and internal applications like human resources face the same requirements as your business expands internationally or targets domestic communities such as Latinos in the United States or Poles in Ireland. Learn from their experiences, employ the tools and suppliers they may be using, and pool your budgets wherever you can for more buying leverage.
If you're like most business managers, you don't think about translation or market adaptation very much because it's something that "just sort of happens" in response to a decision to enter a market. When the CEO or the board says that you'll enter these 10 countries this year, somebody gets delegated to make that happen. This person will typically outsource the work to external agencies that provide a variety of language services such as translation, desktop publishing, Web site process management and adaptation to local business practices.
Some companies have their translation work done in a black-box sort of way, with little internal review. Smarter firms involve reviewers all along the content life cycle to make sure that the translated information is accurate and on brand. Your job is to make sure that this more informed review happens. After all, it's only your brand that is at stake.
How big a job is this? Place yourself on the other side of the linguistic divide. Visit sites aimed at the U.S. market by firms in Germany, Japan and even England. Learn about the companies and what they offer. Only by putting yourself in the shoes of a foreign consumer can you truly understand what your prospects will expect of your site.
Don DePalma is the founder and chief research officer of the research and consulting firm Common Sense Advisory, and author of the premier book on business globalization "Business Without Borders: A Strategic Guide to Global Marketing."