A report published by the OECD warns that businesses without a language strategy risk losing contracts.

The report found that SMEs lost a large amount of business because of poor language skills.

Here are the sobering statistics:

  • 11% of respondents said that their businesses lost contracts due to a lack of language skills.
  • Contracts worth between €8 million and €13.5 million were lost by 37 businesses.
  • 54 businesses missed potential contracts worth between €16.5 million and €25.3 million.

Here’s the good news:

SMEs with a language strategy achieve 44% more export sales than those without one.

Proof, if it was needed, that translation and interpreting services really can add to your bottom line.

An explosion of languages

“English was long the dominant language of the Internet, but that is changing. There are now over 250 languages represented on the Internet, with English, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish making up the top five.” states the report.

Mandarin now is the most widely spoken language in the world, followed by English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French. The relative number of English native speakers is decreasing whereas Spanish, Hindi and Arabic are on the up.

Professional translation services

It’s no longer enough to have your website only in English and hope overseas buyers will be happy to translate it themselves. Hoping that Google Translate will make all your finely tuned selling points clear isn’t an option either. At best, machine translation – like Google Translate and Babelfish – is 49% accurate; this is acceptable for a short letter but useless on a whole website.

That’s why we only ever use professional human translators and interpreters, who can understand the nuance and context of your documents.

To find out how our translation and interpreting services can help you improve your export sales, contact us today.