Upwords' CEO Mário Rodrigues, In No Uncertain Terms

Nothing should be lost in translation, according to Upwords' CEO

Mário Rodrigues, the CEO at IPBN member company Upwords welcomed those in attendance at his Master Class, "How the Linguistic Experience Can Boost Internalization" on Thursday, February 10, and introduced his company as a language service provider with 20 years in the market and over 900 native specialized translators that specialize in the language of each sector in 121 different languages. The company works with both human and machine translation to deliver top-quality translations, using localization strategies to adapt to the local target market, providing a deeper approach to translation services than, say, google translate or others. 

Mário began his presentation by telling attendees that according to the Common Sense Advisory, 78% of consumers do not make important purchasing decisions if the product or service description is not available in their native language. This means that translation drives revenue and fuels international business expansion by getting your message to your target customers and geographies and helps the client to get closer to the brand. Common linguistic pitfalls, especially online, stems from a lack of strategy. Mário recommends opting to translate your site to English first (if English is not your first language), as English is seen as a more neutral version that can be more easily translated into other languages in a more consistent way. He added that having a structured style guide and glossary with key terms for each business increases consistency and quality for all future translations and assures that your core message is properly delivered. 

In terms of your website, Mário says that making sure the website platform you select can support different languages will help you access your target market by region and territory. He also recommends localizing currencies, number and date formats, and representing the language options with the name of the language, not a flag icon. He says, “These things will help you have a better customer experience and also…a higher selling potential if you do this right.” 

Continuing on the subject of social media and digital content, Mário stressed the importance of having a version both in English and at least one other language when communicating on social media and sharing video content with subtitles. This will help you in planning your message to your target markets, by location, and will allow you to develop a better hashtag strategy while adhering to character limit regulations if applicable to the platform. 

When it comes to corporate communications like brochures, presentations, or other materials, it’s paramount to have the translations carried out by a professional and not a friend or colleague. This is to promote a good reinforcement of the company’s image that will help, in Mário’s words, “fuel growth and brand recognition.” English speakers living in Lisbon can attest that it’s possible to make a brand memorable through sloppy translation, but is that the image you want your company to project? He underlined the importance of spending at the beginning, not at the end of your project. He says, “The price of failing to produce quality translations is significantly steeper than performing the translations appropriately at the outset. The best way to prevent costly translation errors is to have your documents translated by an ISO-certifies LSP.”

To conclude, Mário described a particular client who came to the company after having fallen prey to the pitfalls of bad translation. The company suffered losses due to the myriad translation mistakes on their campaigns and sought Upwords out for help to rectify the damage done. After some serious heavy lifting and a total audit, the company was able to see a return of 2.3 million Euros in new investment from their targeted regions after launching the cleaned-up campaign, representing a percentage of 4500% in the translation’s ROI. Now that’s a number anyone can understand and appreciate!