In this post, Ann-Carin Hahn-Koeding, Marketing Manager at imds professional, explains why high-quality translations are so important for business success.
imds professional helps automotive manufacturers and suppliers ensure that the materials they use comply with environmental requirements. The company provides training courses, consultancy and bespoke services for companies all over the world.
As a German-English translator, I have been working with Ann-Carin Hahn-Koeding, Marketing Manager at imds professional, since 2021. Although Ann-Carin speaks excellent English, she regularly asks me to proofread and edit marketing materials to make sure there are no linguistic errors and that the tone is appropriate and engaging. I think we have developed a great working relationship. I asked Ann-Carin a few questions to find out how she perceives working with a freelance translator.
Sarah: Why is it important for your business to ensure your website and marketing materials are translated into high-quality English?
Ann-Carin: We have established a reputation for being experts in our field and pride ourselves on providing quality services. A poorly translated website, email marketing etc. would completely undermine this message. We have all visited websites that are full of errors or sound very stilted and unnatural. This does not inspire much confidence. We know how important it is to work with native translators who make sure that our marketing materials sound really professional - just like our company name!
Sarah: Why did you decide to work directly with an individual translator rather than a translation agency?
Ann-Carin: We chose to work directly with you as a freelancer because we wanted to build a stronger partnership to ensure consistent quality. When working with translation agencies, it is not always possible to work with the same linguist. We have found that it is quicker and easier to discuss issues directly with you.
Sarah: Have you ever felt that because machine translation programmes like Google Translate are so good, there is no need to work with a translator?
Ann-Carin: No, I think it's really important to combine technology with human expertise. I usually run our marketing texts through a machine translation tool. This enables me to check certain details and reduce the time and cost of translation. However, I don't really trust machine-generated content. I'm afraid that an embarrassing mistake might creep in or the text will sound strange to native speakers, so I send you the text to review and refine.
I know that you use special translation software to match similar sections of text that have already been translated to ensure accuracy and consistency. This means that I can be confident that information such as our company details or course descriptions are always the same and correct.
But even more importantly, you edit the texts so that they sound more natural and convincing. For example, if I'm writing for German-speaking clients, I might use a particular phrase that works well in German but not in English. You often change the length of the sentences or use different expressions that will better attract the attention of our English-speaking clients.
Sarah: Is it possible to measure whether my translations have increased customer loyalty, e.g. through a higher email open rate, more enquiries, etc.?
Ann-Carin: It's hard to say, but I do think that clients appreciate correctly translated texts and that these also contribute to an overall professional image.
Sarah: What other benefits have you gained from working directly with me?
Ann-Carin: It's easy to ask you for advice when we need to publish English texts or make important announcements. I know I can rely on you to get our translations done on time, and you always charge us a fair price for the time you spend working on the texts.
I also appreciate you pointing out inconsistencies or ambiguities that we have missed. You have a very good eye for detail. I can rely on you to check certain terms. For example, I remember that we had translated PFAS chemicals as "eternal chemicals" and you investigated and found out that they are commonly called "forever chemicals".
I also enjoy practising my English with you via email. We have got to know each other well and I like the fact that we often talk about our family life, holidays, etc. This makes working together more fun and personal.
Sarah: I’m really happy to hear that you value our working relationship. I also appreciate working with you very much. I feel that I am part of your team and contribute to the success of your marketing efforts. That is very satisfying and rewarding from my perspective. So, one more quick question. Would you recommend working directly with a freelance translator?
Ann-Carin: I think it depends on the needs, but it is definitely working very well for us. Yes, I would recommend it.