What kind of revenue loss are we taking about? Generally it includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Lost business opportunities
- Loss of customers
- Fines and penalties for non-compliance
And, in case you think these kinds of losses are trivial or the impact on revenue is irrelevant, read the following article: Translation errors in the technology, business & marketing space
(You can also search for “the cost of translation errors” to find many more examples.)
Now, many folks reading this article will be thinking, “Yeah, well, you’ll always get a certain caliber of dufus that totals the Lamborghini right out of the showroom!” Fact is, revenue lost to translation errors happens far more often than we realize. Here are the results of an influential translation industry study done a number of years back:
Translation errors cause lost revenue in 80% of global firms (Source: SDL International Survey)
I’m sure you’d agree with me that global firms are hardly staffed with…dufuses. Quite the contrary, these firms have some of the brightest people that money can buy on their payroll.
So, what gives?
Based on 2 decades PLUS experience delivering professional Japanese translation services from Japan, Tokyo dealing with global firms I have some ideas as to the root cause of this malaise:
- Lack of a coherent translation strategy
- Poor project management
- Excessive focus on cost cutting
- Unqualified personnel
All translation projects that bleed money -lose revenue- can attribute the root cause to one or more of the above. Fortunately, no English Japanese translation project need ever lose money for something as mundane as…translation errors.
The secret is realizing that translation can NEVER be an after thought to some other process -- It is a standalone process in its own right. And, just as you would not cut corners on any of the points above on a process such as, for example, manufacturing, so should you not take the back route on the translation process either.