The need to communicate in other languages

One of the many challenges you will face in international markets is dealing with the different languages you will encounter across the world. Fortunately, English is the ‘linga franca’ of the export world, but nevertheless, you are likely to come across potential customers that simply do not speak English and somehow you may need communicate with them. Alternatively, you may receive a communication from an overseas customer written in German or Spanish or Chinese. You could ignore it, but with a bit of effort you can have the communication translated and a reply set up in the target language and you can be assured that potential customer will be very impressed with your seriousness to do business. Of course, you wouldn’t take this effort just with every customer.

You would only do so with reputable firms, so the first thing you would do is check the website of the firm communicating with you – if it appears that they are a substantial concern, then perhaps it is worth taking the effort to translate the communication. If it is a small firm or they simply don’t have a website, then perhaps you should think twice.

Online translation services

In this section we provide you with links to online translation services. Good luck!

  • Babel Fish – Babel Fish was one of the first online translators available on the web and has survivied until today. It is a decent facility that is quick and easy to use. It enables you to translate text and web sutes (but not e-mails apparently). Give it a try!
  • – A nice, pleasant, easy-to-use site that offers text, e-mail and multimedia translations. One of the premier translation sites.
  • Prompt – Prompt is another online service that you can use to translate text, web pages and e-mails. It only covers seven languages though (English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese and Italian). There are also software products for sale. Registration is available – for free – to access more advanced features. Worth a try!
  • – A basic online text translator and little more.
  • Word2Word’s list of online translators – A nice collection of online translators out of the mainstream. If you’re looking for a way-out language, this list may cover it.
  • TravLang – Like the name says, this service is aimed more at the traveller, but offers similar services to all the other online translators.
    Translation Agency – Offer free website translation and free translation services

There may come a time when you need to look up just a single word or short phrase (in English or in any other language). For this, a dictionary is likely to suffice. What is more, the translators referred to above, only work for a limited number of major languages, but what about Hindi, Indonesian or Korea. Most of the languages in the world are covered by the dictionaries provided below. Browse through them to find the one best suited to your needs.

  • – More than 280 dictionaries, supported by glossaries, language courses, and other features.
  • – A simple service focusing on French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
  • – A dictionary with plenty of additional facilities.
  • Word2Word – 201 languages listed!

    Human translators

While online translation services are useful and have a role to play in exporting, if you require a professional translation of a document for contractual or legal purposes, the best route is to use a human translation service. There are many translators available throughout the world.

  • Click2translate – A US-based service. Click to send them the file to be translated. They will send you a quote and if accepted, you pay, they translate and voila!
  • World Lingo – Another US-based service that provides translations in 141 languages – beat that if you can. They make use of translators around the world.
  • SDLTrados – Access a list of translators around the world according to subject, country or language.
  • Immigration-USA – Provides a list of human translators. May be worth a try?
    Additional links
What should you be paying?