The world has shrunk in terms of both travel and communication; in just 30 years, we went from analogue telephone to digital audio and video in real time, and using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), it is now possible to have a video conference with someone on the other side of the world. This changes the business arena and opens up the entire world to you, yet negotiating strange cultures and languages isn’t easy, and with that in mind, here are a few aspects of doing business with foreign companies to bear in mind.
- Language – Of course, language is a major issue (not all people are fluent in English) and with a leading provider such as Global Citizen Translation, you are covered, regardless of the language pair you need. They cover more than 500 language pairs and use professional translators who are industry certified, which really does remove that huge language barrier. Once you are registered, you can login at any time and instantly order a translation service, which empowers you in so many ways. It doesn’t matter what format your translation uses, the global translation company works across all platforms, whether in real-time or not. You might, for example, require your brochure translated into Vietnamese; something for the translation company, or you may wish to create a PowerPoint presentation in Russian, whatever your translation needs, there is a provider.
- Culture – This is something that can cause serious issues, misunderstandings with language doesn’t help, especially when you are dealing with a third-world country, where a gesture you use daily would be construed as meaning something else entirely! If you are planning to do business with a Vietnamese company, for example, do some online research and never mention the war! Time spent researching a culture and country will pay dividends in the business arena and always be respectful of others’ beliefs. Some cultures prefer to take their time when entering into a business relationship, while others avoid conflict, so do study up on the culture prior to making contact. Some cultures will not enter into business discussions until they have had a couple of social encounters, and while this might be frustrating when you wish to get things moving, it is wise to go along with their way.
- Social Interaction – After a few video conferences, you might be planning a trip to visit the company’s facility and staying for a few days will involve your host showing you the sights in their country. Even when dining in a restaurant, you can still call on your translation partner, so your translation is not limited to strictly business. It is critical that you can communicate effectively in such a situation and it might be the difference between winning the contract or not. If you are the host, then the onus is on you to make your guest feel comfortable, but as a guest, let your host take the lead and spend an hour or two reading up on their history and culture. This will also make the experience that much more enjoyable and your host will no doubt be impressed with your knowledge of their customs, history and culture.
- Laws – When doing business with a foreign company, you need to be sure that you are compliant with their laws and regulations, especially when importing or exporting. You are advised to seek out legal counsel prior to entering into a business contract and let the expert take a look at the terms and conditions of the agreement. Here’s some further reading on international law, which is a good read.
- Time Difference – If you are planning to have a video conference with someone in a different time zone, etiquette demands that you change your routine to meet their preferred hours. This might mean having a virtual business meeting at 3am, on the other hand, if the other party is initiating the communication, then they would plan for your office hours. Irrespective of the time, you simply login to your business translation partner and they have the language pair you need and within minutes, your translator is connected to your video call.
While we pretty much have language translation covered, culture is something else entirely and you are recommended to do some online research into a country prior to making contact in a business environment. Each culture has its own unique set of business protocols and by gaining an insight into their culture, you are less likely to offend and will achieve your business goals.
If you are a global entrepreneur and you want the best translation services on demand, search with Google and you will find a leading global translation service that has all the solutions. Having translation services on demand allows you to explore any potential business relationship and the more you use the service, the less you pay.