Opinion#Maddy101
Read time: 03'00''
21 March 2022
Unsplash © Andrew Butler

Expand your website for an international presence with Smylingua

Landing on a badly translated website or product page can make many clients run away. Melanie Krause, a lover of languages, built Smylingua to be an agency that mixes software and linguistics to ensure targeted and true translations.

Just in Europe, cross-border business has increased to 95 billion euros in 2018, or 22% of the total online sales made in the region according to a study done by Cross-Border Commerce Europe. At the worldwide level, the numbers are identical. The exchange of international goods and services contribute to 30% of the world GDP compared to just 23% at the beginning of the 2000s, according to an analysis from the World Bank. The new agreements developed within the European Union and throughout the world should just continue to boost these numbers.

Let’s also remember that just in 2019, 25% of internet users spoke English, a little less than 20% spoke Chinese, and only 3% spoke French (Internetworldstats). These calculations make it easy to understand that having a multilingual website is a major advantage for developing business in different markets.

However, choosing to use a machine translation tool like DeepL, Google translation or even Linguee is a risky bet. Simply proofreading these translations shows that it isn’t quite Shakespeare material, let alone easy enough for an algorithm to read. According to Melanie Krause, between 55% and 85% of translation mistakes would still remain even after proofreading.

Being multilingual herself, the founder of Smylingua understands the complexity of languages and the choice of “the right word in the right context.” To offer a turnkey solution for translation and communication, her method intertwines the digital and human world.

Human expertise, even more indispensable

Smylingua uses the latest technology available like Machine translation post editing and Neural Machine translation to establish a first translation base that will then be “reworked by one of the 300 linguists or experienced native translators” that the agency works with. Even with her excellent understanding of French, she “would never translate or proofread a text into French, and only ever works into German,” the subtleties of language and culture being too complex to assess for a non-native.

A second issue is added to this first: knowing how to find a translator who is “specialised in the client’s sector such as sports, marketing or entrepreneurship.” In any case, a “large part of the work is done beforehand on the glossary,” so that the chosen words work perfectly in the context. The agency also works with the software SDL Trados Studio which allows the translator to save parts of the translations in a memory. This memory is then reused for other translation work, without needing to be proofread again. It’s a method that helps save time.

Tailor-made global communication

To adapt her solution and offer “a tailor-made experience,” Melanie Krause “builds off client feedback.” Today, having a website isn’t enough, “business managers want more than a simple translation, they really want the text and the content to be adapted to their market,” explains the entrepreneur. Depending on the project, a small team is created to maximise skills in marketing, SEO, or social media. The agency then becomes a sort of “communication counsellor” explains Melanie Krause.

In these cases, Smylingua offers a genuine content strategy that includes translations for apps, chatbots, ebooks, blogs, etc. with preliminary analyses of the targets for each acquisition channel and for each country. Audits, translations of conferences or videos can also be done. Quotes are done in less than 24 hours and the simplest translations can be sent back within 48 hours.

A marketplace for making translation more accessible

The agency is getting ready to launch a marketplace “that will be completely compatible with what we offer now” explains Melanie Krause. It will directly put businesses that prefer to not be accompanied in the translation process but still want to benefit from quick translations in contact with translators. They just need to create an account to be able to choose the professional who falls in line with their needs.

“The linguists present on the platform are verified beforehand to ensure the same quality that we offer now,” Melanie Krause underlines. The extra glossary analysis and choosing a provider specialised in the client’s sector are not included in this service.

“This service reduces costs, but it is uniquely adapted for internal documents for example, we strongly recommend against using it for a legal or marketing text,” confides Melanie Krause.

Since its launch in 2017, Smylingua has already conquered several businesses in France and in Europe and has claimed a satisfaction rate of 98%.