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Localization in our World: Managing the Language of International Business Mergers and Acquisitions

Another day, another merger, another acquisition. Whether it is your company, your client’s company or your supplier’s company, it feels like international business is always shifting in some way or another. If you’ve been through a merger or acquisition in your own company, you know first hand how this can affect your business, your employees, and your bottom line. Let’s take a look at these areas in more detail and take a look at how language is a key factor in all of this.

We can start with the basics of what it means to merge or to acquire a business. It is not always transparent to the outside or inside world what is actually happening. A merger is a consolidation of 2 or more companies into a new entity. In mergers, generally a new company name is created as well as a new organizational structure. With an acquisition, there is a lead company that takes over another company and typically retains the same name of that company. Regardless of whether it is a merger or an acquisition, you are taking 2 or more companies, and with them all the cultural considerations, both company culture and the country culture of the enterprise.

What kinds of considerations should be made for mergers and acquisitions that cross international lines? You need to think about how the company culture is defined by the country culture of the companies that are being combined. How is your HR department organized? What has been the official HR language until this point in each of the entities?

There are many levels of employee engagement that need to be considered. We will start with the basics, the content for contracting and HR documents.You may have 2 companies, each with HR in the native language of their home HQ. It’s possible that they have already translated major contracts and documents into English as a common language, especially if they are doing any international recruiting. As you combine the HR function, you will want to take a look at redundancies in contracts and aligning language between the 2. It may make sense to adopt English as a common source language for these documents and then extend out to different languages, or to keep the source content in the native HQ language.

After the basics are taken care of as far as internal communications, you will want to consider what the approach will be for ongoing training and communication. Internal communication includes training and learning as well as memos about the merger/acquisition itself. The clearer you can be with your staff, the more settled they will feel. This includes giving them the details about future plans and changes in their preferred language to avoid misunderstandings.

Once you have determined your internal communication strategy, you can begin to think about your customers as well as your suppliers. Like internal employees, they are going to want clear communication in their language if possible. They will need to know if and how any of their working relationships might change as a result of the merger/acquisition and whether new contracts will be needed. Consider whether, due to your new organizational structure, you are able to service your clients or support your own suppliers more effectively and make sure to include this in your communication plan. Of course, if you are expanding the sales of your products internationally, you will need to localize the product, marketing and training as well. If you need help planning for an international merger or acquisition, contact LingPerfect Translations for a free quote.

Global Careers: Translation in the Legal Field

As specialists in legal translation, we at LingPerfect often get asked when translations are necessary and what matters in the legal field. This blog will focus on the various types of legal translations, the reason someone may need a specialized legal translation and the importance translation brings to the legal field.

What types of clients come to us looking for legal translations? This depends on the type of content they are working with. Legal translation encompasses several content types. The vast majority of legal translations that are done are contracts. With the rise in global business, we see contracts between businesses such as sales contracts, contracts with customers such as end-user license agreements (EULAs) and contracts with employees. The most important aspects of translating legal contracts are accuracy of terminology and adherence to local laws. Using terminology that doesn’t work in the target language or breaks regional laws will invalidate the intent of the contract and create loopholes and misunderstandings which are costly to your organization.

Outside of corporate translations, we also see customers who are coming from the legal field for other types of translations. Lawyers, paralegals and other legal support service companies are often required to translate the content of their lawsuits into the language of the participants in the lawsuit or of the country where the lawsuit will be served. There are protocols outlined in the Hague Service Convention (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hague_Service_Convention), which details the requirements for delivering, or serving, legal papers outside of the United States or between countries that are signatories. While translation is not a requirement according to the Hague Service Convention, it is left up to individual member countries, which generally require translating. The EU requires all content to be available in all member-country languages it impacts. This would include legal policies as well as information that may end up in courts.

Other than translating documents for contracts and for lawsuits, legal translators are offered in wraparound services for the legal community, including interpreting services and research in the form of discovery. Interpreters might be asked to participate in court proceedings or in depositions, or statements, made by individuals participating in those proceedings. The research done by legal teams, known as discovery, often includes materials that are written in a language other than English or need to be made available in another language. Legal teams often hire translators to help with the research or translating the findings. Looking for a supplier that specializes in legal translation will ensure that you will get the right translator for your content.

Are you looking for a supplier for legal translations or wraparound services? What are the  most important things to look for? If you are responsible to find a legal supplier, you will want to identify what kind of content you have and the purpose of translating. After you have found a supplier, you will want to let them know what you are looking for and ask for their experience in working with the content types you need, including the experience of the translators as well as important ISO process certification to ensure accuracy in translation and terminology. Ask your vendor to provide references and ask the references how the services worked for them. Maintain communication with your legal translation supplier and make sure someone on your team is available to answer questions the translators may have about your corporate terminology or legal intent, depending on your function. If you would like to discuss legal services provided by LingPerfect Translations, contact us here to get immediate assistance or request a quote.

Global Careers: Military and Government Localization

For a long time, the United States relied upon its citizens and the world to communicate in English. English was considered to be the Lingua Franca, or common language, for all things government. A lot has changed in the past 20 years. Geo-politically, we have a greater need to speak and understand languages other than English as a means of national security. Domestically, as the citizens and residents of the United States become more diverse, our government is recognizing the importance of communicating in languages other than English as well.

With the War on Terror, international disturbances around the world, and the growth of cyber crime, language ability has become a hot commodity in government and military work. Foreign language speakers are needed for interpreting, translating, and monitoring. The difference between interpreting and translating comes down to whether the individual is converting spoken words (interpreting) or written words (translating). Because there is more and more content being created all the time, the need for translation services in the government is growing. To offset the cost of human resources, the government also makes use of machine translation technology. Especially where communications are not critical or there are massive amounts of information being monitored, it would be impossible to translate it all without the use of technology. More critical information or information that is going to the general public, like DMV manuals or census information, is translated by humans who are able to communicate the nuances of language and are more accurate than a machine can ever be.

Does a career in interpretation or translation with the government interest you? What are the qualifications for a job in this field? Most importantly, you need to be fluent in two or more languages and have strong writing skills in each language. While there are no requirements for a degree or certification, it is beneficial to have a degree in translation, language, linguistics or political science. Certification through the American Translators Association is also not a requirement but can help in some circumstances. Some schools offer translation or interpreting courses or certificate programs and classes that cover specific types of translation, including medical, business or legal.

What if you want to work for the government and work with translation and localization and don’t speak another language? There are plenty of opportunities to work in this field as a project manager or operational role where translation, interpretation and localization services are outsourced. LingPerfect Translations works across US government organizations to provide content for websites, communications and regulations and the government employees we work with don’t necessarily speak these languages, rather, they manage the process. Other employees that work with translators in the government space are content writers, curriculum creators and data scientists.
Clearly, there are many opportunities to work with the government in the field of translation and localization. If this is a field that interests you, you might want to take a peek at the https://www.usajobs.gov/.

Localization in our World: Finance for International Business Owners and Investors

Running an international business is daunting. Adding in the financial aspect of international business is another layer of complexity. That said, there are some basic things to think about when it comes to finance for international business. Whether you are starting a new business with an eye toward global expansion, are in the process of acquiring or merging with a business or are an investor looking to invest internationally, you need to consider these often overlooked details.

Let’s start with an example of a business, a start-up, selling goods or services to customers. At its most basic level, this could be a single-person enterprise, making artisanal widgets. When they start up, they are likely looking at ways to transact and sell their artisanal widgets locally, using a currency of their country of origin, this could even be cash/check-only. Cash and check are by far the most restrictive in terms of global reach because a customer would need to have access to cash or a checking account in your currency.

Eventually, the artisanal widget maker will likely get set up on a credit card system, like Square or Paypal, to make it easier for payments to come in. At this point, it’s all about creating more access and the focus will be on domestic customers. Now, let’s say there is an opportunity to go to a trade conference in Germany and you will bring artisanal widgets to sell. Many assume that payment processing for credit cards would automatically be global, but for many, you are limited to taking payments in the country where you set up your account. In this case, you will need to research where you can take payments from or process payments differently, for example sending an invoice to the customer so they can enter their card details over a secure web connection.

Outside of the payment areas, the artisanal widget maker may translate or localize the product instructions, marketing or their website for the country where they will be selling their products. In this case, it is essential to work with someone who is skilled at global websites to identify not only common issues like international support for other languages or common mistakes like naming your artisanal widget something offensive/funny in another language, but other details that might get overlooked like how the widget pricing is displayed in the country. A skilled and experienced localization provider, like LingPerfect Translations, will support the international finance of your business. Some businesses opt to offer their products online via marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon. Each of the marketplaces serves a limited number of geographies and has its own way of calculating pricing for international and while some offer translation or localization. You should definitely get some advice from an experienced agency who uses real, human translators, as this will help maintain your brand voice and consistency.

Moving along to the next level of international finance, we have an opportunity for our North American Artisanal Widget Maker to be acquired by a European Artisanal Widget Maker. From a financial perspective, the buyer will want to start thinking early on about details. With fluctuations in currency, does it make sense to make an offer in dollars or euros? What are the risks and what kinds of caveates do you want to put in place for currency fluctuations? After the sale happens, there is an international alignment that needs to occur that touches all aspects of the companies’ products, branding (digital, social, hard-copy, etc), and HR. Potential international considerations would be where banking is done. Does it make sense to have separate operations for the European and American Artisanal Widget Makers or is it best to consolidate in one bank account in one country? Do you set product pricing in USD or Euro? When displaying on the website, are the prices hard-coded or are they dynamic according to the country of the viewer? Other financial concerns would be where to store and ship Artisanal Widgets and how import/export and country taxes are calculated. The final area we will address is HR. As you merge and grow, you will need to decide on whether to align salary and benefits and how taxes affect your employees. Ultimately, when it comes to the cost of adding new employees and where to place them, you will need to consider these variances which are based on currency exchange, local cost of living, and differences in income tax structures. We will address additional areas of international finance in future blog posts including taking a look at careers and various currencies including cryptocurrencies and how they may affect your international business.

As you can see, there are a lot of considerations when it comes to expanding or acquiring a business internationally. At LingPerfect Translations, we advise many businesses as they go along this path. Feel free to reach out about your international business plans and we will help you create your roadmap to global success.

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