One of the industries that we have worked with closely over the years here at COMUNICA is the security sector. This is an interesting industry when it comes to translation as it often involves working across language barriers and involves multiple different text types – from sales and marketing scripts to technical instructions and user manuals.
This month on the blog, we thought we would share some of our experiences working within this exciting industry and discuss some key things you should consider if you represent a security sector company considering translation.
The Importance of Security Sector Translations
One of the main reasons to consider translation within the security sector is the fact that the most lucrative markets for security companies are often second-home areas where multiple languages are spoken.
Take Spain’s Costa del Sol, for example, which is a popular holiday-home area among people all over Europe.
In a single neighbourhood you might find speakers of English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Spanish, German and other languages all in the one area – and not all of them will necessarily understand or feel comfortable doing business in either English or Spanish.
These second home owners are often away from their properties over extended periods of time – perhaps the entire winter, or in exceptional cases like the pandemic, maybe even for several years. This means that peace of mind is paramount.
But peace of mind comes not just from knowing that there is a security company keeping an eye on your property, but also from how this company communicates and makes its presence felt.
When it comes to something as sensitive as home security, customers want to understand everything instantaneously and unambiguously.
Any hinders to communication will increase anxiety and undermine that sense of reassurance which is so crucial to the end product.
Clear and concise communication in a familiar language is therefore a core part of the service offering.
What’s more, speaking your customers’ language also makes it much easier to grab their attention in the first place and convince them of the need for a security company and the advantages of selecting your company over the competition.
Things to Consider for Security Sector Translations
Because the security sector is so broad and multi-faceted, there is a number of things which are important to consider when beginning a translation collaboration.
Below are some key considerations based on our own experience translating for this industry.
Technical Vs. General Texts
One characteristic of the security sector is that the language they speak straddles the line between catchy and sales-oriented on the one hand, and technical and jargon-laden on the other.
Certain texts require a great deal of technical knowledge while others call for a bit more creative flair and focus on the hook.
Many texts require the combination of both skill sets – for example, explanatory texts in brochures or on websites which serve both to communicate the ins and outs of security procedures or the functioning of equipment while also clarifying doubts and encouraging readers to move further in the customer journey.
For this reason, translation agencies are often better poised than individual freelancers for security sector translations as they collaborate with various specialists and can build glossaries of terminology. This means they can handpick translators depending on whether the text is technical or creative and strike the right balance between, for example, using acronyms and jargonistic language in internal documents and more user-friendly alternatives in customer-facing texts.
Consistency is Key
Another defining characteristic of the security sector is the many different terms and abbreviations they use – from Alarm Receiving Centre or ARC to the names of different alarms and pieces of equipment. For customers who are contracting a security company for the first time, this multitude of terms can seem like something of a tangled web and it doesn’t help if the same words are not used consistently.
That is why it is important to choose a translation agency that can guarantee precise and consistent translations. This often means using a translation aid or CAT tool with a term base function so that all linguists working on the account have a shared list of common terms to use across all jobs.
For the same reason, it is a good idea to develop a relationship with one translation agency rather than to regularly shop around for a better deal. Working across multiple agencies means it is impossible for translators to coordinate and ensure that your key terms are always uniform and consistent.
Localisation and Cultural Sensitivities
The way we think about security and how we respond to conversations about potential threats is something that can vary from culture to culture. In certain languages, it might feel natural to be very direct while in others the language might need to be better couched.
This is especially important to consider when it comes to marketing texts and texts designed to canvass for sales such as telemarketing or doorstep scripts.
For this reason, it is a good idea to work with an agency with knowledge and expertise within the art of localisation rather than going for a more direct form of translation which offers word-for-word renderings of the original text, even when this might come off as overly direct or inappropriate in the target language.
Other aspects of your text which might require localisation can include degrees centigrade or Fahrenheit, currencies, distances, phone numbers, email addresses, and more. Taking care to get these small details right translates into a more practical and convenient text for your end users.
Many Years of Experience with Security Sector Translations
Here at COMUNICA, we have been working with clients within the security sector for many years now and we know what things need to be considered when providing translation solutions for this industry.
If you are a security company in search of a new translation partner or a localisation solution, feel free to get in touch for a commitment-free quote or chat.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you!