The value of communicating in-language to global partners

Be it seeking investors, or cultivating a wider customer base, building trust through clear communication leads to more growth opportunities and higher conversion rates. In a highly connected and progressively world, the ability to communicate in multiple languages, with cultural context, is important for entrepreneurs and startups looking to grow their business.

What is the global appetite for Australian enterprise?

Australia saw a continued rise in venture capital funding between 1 July 2020 and 1 July 2021, to a record US$2.5bn, up from US$1.95bn in the previous year, according to the latest KPMG Venture Pulse report. The research reported a record 327 Australian VC investment deals over the financial year, up from 311 over the previous 12 months.

So we know the international appetite for Australian enterprise is there, and it’s growing at a rapid rate. To give you context, the Head of KPMG High Growth Ventures, Amanda Price has said that the investment environment for Australian high growth ventures has never been stronger – with VC firms continuing to attract and deploy capital at a record rate.

We just need to look at the likes of Canva, Atlassian and Envato to see the growth potential for Aussie enterprises following global investment and an increasing global customer base.

So what’s holding us back?

The perception that English is a universal business language is what’s holding owners back from investing in multicultural communications, and perhaps that’s what needs to change.

Speaking in-language not only opens up opportunities, but when done authentically by demonstrating an understanding and consideration for cultural sensitivities and etiquette, business owners will continue on to build deep trust in the brand and its people.

Additionally, speaking in-language is an investment above and beyond what businesses are prioritising, especially for startups, when capacity is stretched, budgets are tight and bootstrapping is essential. When looking to scale, especially when seeking investment, business owners are discussing a lot of sensitive information, using very nuanced language.

When a business is your baby, entrepreneurs and business owners are close to the information they’re offering, but conveying this to others, especially when English may not be a first language, can be challenging and ensuring what is communicated is accurate, is vital.

What must you keep in mind as you plot expansion?

One of the key things when pitching or communicating to raise capital is to know your audience. And yet, it is surprising how few Australian business owners seeking international investment really understand how to communicate with their target investors.

Too often, businesses are applying communications at a language level, when they should also be equipping themselves to communicate in a culturally-courteous  way.

And so, it’s imperative for any businesses seeking international investment to be mindful that communication should be a culmination not only of language, but also of context and culture. Harnessing the right support from translators who have both the language and lived experience, working in industry, can improve the efficacy of your selling points significantly.

What is in-language communication?

Many entrepreneurs lack the know-how to communicate in languages other than English, despite the desire to go global. With so many discussions and negotiations now happening digitally, the opportunities and options for in-language support are so much greater.

Multicultural communications for business have come a long way with negotiations happening on platforms like Telegram, Whatsapp, Zoom and of course email, along with a number of other platforms that enable us to communicate digitally, in-language.

In-language translations can also be deployed at the top of the funnel to drive awareness of projects; entrepreneurs can now invest in targeted search campaigns in key regions.

These things can be prepared and done in advance, with communications converted into multiple languages. Then, once conversations commence, the translation technology now exists to assist human translators to do their job faster and more accurately.

What are translation services like today?

5-10 years ago, translation services were very much human vs. machine. Now, it has evolved towards mastering a hybrid approach that leverages the processing power of machines and the nuances of communication that only native speakers would understand.

Neural machine translation is taking multicultural communications to a new level – the model is able to learn. These models can be created around brands, which helps put translations into context before a translator then tweaks the context and makes it more ‘human’.

The rise of blockchain, Metaverse and decentralisation means entrepreneurs may be exposed to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in unexpected ways, which requires them to remain culturally appropriate and responsive in spontaneous situations.

A strong understanding, and the application of, intercultural communications is therefore not just an asset, but a necessity as we look to navigate these digital and virtual spaces.

The growth potential for Australian businesses is immense, with the impact of inventions and innovations like the Metaverse or Web3, and the expansion of the global marketplace.

Now that technology is catching up, the opportunity for Australians to embrace internationalism as a construct and incorporate that as part of their whole capital-raising process and growth strategy is endless. In this exciting era of globalisation, the ability to do business is now borderless, and the future for Australian enterprise is bright.

 

Mark Saba is the Founder and CEO of multi-award-winning cloud-based translation, localisation and multicultural communications agency, LEXIGO. Committed to supporting businesses to reach, connect and engage with their audience in their native language, Mark drives the vision at LEXIGO with rich and longstanding experience in transformative technology, business and globalisation.