The Value of Translation for Enterprise Clients in South Africa

Are you looking to reach more clients with your marketing materials?

Are you trying to penetrate a market that speaks a language different from your primary language as a business? If so, have you figured a way to bridge the language barrier?

Have you considered the value of hiring a professional translation service to help you reach your target market with ease?

Imagine that your business has so far served an English-speaking community, but because of expansion, you now have to sell to a Spanish or IsiZulu audience.

That can pose some serious challenges to business and may come at a cost. But guess what? With a reliable translation service, that can quite easily become a walk in the park.

Overcoming Language Barrier in South Africa’s Largest City


Because of the language diversity in South Africa, a lot of enterprises, especially startups, are faced with this challenge. Johannesburg, in particular, being South Africa’s largest municipality, has an extensive diversity of languages, including Xhosa, Zulu, and Afrikaans.

Besides English, these are major languages in Johannesburg – and enterprises or mid-sized businesses looking to increase their sales or market share will need to find a way to reach as many local audiences as possible.

This is where translation service providers come in. The value of translation services in Cape Town, Pretoria or even Johannesburg for instance with regional and local professional firms like, can hardly be overemphasized for any African languages. For example, a professional translation service or independent translators understands the language and the culture of the people, making it easier to communicate in the parlance and vocabulary they understand. International organizations coming into South African markets have leveraged this insight over the years.

The result is an inevitable increase in ROI and market engagement.

Why Look for Translation Services in Pretoria?


First, the most significant benefit of working with a translation service is reaching clients who do not speak your language. It is an opportunity for enterprise clients to speak to even more potential customers that are interested in their products and services. Therefore, working with a translation service in Johannesburg is the way to go. Our market survey reveals that this is a smart move whether you are an international or local business looking to widen your clientele base in South Africa.

In addition to having a better understanding of the local market, a typical translation service works with experts and skilled linguistics. This means that these are trained personnel. It is important to note that it is one thing to speak a local language like Zulu, and yet a different kettle of fish when communicating your brand and marketing messages to the same local audience using that language.

The latter focuses more on raising your brand’s awareness and getting the target audience to engage actively with your brand. Therefore, it is better to let professional linguists do the work. That way, it becomes easier to speak in local terminologies, drive more traffic to your business, and increase your sales figures.

Again, hiring a translation service can boost your international image. But let’s not forget that when translation is done improperly, it can hurt your company’s reputation. Getting professional translation services to assist you is one way to boost your reputation in the local market. And on the other hand, you’re still telling people about your business – and ultimately acquiring new customers.

What to Consider When Hiring a Translation Service in Johannesburg

It is exciting when your business is making a foray into new markets, especially those that pose a language barrier. However, the more exciting part is learning how the new audience reacts to and engages with your brand. As we have already established, getting the best results as you venture into new markets depends greatly on how effectively your business can leverage a local translation service.

Here we highlight a number of criteria to consider or watch out for when hiring a translation service in Johannesburg.



Imagine saying “well done” where you need to say “welcome” or “steal” where there should be “steel”. In some cases, it might be inconspicuous errors like poor punctuation. The effect of these seemingly slight errors in diction often leads to misinterpretation and misrepresentation. This is a huge disservice to your marketing campaigns. The purpose of the message, in the first place, is ultimately defeated.

To avoid the occurrence of such errors, you want to look for a trusted translation service provider for enterprise clients in Johannesburg. The truth is that the success of your foray into local South African markets depends on the quality of the translation service you rely on. Therefore, it would be best to use professional translators.


The local standards of the community or target audience you want to reach is another factor to consider. The translation service you are hiring must be able to satisfy this requirement. Otherwise, it might be difficult for the audience to relate to your product or service in line with their expectations. Hence, translating isn’t the end goal, but adapting the translation to integrate the use of the service or product to your target audience.

When the translation is successfully localized, it makes your offerings appear as though they were developed locally and specifically for the local market. An efficient and experienced translation service should be able to provide this.

Quick Turnaround


It can be frustrating to fall behind schedule after planning out your marketing timeline. You want to make sure that the hired translation service understands your expectations. Understandably, some projects may be more demanding than others. If that is the case, both parties should reach an understanding regarding how long it will take to complete the project. That way, you avoid disappointments, rushed projects, or annoying delays.

Cultural Sensitivity

Because of differences in language nuances, translation can be tricky at times. This is why direct translation is not a safe way to go. “Live forever in your loved one’s hearts” does sound like a good tagline for a business in the English language, but when directly translated, word-for-word into some African languages, it may not exactly make sense. Some obviously harmless words or expressions in your primary language may be seen in a negative light by your new audience. In light of this, it makes sense to factor in sensitiveness when hiring a translation service in Johannesburg.

The reputational damage that results from pushing out the wrong information or using inappropriate vocabulary may take years and additional expenses to heal. Be sure that the translation service provider has a track record of representing other foreign and local businesses.


While qualifications matter much, experience in the business is another factor worth considering as you look for a translation service in Johannesburg. Look out for the most qualified, but also pay attention to past and present customers’ reviews of the business. That will give you an idea of what to expect from the translator. Ideally, the company’s credibility should be outstanding, if not impeccable.

The importance of speaking in your brand tone and voice cannot be underestimated when translating. It takes an experienced translation service to translate without compromising on quality and brand tone. In most cases, retaining your brand tone is key in marketing, and might be essentially what distinguishes you from the competition.

If possible, confirm that the company has professional certifications, showing that it has what it takes to deliver excellent translation services. In addition to that, or alternatively, you may request to see their portfolio. The caliber of companies and projects that the company has executed in the past will also give you rich insight into their strength and capacity in translation services.

Data Security


Is your business data sensitive? If so, no loopholes can be allowed during translation. The leakage or misuse of sensitive data can turn out to be detrimental to the reputation of your company. Medical and legal companies, for instance, deal with lots of confidential data and documents. Is your translation service provider capable of respecting your data privacy policy? Do they even have a data privacy policy in the first place? Getting this sorted will save you some headache sooner or later.

Want to Get Started: Find a Reliable Source!

If you have been looking to hire a reliable translation service in South Africa, there’s good news for you. You need to bridge the language barrier between you and your business, in the most effective ways.

Look for not just certified translators but also those that have extensive experience in interacting with clients across a wide variety of niches.

Any pro language firm track record should show a successful demonstration and delivery of translation services in regional and local Africa languages like Xhosa, Zulu, Urdu, Twi, and several other languages in Johannesburg and other cities.

Written by Philip Goguen

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