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Automotive translation: 5 stages where car manufacturers need specialist translation

Published on April 18th, 2018

According to BMI Research, global vehicle sales will increase by 3.6% this year after a record-breaking 2017. As a result, automotive translation is going to play a bigger role in 2018 as manufacturers aim to get more vehicles from the concept stage to customers’ driveways – a more complex process than most people realise.

The automotive industry is one of the world’s most truly global markets and international languages play a role at every stage of the manufacturing, marketing and customer experience with any vehicle. Here are five stages where car manufacturers need specialist automotive translation.

#1: Automotive translation at the design stage

The first instance where car manufacturers need automotive translation is the early design stage of each vehicle. First of all, most design teams for modern car manufacturers are a mix of international talents whose individual language skills aren’t necessarily as great as their vision for designing cars.

While design teams need to be able to communicate among themselves, this isn’t the only instance where automotive translation might be required. Once the design for any vehicle is complete, it needs to be sent to various other departments for verification and processing – many of which will cross language barriers. For example, VW’s production factories in Brazil and China are going to need translated versions of each design modification with all the necessary notes before building new cars or modifying existing lines.

#2: Translation for manufacturing

Designs aren’t the only documents that need translating before production lines start manufacturing a vehicle. New processes are created to ensure every car is built following a strict procedure and all performance metrics fall within tolerance. Everyone involved in manufacturing a vehicle needs their own copy of this process (or their relevant part of it) for them to follow and refer to throughout the manufacturing process. This involves a lot of automotive translation work to guarantee the right instructions are always at hand for manufacturing teams.

#3: User manuals and documentation

Improving vehicle safety is an endless challenge for car manufacturers and the reality is no car will ever be 100% safe. While new safety innovations will continue to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries related to vehicle operation, the basics are as important as ever – and this starts with documentation to help drivers stay safe.

Whether people read or use this documentation is one thing, but your legal requirement to provide it isn’t up for debate. All user manuals and other material must be fully translated, 100% error-free and always available to users.

#4: Marketing material

As we said earlier, the automotive industry is one of the world’s most truly international markets and it’s also one of the most far-reaching across all types of consumer. While the iPhone is the elite mobile device designed for everyone and relatively affordable, not everyone can pay up for a Ferrari. Not everybody wants one, either. Families want something more practical and safer, new drivers need something more sensible and working commuters might prefer something more economical and comfortable.

Car manufacturers have a lot of target audiences to market to before you even consider different languages. These audiences vary by country as well with Ford drivers in Southeast Asia having different demands to those in the US, for example. Which means every piece of marketing material not only needs to be translated, but also adapted to suit the unique needs and desires of each target market.

#5: Translating the customer service process

The consumer journey doesn’t end once someone buys a new car. In fact, it only just begins. Most consumers will never buy a more complex piece of machinery than the vehicles they drive and this means their customer service needs are also much stronger.

Above all, you need to make sure you meet your legal requirements in the case of any faults detected with prompt notices released in every market affected. In these scenarios, your customers need to know exactly what the issue is and what they need to do next. There is no room whatsoever for confusion and automotive translation errors can’t be tolerated.

Hopefully, faults and defects are a rare occurrence but something that’s becoming more common is online interactions between car manufacturers and their customers. Of course, this means you need to provide a multilingual online customer service system that responds to global demands quickly and effectively.

From the international teams who build each vehicle to the global audience of potential customers, car manufacturing crosses various language barriers at every stage. When public safety, customer satisfaction and brand reputation are on the line, you can’t afford to let automotive translation mistakes to hurt profitability after investing a great deal in every line.

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Posted on: April 18th, 2018