Although we translate texts for companies across a wide variety of sectors, including fashion, tourism, law and marketing, you’ll probably have seen from our website that we specialise in the real estate industry.
This blog post will examine three parallels between the translation business and the businesses of our major, long-term clients (e.g. investment companies, asset and portfolio managers, project developers, commercial real estate companies and rating agencies).
The first parallel is the importance of developing longstanding relationships.
For a translator this is crucial as it gives you a chance to build a deep understanding of each client’s business. The longer you work with someone, the easier it is to develop a feeling for their preferred communication style, their specific voice and their unique demands. A close relationship means you get more honest and specific feedback—something you won’t get if every translation project you work on is for a client you’ve never translated for before.
For real estate professionals, whose work is (at least in some way) connected with real property made out of real bricks and real mortar, it should be clear that it is equally important to cultivate long-term relationships, whether with investors and shareholders, tenants and buyers, or journalists and potential business partners. The decision to buy property should never be taken lightly—it is not only comparatively expensive, but also one of the most permanent assets classes anyone can invest in. It is essential that these relationships are based on clear communication, transparency of information and a firm understanding of what each party wants. The role of the translator in all of this is absolutely critical, which is exactly why you need to be able to rely 100% on your translator’s experience and expertise.
The second major parallel is the importance of research.
As any (honest) translator will confess, it’s very rare that you work on a text that doesn’t contain at least one term or expression that is challenging to translate. In-house databases and glossaries help, but quite often you’ll come across something so unique or specific that there’s only one thing that will help—extensive research. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve turned to Google image searches, Wikipedia articles, forums and niche websites in order to get an idea of what a client is referring to. Clearly, nobody writes a text thinking about the fact that it is going to be translated into another language at some point in the future, but sometimes a translator might be forgiven for wondering whether a client has slipped one or two items into their text simply to provide you with an extra level of difficulty.
The research truism also applies to real estate professionals. As everyone knows, “Location, location, location” are the three most important factors when it comes to investing in property. Unfortunately, assessing a location is not always that straightforward. The property itself needs to be assessed, local market conditions have to be analysed and the macro-economic situation also needs to be considered. All of these involve lengthy and detailed research before any final decisions can be made. A lot of time is invested upfront, but the return on this investment should make it all worthwhile—in the same way that a translator’s time spent researching and building databases and glossaries will also pay off in the long-run.
The final parallel for this post takes us back to the question at the top of the blog post—Why specialise?
Everyone knows the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Although the original message was decidedly more positive, the modern meaning is clear: It’s better to be a specialist in a small number of fields than to possess superficial knowledge across a very broad range of subjects. We work with a wide range of companies and appreciate every single one of our clients. Every client benefits from the same, high standards of service. At the same time, we have spent a number of years developing close relationships with companies within the real estate industry because we know that we can deliver translations tailored specifically and uniquely for their companies and their businesses.
Real estate is a major industry with a plethora of sub-markets. Residential, office, commercial, retail, hotel, logistics, property management, portfolio management, project development, tenant services, sales—the list goes on. There are very few real estate companies that would even attempt to cover all of these bases. Most specialise either according to the type of property they deal with, the range of services they offer or the region in which they operate. Which is one of the reasons why our clients clearly see added value in the specialised translation services we provide.
Just like us, they see the parallels between their business and ours.
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