Business Translation Center

Smartphone usage around the world – and what it means for business translation

by OFER TIROSH 16/05/2018

The smartphone generation have never known life without a world of information at their fingertips, wherever they go. Opinions are divided as to the benefits and drawbacks of this. Research has found that the smartphone generation drink less alcohol. On the other hand, feelings of loneliness have become more common. 

Our society is changing as technology becomes more ubiquitous and the smartphone in particular has caused a shift in societal dynamics. In some countries (India, Indonesia and Mexico spring to mind), smartphone usage is now four times that of desktop computer use. Meanwhile, in the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the US, Australia and many other countries, smartphone usage has surpassed that of desktops within the last few years. 

Some of the changes are subtle, while others more immediately noticeable. There are also longer-term implications – such as the fear that successive generations’ memories are worsening as the need to remember things reduces (why remember facts, when you can look them up in an instant?). 

One big change has been the way in which information is delivered. Writing for the internet means appealing to the widest audience possible. Short paragraphs, simple phrases and a concise manner have become the staple elements of ‘good’ web copy. Using long words and overly descriptive language have come to be viewed with disdain, as content produces seek out the ultimate in bite-size information delivery. 

This shift in how we write has had a knock-on effect on how we translate. Business translation for the smartphone generation means picking the shortest, simplest words or phrases when translating. Contemporary translation for the web, just like writing for the web, values the concise delivery of information over and above more poetic phrasing. Less is more when it comes to translation nowadays, at least so far as the internet is concerned. 

It’s a lesson that leading businesses are using to engage with modern audiences, simplifying their content in order to appeal to more readers. For those companies buying in professional translation services, it’s a conversation that has to be held with their chosen translators. Business translation for the web needs to take account of the latest writing trends – that’s why it’s important to choose translators with relevant, current experience. 

Apps, too, need to be thought out when it comes to modern business translation. 80-90% of mobile media time is spent in apps, rather than browsers. That means that companies don’t just need to translate their websites – they also need to ensure that their apps are available in multiple languages. 

For more information on perfecting your business translation, please contact Tomedes