The process of building trust starts with open, clear communication. Without it, establishing and maintaining trust is nearly impossible – and working across languages and cultures only adds to the complexity.
We’ve worked with many clients as they expand their businesses into new global markets. One had been working on a large-scale expansion into a region that speaks a language different from their own. Together, we developed the localization plan, established the messaging platform, and created marketing collateral to convince those in the local market to buy their product. The client was ready to sign off on the final materials when she glanced up at me and said, “You know, I can’t read a single word on the page in front of me!” In that moment, I was grateful we had developed such a trusting relationship and she felt confident in our ability to accurately translate her message into the language her new customer base uses every day.
That’s the reality for many of our clients. They rely on our expertise to translate their messaging and have faith that we’ll carry their message forward with care and accuracy so the target audience can understand the product, identify with the brand’s mission, and sense the intended emotion within their cultural context. That takes a tremendous amount of trust.
While trust is paramount for language services companies like ours, the fact is, it’s become the currency of business today, in any industry. Given that, we’re sharing our top tips for how you can build trust with your clients, too.
Learn About Their Business
Many people consider translation and interpreting to be highly transactional processes, but it’s about more than swapping out one word for another. To be truly effective, we need to understand our client’s goals and the intent behind their message. They need to know that we:
- Have a deep understanding of their business and are aligned with their objectives
- Can address the unique needs of the people they’re trying to reach, including native language(s), communication preferences, and cultural nuances
- Will retain the essence of their message, including emotion, tone, and brand voice
Taking time to discuss these details at the beginning of a project shows clients they can trust us to deliver communications that resonate linguistically, culturally, and emotionally in any language.
Bring Them Along the Journey
Industry standards and organizational processes aren’t a sensational selling point, but they improve the accuracy and efficiency of our services – and demonstrate our commitment to quality, which is important to our clients and their multilingual audiences.
In some cases, clients are reluctant to follow our standard procedures. They may not understand the steps involved or why each is important. If you encounter this, it’s important to explain the process upfront, allow clients to ask questions, and iron out the timeline so everyone is on the same page.
Be a Good Partner
To operate most effectively, you need a partnership based on trust and transparency. We like to take a team approach and ask our clients to remain open with us through every phase of a translation, interpreting, or specialty service project – we need their expertise, just as they need ours. When you have the full context, you can provide more sophisticated, meaningful translations that capture the meaning and emotion behind a message and help them achieve their goals.
Our favorite way to build trust with our clients is through conversation and rapport. As we emerge from pandemic-induced isolation, people are craving connection more than ever and are looking to reconnect in meaningful ways. You can build rapport by finding common interests, sharing personal anecdotes, and asking questions about the things people care about (i.e., family, culture, hobbies).
These connections are especially important when building trust across cultures, as language barriers and cultural differences add complexity to communications. But keep in mind that when you get to know others personally, trust will flow more naturally.
Share Your Expertise
People want to work with the best and know their investment is in good hands. When we cultivate new relationships or expand our scope with current clients, we share how we’ve helped other clients solve similar challenges. Doing so helps clients see us as a strategic partner who can offer insights they haven’t considered or solutions they didn’t know existed.
Stay humble and keep it real as you share your expertise. Tell stories, share testimonials, and demonstrate thought leadership on your client’s specific challenges – and bring solutions to the table that will address their unique needs.
When you position yourself as experts in the field, your clients are more likely to trust that you can deliver on your promise.
Are you interested in learning more about how to build trusting relationships across cultures? Reach out to INGCO International. We can help you understand local market needs, develop a plan for equitable communications, and create materials that resonate with your multilingual audiences.