in Marketing, Technical Writing

Translation quality assurance is a crucial step in any localization project that tends to catch a lot, in terms of the funny, odd, and outright wrong ways people (and translation engines) sometimes use language. In the age of digital communications, though, even the fundamentals of language can fall victim to misuse for a seemingly innocuous reason: the changing ways people communicate.

In an age where shorthand text messaging has almost become a second language, does spelling really matter? When the 21st century introduced cellular text messaging, the restrictive nature of multi-press keypads, 160 character limitations, and urgency of time compelled us to reduce our voice nd manipul8 the way we tlk. Nowadays, txt speak is thought by some 2 b as acceptable as conventional fluency. It therefore begs the question; is thr any rl need 4 well written prose?

Answer: y(es).

Multiple studies from the past decade repeatedly show the same conclusion; there is a strong demand for proper grammar and syntax. A 2013 study reveals that 59% of Britons would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material, and 82% would not use a company that had not correctly translated its material into English. More recently, SurveyMonkey involved 1,000 participants in a study to determine how much of an effect bad grammar has on business. When it comes to a business’ bottom line:

  • Women are 81% less likely to buy a product advertised with a spelling or grammar error (men are a little more forgiving, with 77% feeling the same way).
  • 85% of millennials will take their buying power elsewhere if a product is advertised with errors.
  • 83% of households with an annual income of $75k and up are not interested in using any of their disposable income towards mistake-riddled product advertisements.

What’s worse is that it’s not only consumers who are judging you, but also the Internet. In 2011, ecommerce group, JustSayPlease, released a retail portal – – for socks and hosiery trade. When reviewing conversion rates (that is, the percentage of users who take a desirable action, such as buying a product) they discovered that their flagship tights product page had a glaring spelling error. Such an error can drastically impact SEO, leaving product pages virtually worthless. After correcting and updating the page, conversion rates soared by 80%.

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Though digital corrections are, when compared to print corrections, relatively easy to fix, the crux is that mistakes put consumers off. Selling anything over the Internet largely involves using written words. Much as the pen was considered mightier than the sword, proper usage of the whole gamut of language remains mightier than the curiosities of txt.

So wen u fnd urself writn ur nxt mrktng sntnce, unravel your words and allow the authenticity of your brand to speak volumes with full, eloquent, and correct form — especially when your job is translation quality assurance.

Author: Erin Strong, Global Communications, Beijing