Blog / News

Translation for Business After Brexit

EU flag
in Blog, Legal

The news that Brexit has been postponed until Halloween extended the cloud of uncertainty hanging over British businesses. Companies that trade in continental Europe are still unsure of how cross-channel trade will function by the end of this year, while new businesses are attempting to launch into a marketplace of unprecedented political uncertainty.

Fortunately, politics will only have a limited effect on day-to-day business transactions with European clients. Languages won’t be impacted by Brexit, which means translation services will remain as critical as they are now. And with 24 official languages spoken across the remaining 27 EU nations, there’ll be an ongoing need for translation and localisation. Indeed, the most innovative and ambitious companies are shrugging off the Brexit uncertainty and pushing toward greater internationalisation. Whatever happens between now and November, any company with European connections or aspirations should adopt this exact approach to communications and marketing, and press ahead with their localisation efforts.

Working in harmony?

The UK might be leaving the EU, but companies hoping to trade on the Continent will still need to comply with European legislation. The awkwardly-titled Court of Justice of the European Union is responsible for ensuring uniform implementation of EU laws, both directly (through Union-wide legislation) and indirectly (imposing requirements on member states to pass their own laws). For British companies trading in the EU, ensuring compliance with both direct and indirect legislation could become more challenging when UK law begins to diverge.

This is one scenario where specialist localisation services may become necessary, ensuring goods and services marketed to EU nations don’t fall foul of separate legislation – and also that they’re presented and promoted appropriately. While EU legislation is intended to be “clear and precise” to a qualified legal expert, it may be completely incomprehensible to a layperson. As for the “principle of harmonious interpretation” which covers indirect effect, there probably isn’t a small business owner in the land who could accurately interpret this in more than one of the EU’s two dozen official languages.

Something old, something new

An established business with foreign-language marketing materials and legal documentation already in place might be able to soldier on for a while without recourse to translation services. However, evolving legislative differences and new product/service launches will eventually require the assistance of translation services from a specialist organisations. And new or forthcoming businesses with pan-European trading aspirations will require assistance with everything from slogans to sales documents.

Advertising and marketing are constantly evolving, as new campaigns replace familiar ones which have lost their impact. The launch of a new YouTube video or podcast might benefit from foreign-language voiceovers, spoken by native speakers with appropriate vocal tones and local dialects. Equally, social media posts gain far more traction in foreign countries when they’re adapted to suit the indigenous language’s cultural norms. Basic translation is helpful, but localisation really helps a company to stand out. These cultural acknowledgements ought to help any UK business to thrive in European markets, whatever happens politically in the run-up to Halloween.


For more information on how Language Connect could help your business in new markets, get in touch today.

Language Connect delivers fast, accurate language translation services 24 hours a day