26 Jan /12

BRIC regions – how to overcome language issues

As automotive sales in the BRIC regions are set to rise significantly over the next 10 years, international OEMs and automotive suppliers are preparing to take advantage.

We take a look at what potential language issues companies may face when entering these markets.

What languages are spoken?

Firstly, it is important to understand the local languages and dialects that are spoken in these countries to consider whether your company may encounter any language barriers.

Brazil – Brazilian Portuguese (there is a difference between European Portuguese so be sure to bear this in mind)

Russia – Russian is the official language of Russia, however 27 different languages are considered official languages in various regions of Russia, along with Russian.

India – Hindi is the official language although English is the secondary official language. Other popular languages include Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayalam.

China – The main two languages in China are Cantonese and Mandarin. But your translation company will often ask you whether you need Simplified or Traditional Chinese, so it will be useful to take note of which is which. Cantonese is Traditional Chinese and Mandarin is Simplified Chinese. Mandarin is the official language of the Republic of China. Cantonese is mainly spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and the Guangdong province in China.

What are the factors to consider when translating for these markets?

Although many international OEMs and automotive suppliers regularly produce documentation that is translated, they are often unaware of the ways in which the languages of the BRIC regions can pose translation issues.

We have compiled a short list of the most common problem areas:
Font compatibility issues
Creating print-ready pdf files
Layout/Formatting/DTP issues
Authoring with internationalisation in mind
Translation vs localisation
Managing quality via in-country partners
Incorrect use of technical terminology
Incorrect understanding/use of abbreviations
Translation memory issues
Time differences creating product delays

Case studies

We take a look at a recent case study addressing one of the above issues. Other case studies will be provided over future editions of the newsletter.

Case Study

Managing quality via in-country partners

Our client approached us looking for a long-term partner to provide a Simplified Chinese language solution. Having a presence in China through several distribution channels, they had traditionally let their Chinese partners assume responsibility for the translation of their technical and marketing documentation into Simplified Chinese.

However, they had concerns that they were not able to control the quality of the documentation that was being provided to their Chinese clients.

They still wanted to keep their Chinese distribution partners involved in the translation process in some way, as they felt they offered a valuable insight into the Chinese market and how to effectively market and sell products in China.


Being highly experienced in working with this channel of information exchange, EVS Translations was able to provide its client with an ideal solution.

Firstly, we needed to assess the quality and usability of their existing Simplified Chinese technical documentation and marketing materials.

Utilising our large team of in-house translators and our in-house localisation engineers, we aligned their English and Simplified Chinese documentation to establish a translation memory. This memory was fully analysed and cleaned with the input of the client and their distribution partners so that it contained only accurate and acceptable client-specific terminology which is to be used for all future translations.

We then got together on dissecting their documentation for client-specific and industry-specific technical terms and abbreviations. The English terms and abbreviations were then submitted to all of their Chinese distribution partners to compile a list of equivalent Chinese terms and abbreviations. This can be very challenging because some of the terms simply do not exist in Chinese, so suitable alternatives had to be carefully considered.

Interestingly, even though these partners all work in the same industry for the same client, their suggestions were not identical – even for those terms and abbreviations that do exist.

Alongside the suggestions of the partner, EVS Translations submitted its list of equivalent terms and abbreviations as well.

Now, all parties (EVS Translations, its client and its distribution partners) communicated together to create a final master glossary list.

Once the glossary and TM had been established, our client had a secure way of monitoring and improving its quality and consistency for all of its Simplified Chinese documentation. The glossary and TM are constantly updated after every translation using the same communication exchange channels to ensure that they are always accurately maintained and up-to-date.


The client has now partnered with us to provide a translation solution in over 10 languages.

For more information on how EVS Translations could help you, please contact us:
E-mail – uktrans(at)evs-translations.com
Phone – +44 1159 644283