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Should I invest in Slovak translation or is Czech enough?

Here is a question I get asked often: Can Czechs and Slovaks understand each other?


If so, why should your company bother investing in Slovak translation if you can simply opt for Czech?


Let’s break it down, shall we?

Czech is intelligible by around 93% of Slovaks (by the same token, around 75% of Czech population understands Slovak). You may be now thinking what’s the hurt in translating your content only into one of the languages, right?


Well not so fast. As a native Slovak with Czech translation degree this is an issue close to my heart and I’d like to give my two cents:


1. Translating into the language of your target market drives sales.


Common Sense Advisory surveyed 8,709 web consumers in 29 countries to learn about how language affected their purchasing behaviors:


— 65% prefer content in their language, even if it’s poor quality.

Now imagine what a well thought-through translation could do to your sales.


But wait, there is more.

— 76% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.

— 40% of consumers said they would never buy from websites in other languages.


Furthermore, 75% of consumers spend would be more likely to purchase again if customer care is in their language.

If you don’t localize your content into the language of your target market, you’re risking losing 40% of potential customers.

One thing is sure:


People trust content in their language more.


Despite the close-knit historical past of Slovakia and Czechia and our language commonalities, there are nuances and cultural references which could miss the mark in the other language.


Since we’re speaking of trust:


2. Localization increases customer satisfaction.


Let’s imagine following scenario: You bought headphones on Amazon and they broke. You want to return the product and get your money back. Now imagine that the customer service is only available in French and you don’t speak a single word French. You’re probably not going to hire a French-speaking person to deal with this issue. You’re most likely going to hide the headphones in the back of your wardrobe and forget about them. And you’re never again going to purchase anything from the same brand ever again.

See, localization is more than translation. It’s the adaptation of the product to fit your customer needs. A localization done well is like a translation – customer believes your brand is their home country even if you don’t have a single office there.


3. Targeting readers in their language shows them respect for their culture.


As a relatively young country with often missing language resources, we are often forced to turn to Czech due to a greater availability of content in areas of literature, films and TV shows, games and I could go on.


This is probably mostly due to a lower number of speakers and the historical development of the languages. Yet it doesn’t make Slovak less valuable.


If my arguments didn’t persuade you to see the value in translating into Slovak, let me close with a quote by Nelson Mandela:


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”


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I’m Karolína, a Slovak conference and community interpreter and marketing translator. I write about topics related to the translation industry and culture-specific translation in my language combinations (Slovak–German–English).