By Daniel Hunter

A new study conducted by a professional translation and transcription provider has revealed that 59% of Britons would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material; whilst 82% would not use a company that hadn’t correctly translated their online and marketing material into English.

As part of ongoing research focusing on the link between consumer spending and the quality of a company’s online presence, a leading translation and transcription company has undertaken a study looking at how a business’ spelling and grammar may impact upon a person’s likelihood to use a particular company or service.

The research, conducted by Global Lingo, polled 1,029 UK adults aged 18 and over on their online purchasing and browsing habits. Respondents were asked questions related to the factors that influence them to use a particular company or service, specifically in relation to web and marketing material.

Those taking part were asked whether or not they tended to notice the quality of spelling or grammar or a company’s website, to which just under three quarters, 74%, said ‘yes’. Furthermore, respondents were asked whether or not they would use or purchase from a company which had obvious spelling or grammatical errors on its website or marketing material, to which just over half, 59%, of respondents said ‘no’.

When asked why, the majority, 61%, explained that they ‘wouldn’t trust the company to provide a good quality service’ if it had poor grammar or spelling errors in its marketing material/ website; whilst just over a third, 34%, explained that they would just be ‘put off due to an obvious lack of care’. 26% also explained that they would simply consider the company to be ‘unprofessional.’

Next, respondents were asked if they had ever come across a website that was clearly translated from a foreign website into English, which then read inadequately with bad grammatical mistakes. 31% of individuals admitted that this had indeed happened to them, and just 4% of this number claimed that they had continued to use the website or purchase goods from it. Furthermore, 82% of those questioned admitted that they would neither trust or purchase online goods from a website rife with translational errors.

When asked to name the main reason(s) as to why they wouldn’t trust a website with poor translation efforts, 62% of respondents explained that ‘if the translation is poor, the other services or goods offered by that company may also be below par.’

Furthermore, 21% admitted that their faith in the quality of goods or services delivered by overseas companies is already low, so ‘poor translation on a website would further enhance this mistrust.’

Despite the vast majority of respondents claiming that they would avoid using or purchasing from a company which had poor grammar, spelling or translation on its website, 67% admitted that their own spelling/ grammar was ‘poor’.

Richard Michie, Marketing and Technology Director of Global Lingo, made the following comments on the findings of the study: “The fact that such a high percentage of those polled wouldn’t trust a company with poor spelling or grammar on-site, or a poorly translated website, just goes to show how crucial it is that businesses make the most of every opportunity, especially in these tough economic times.

"You only have a short amount of time to make an impression on a potential customer, and if your website or ad is riddled with grammatical errors, it’s not going to place you in a favourable light. Competition is tough, and if you don’t take the care to present yourself in as professional a light as possible, you may well be losing yourself important business. Everyone wants a professional service no matter what they’re buying, and good use of linguistics is a hugely important part of this.”

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