Peak Translations

Communicating with foreign audiences in the new Covid-19 world

How well are your foreign audiences understanding the messages of your business? At best, misunderstanding causes confusion. At worst, it has dire consequences for a business – not only in terms of impacting the health and safety of its staff and customers but also how successful it might be in developing new overseas markets.

As businesses across the world slowly emerge into a new Covid-19 world, they are each looking at how they might improve engagement with their foreign audiences.

At Peak Translations, we’ve identified three areas where it’s critical to make sure your messages are heard and understood:

1. Biosecurity

Rather a grand term and possibly one you’ve never had to consider before but protection against biological substances – in this case Covid-19 – is at the fore of everyone’s minds as colleagues return from furlough and businesses start to re-open their doors.

Does your workforce include foreign workers? Are you expecting over the coming months to welcome back foreign visitors? When it comes to their personal safety, you have an obligation to provide them with the same level of protection as native English speakers.

Are your Covid-19 floor signs, information posters and biosecurity protocols as clear as they can be? Any misunderstanding of the message by only one individual can risk both the health of others and a return to lockdown for your business.

2. Virtual meetings

Perhaps one of the longest-lasting impacts of Covid-19 is our mindfulness about where we meet. Will it be as acceptable in the future to travel huge distances for conferences or meetings, some of which last only a couple of hours?

Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype have been widely adopted for collaborative working, and can often be more productive than face-to-face meetings. They can, however, make it more difficult to read the ‘temperature’ of the room which makes engaging with a foreign audience in particular even harder.

Investing in the services of a video interpreter not only ensures that communication is understood by all parties, it also gives your clients and suppliers a clear signal that you are committed to developing your relationship with them.

We put this service to good use at Peak Translations recently when we were approached by a chemical products company whose supplies from China had been interrupted owing to lockdown. Investing in the presence of an English-Mandarin interpreter on their conference call demonstrated to their supplier how much they valued the relationship. Our choice of an interpreter also expert in English-Cantonese translations was a deliberate one since the client in question also has suppliers in Hong Kong; thereby negating the need for them to work with two different interpreters in the future.

3. International sales

Many businesses have already started to look further afield to new markets in order to reduce their reliance on European markets post Brexit.

Yet international sales can be a hugely daunting prospect for your business. How can you derive best benefit without huge financial outlay in a particular territory? 

Creating a country-specific landing page is a useful compromise and has two key benefits. Firstly, it reduces the cost since translating your entire website is rarely necessary in the early stages of testing out a market. Secondly, and unlike where Google Translate is used, the page is permanent. This means that, providing you include the right keywords for your target language in the right parts of the page (advice that Peak Translations offers as part of its translation service), your page will be crawled by search engines and therefore appear in enquirers’ search results.

For help in improving your engagement with foreign audiences in the new Covid-19 world, please contact me or a member of my team on E: or T: 01663 732 074.

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