Friday, February 18, 2011

The top reasons to carry Bilingual Business Cards

Networking Advantages: Bilingual business cards are essential to networking with non-English speakers in this continually globalizing business world. One of the best ways to promote your business, or even yourself, is through the power of networking. You should never be caught without a quick and easy way to transfer contact information to business partners or potential customers not speaking your native language. Always be prepared to accommodate the most popular language of the region you are visiting.

They are Double-edged Swords: Carrying a translated business card is an excellent way to share information with associates who may not speak English or have a limited English proficiency. Yet, when one carries a one sided business card with one language, it can become obsolete when presented to a contact who does not speak the language. That is why it is crucial to carry a two-sided, bilingual business card. This card becomes a double-edged sword, as it can become versatile in reaching multiple audiences of varying cultural backgrounds.

Guanxi, Relationship Development: This Chinese term loosely translates to “relationship.” It is a term that displays respect, compassion and loyalty. Carrying bilingual business cards is a great way of developing Guanxi. Carrying a translated card shows your potential partner, associate, client, customer or manager that you respect their culture and that you are ready to form a deeper relationship with them.

They reflect who you are: In different cultures, there are differences in managerial positions. For example, an Account Executive can be someone who is at the top of an organizational hierarchy, or it can be someone who handles client services and client acquisition. Do not risk distortion of your job role by using a literal translation. Having a translated business card, made by a business professional that understands hierarchy levels and titles, is important to convey who you are and what you do.

They give you a competitive advantage: Bilingual business cards have the advantage of being absorbed, understood, shared and used ahead of your competitors’ when reaching out to foreign buyers, clients, partners or other business entities. Carrying bilingual business cards makes you stand out and gives you an upper hand on your competitors.

Quick tips
  • Do not carry or place cards in your wallet or pocket. Invest in the small cost of a decent carrying case.
  • When receiving business cards, do not write on the cards in front of the business card owner. Bring a note pad or wait until you step away.
  • Take a quick second to read the cards when they are presented to you.
  • In Asian cultures, it is always a safe practice to receive business cards with two hands.
  • Physically hand your business card to each recipient. Do not pass them out like playing cards.
  • If you are in a meeting, particularly in Asian cultures, set the cards in front of you for reference purposes.
  • Do not bend, fold or damage the presented cards.
  • Seek a translation firm with a diverse staff pool, to ensure cultural accuracy.
  • Make sure you choose a translation firm with a proven track record of translating business cards. It reduces liability and provides assurance.
  • Choose a translation firm with an in-house team of graphic designers, for quick adjustments and lower costs.
  • Do not translate your card using machine translation. Use a firm so that you receive a human translation, which will not distort your title or other information.
  • Make sure you carry enough business cards. Do not be caught with an insufficient amount!

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