B2B VS. B2C LEGAL TRANSLATIONS
It is fair to say that B2B and B2C “speak different languages”: B2C marketing texts, for example, often use very colourful imagery and appeal to emotions and feelings, while B2B marketing texts are much more focused on professional presentation of facts. Of course, the differences between B2B and B2C texts must also be reflected in good translation. As translations of legal texts are particularly important in business, today we will talk about some aspects of B2B vs. B2C legal translations, see to what extent they are different from each other and use a few examples to discuss what the differences mean for companies that need translation services.
B2B & B2C LEGAL TRANSLATION: TYPICAL DOCUMENTS
Translations of legal texts such as warranties, conditions of carriage, insurance policies, rental contractsor certified legal translations for court cases, etc., are important in both B2B and B2C. What does often make a big difference, however, is the content. Businesses should take this difference into account in the translation process, as we will illustrate with the examples below.
CONTRACTS: MOSTLY STANDARDISED IN B2C VS. MORE INDIVIDUAL IN B2B
As all of us know, most contracts that we sign as individuals (i.e. in a B2C transaction) are standardised. When we do online shopping, for example, we often tick boxes to declare that we “agree with the terms and conditions”, which means that we accept the standard contract that an online shop uses for every customer.
In B2B, this is often different: While some B2B contracts do follow a standardised template (for example vendor contracts of enterprises that want to apply the same terms for every vendor), a lot of B2B contracts are phrased individually on a case-by-case basis. Such individually agreed contracts are the result of long processes in which two companies negotiate proposals and then write (and often rewrite) contract passages. During these processes, translations are often needed for all correspondence that has to do with the planned deals (emails, letters, etc.), as well as for different drafts of contracts and proposals. And once the final version (and the final translation) of a contract has been completed and signed, specifically created amendments are frequently added.
In such cases, in which contracts are like living documents that evolve over the time and in which it is not easy to maintain an overview, it is absolutely vital to keep track of all developments and to ensure consistency in terminology so that misunderstandings can be avoided. If a company changes the translation service provider during this process, this will almost inevitably lead to inconsistent terminology usage, so this is a big no-go. Staying with a quality translation agency that will usually try to always assign the same linguists you and also let them work with CAT tools that store terminology throughout the process, on the other hand, is a good way to keep consistency and avoid confusions.
GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN B2C: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STRAIGHT FORWARD LANGUAGE
B2B legal documents are mostly written for business experts and their legal departments or lawyers, who are used to reading complex legal terminology. In B2C, however, it is different: Most consumers are not familiar with legal language.
Concise terms and conditions that are phrased in a way that is easy to understand can be beneficial for B2C companies for various reasons: First, they can avoid disappointments due to misunderstandings and thereby support customer retention and loyalty. Second, with terms and conditions that are easy to grasp, your business can convey a general sense of reliability and transparency. Third, when prospective clients find your terms and conditions easier to understand than those of your competitors, they will often prefer you, which means that you will have a significant competitive advantage.
Linguists can take this into account, especially when you brief them about your preferences for easy language in translations.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: CONSIDER PARTICULARLY STRICT REGULATIONS FOR B2C
As discussed in our legal translation tips, companies must consider the different local legal frameworks that apply to their transactions. Depending on where your clients are located, legal texts such as terms and conditions might be subject to local laws, and often laws for B2C are much stricter than for B2B.
However, many companies are not aware of this, have their terms and conditions translated and then learn that they don’t comply with consumer protection laws in the legislations of the target language, which means that their translations cannot be used at all. You will be able to avoid such undesirable situations if you start by finding out which legal framework will be applicable. Once you are clear about this question, you can move on to drafting and – finally – to translating your terms and conditions.
KNOW DIFFERENCES BETWEEN B2B AND B2C LEGAL TRANSLATIONS TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS WHEN YOU ORDER LINGUISTIC SERVICES
As you see, there are certain differences between B2B and B2C legal translations and companies that understand these differences have significant advantages. If you want to know how to proceed with your legal translation needs or want to find out how to make the most of legal translations, a quality language service provider will be able to advise you.
elionetwork has been known as a true legal translationexpert for many years and knows the best practices for B2B and B2C translations. We coordinate our projects from our offices in Singapore, Bangkok and Phnom Penh and work with both in-house and worldwide legal translation experts to achieve outstanding results. Please contact us to see how we can support you with our legal translation services!