How Environmental Factors Influence International Communications Strategies

Various environmental factors can influence international communications strategies.  Translation services workers should be as aware of economic, social/cultural and political/legal influences in foreign markets as they are of those in their native or domestic ones.

A nation’s size, per capital income and stage of economic development determine its feasibility as a candidate for international business expansion.  Nations with low per capita incomes may be poor markets for Boston Translation Services but good markets for agricultural hand tools.  These nations cannot afford the technical equipment an industrialized society needs.  Wealthier countries may be prime markets for the products of many US industries, particularly those involving consumer goods and advanced industrial products.

Another economic factor that translation companies must consider is a country’s infrastructure.  Infrastructure refers to a nation’s communication systems (television, radio, print media, telephone service) and energy facilities (power plants, gas and electric utilities).  An inadequate infrastructure may constrain business plans to manufacture, advertise and distribute products and services.  Infrastructure must be evaluated even when considering an international venture in an industrialized nation.  For example, to ensure investment and access to oil producing fields along the west coast of Africa, the governments of several countries hired construction firms to build new roads, housing compounds, power production plants and cellular communication networks for the thousands of new workers and businesses that would be needed to work the wells and move the raw petroleum crude to a port for export.

Changes in exchange rates can also complicate international business that in turn affects the language translation business.  An exchange rate is the price of one nation’s currency in terms of other countries’ currencies; in 1985, for example, $1 could be exchanged for 3.5 German Deutschmarks or about 240 Japanese Yen.  During this period, West German and Japanese consumers and industrial buyers considered Houston Translation Services relatively expensive, while American consumers thought the services provided by foreign translation services firms were attractively priced.  Overseas sales of many U.S. exporters suffered during this period; some firms even withdrew from certain export markets due to lack of sales and profits.  By 1988, the dollar had declined significantly against these and other currencies in the face of huge balance of trade deficits ad world concerns of a possible recession.

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