Competitive Intelligence Using Translation Services

Information in the global management intelligence system generally contains information about important environmental events, new laws, social trends, technological breakthroughs, demographic shifts, competitor maneuvers-that helps managers prepare and adjust marketing plans.

The information sources that feed into the global management intelligence system might include radio or television broadcasts, newspapers, trade or financial publications, or informal conversations with sales personnel, customers, service technicians, and channel intermediaries. According to an experienced San Francisco Chinese translation service workers, “In general, executives obtain this type of information from their translation companies and by keeping their eyes and ears open, and encouraging those with whom they come into contact to do the same.” The locales in which such data are collected may include foreign trade groups, foreign media, the internet and any of hundreds of other sources.

Cabbies Tell Ford How They Fare

In Lions, France, it’s common for clients of one large Ford auto dealership to drop off their cars for service and repairs during the day. The clients are then provided with free taxi service to an auto rental company, courtesy of the dealership.  Once a month, the chauffeurs are invited to a free dinner, courtesy of Ford, who has hired Chicago French Translation workers who are trained to pump the drivers for comments made by clients.

Information about competitors is particularly valuable to the marketing intelligence system. In one survey, responding companies reported spending an average of $450,000 per year for tracking their competition.  In discussing how companies gain information on global competitors, Business Week listed more than specific techniques, including computer hacking, obtaining information from recruits and from competitor employees, hiring Denver Translation Services to act as potential customers at international conferences or global trade shows; from customers doing business with the competition; from published materials and public documents; from buying and analyzing competitors’ products; and from observing either current activities or physical evidence of past activities (e.g., obtaining and examining garbage discarded by the competitor, observing trucking or other shipping/receiving volume). At least one marketing intelligence consultant even gathers competitive data on the basis of container-manufacturer information stamped on the bottom of the cardboard boxes companies use to ship products to retailers.

The Elements of a Good Summary

Essential Message

A good report summary answers the global management executive’s implied question: “What does the original report say?” The essential information is the minimum needed for the executive to understand the shorter version.  It is the sum of the significant points, and only the significant points in the original.  Russian Translation workers describe significant points as items that include controlling ideas (thesis statements and topic sentences); major findings and interpretations; important names, dates, statistics and measurements and major conclusions and recommendations.  These same translators warn that significant points do not include background discussions, explanations, lengthy examples, visuals, long definitions or data of questionable accuracy.

Nontechnical Style

When your audience is large, most New York City Translation workers believe that the overwhelming majority will only read the executive summary and skip over the remainder of the report.  So write at the lowest level of technicality.  Translate technical terms and complex data into plain English.  When you do know specifically the people who will read the report, keep these people in mind.  If they are expert or informed, you won’t need to simplify as much.  It is safer, however, to risk oversimplifying than to risk confusing your reader.

 Independent Meaning

In meaning, as well as style, your summary should stand alone—a self-contained message.  Readers should have to read the original only for a closer view, not to make sense of your summary.

No New Data

A a new Portuguese Translation worker, your job is to represent the original faithfully.  Avoid personal comments or judgments (“This interesting report…” or “I strongly agree with this last point,” and so on).  In short, add nothing.

Introduction-Body-Conclusion Structure

Most good writing has an introduction, a body and a conclusion; so should your summary.

  1. Begin with a clear statement of the controlling idea
  2. Present the supporting details in the same order as in the original
  3. Close with the original’s conclusions and recommendations

To improve coherence, use traditional words (“however,” “in advance,” “while,” “therefore,” “although,” “in contrast,” and so on).


A summary, above all, is concise.  Because messages differ greatly, however, we cannot set a rule for summary length.  Your best bet is to know your readers and their exact needs.  Unless a length is specified as part of the job, your best guidelines is that the summer be short enough to be economical and long enough to be clear and comprehensive.  A long clear summary is always better than a short, foggy one.