Quality translations pivotal to capture foreign student market

Revenue from foreign students has become a significant income stream and New Zealand schools are increasingly recognising the value of quality translations for their marketing material.

Many schools have started preparations for their foreign recruitment drive for the 2020 school year, armed with a new prospectus for tradeshows, expos and overseas-based agents.

In his long experience in the education sector, translation expert Hayden Barrett says the most successful New Zealand schools in the overseas markets have always had a major focus on good translations.

“Students, parents and agents in Asian countries are overrun by education providers from New Zealand, Australia, Britain and the United States, so it is important to stand out through high-quality translations,” says Barrett, director at leading New Zealand translations company Blue South Translations.

“When parents decide to send their child to a foreign country, they want to have a level of comfort that the school of choice will care about the wellbeing of their child. Being able to read the material in their own language will make a big difference, and show them that the school cares about their needs, especially if their English is limited,” says Barrett, who is surprised how many schools are still using only English marketing material.

Barrett’s company, Blue South Translations, work on prospectuses, handbooks and other marketing material for dozens of schools, from Southland to Auckland for the Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Japanese and Vietnamese markets.

He says that many of the schools will initially try to use their own international staff members or even translating software to create a prospectus, but that this approach often backfires.

“The staff member may have been in New Zealand for many years and may not have kept up with the changes in their language.  Also, they will not have the same skills as a professional translator who is embedded in the overseas market and translates educational material every day,” says Barrett.

He emphasises that the international staff at the schools still play an important role in reviewing the translated material to make sure the needs of the school are met.

Barrett says that translations are not always top of the agenda when schools are rushing to get their prospectus out of the door and some schools will consider it an unnecessary cost.

“If you see how much money and resources some schools dedicate to designing and printing prospectuses and sending their staff to overseas expos, a quality translation seems a small cost that will have a major impact on the success of their recruitment programme.

“And once those translations are done, they can be re-used for years to come in other documents, which makes it a cost-effective investment for schools that want to stand out in the overseas market,” says Barrett.

Many schools like Northcross Intermediate School in Auckland have experienced how investing in high quality translations has huge benefits, since they first engaged the services of Blue South Translations back in 2011.

Sharon Hines, the Director of International Students at Northcross says that Blue South Translations have been amazing to deal with, “friendly, professional and prompt”.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone looking for a professional translation,” says Sharon Hines.


For more information, please contact Hayden Barrett on 027 430 9815