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Bad grammar could cost small businesses

Jo Smith

A new survey by professional translation and transcription provider Global Lingo, has revealed interesting news for small and medium-sized business when it comes to their use of grammar on websites and marketing material.

The study, surveying 1,029 UK adults aged 18 and over, questioned Brits on their online purchasing and browsing habits. Respondents were asked questions related to the factors that influence them to use a particular company or service, specifically in relation to web and marketing material. 

It was found that 59% of Brits would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes, and 82% would not use a company that hadn’t correctly translated their online and marketing material into English.

The Global Lingo survey is part of ongoing research focusing on the link between consumer spending and the quality of a company’s online presence; looking at how a business’ spelling and grammar may impact upon a person’s likelihood to use a particular company or service.

When respondents were asked whether or not they notice the quality of spelling or grammar on a company’s website, an incredible 75% said yes. 

The reason behind the 59% of respondents saying that they wouldn’t use a company with bad grammar is mainly due to trust issues, with 61% saying that they ‘wouldn’t trust the company to provide a good quality service’.  Thirty-four per cent said they would just be ‘put off due to an obvious lack of care’, and 26% said that they would see the company as being ‘unprofessional’.

When asked to name the main reason(s) as to why they wouldn’t trust a website with poor translation efforts, 62% of respondents explained that ‘if the translation is poor, the other services or goods offered by that company may also be below par.’

Richard Michie, Marketing and Technology Director of Global Lingo, commented on the findings, “The fact that such a high percentage of those polled wouldn’t trust a company with poor spelling or grammar on-site, or a poorly translated website, just goes to show how crucial it is that businesses make the most of every opportunity, especially in these tough economic times. 


"You only have a short amount of time to make an impression on a potential customer, and if your website or ad is riddled with grammatical errors, it’s not going to place you in a favourable light. Competition is tough, and if you don’t take the care to present yourself in as professional a light as possible, you may well be losing yourself important business. Everyone wants a professional service no matter what they’re buying, and good use of linguistics is a hugely important part of this.” 

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