Translating for B corporations and purpose-driven companies

So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a B corporation? Even though most of us already know, in the words of the bcorporation.eu website:

“The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”

To be certified as such, the company needs to assess its overall positive impact, demonstrating they are using business as a force for good. These purpose-driven companies are effectively changing the business prospective, focussing no longer on shareholders (or at least no longer only on them), but on stakeholders, both internal and external.

We must be the change we seek in the world.

But how can these companies communicate their efforts, their stand on business and on life, in a way that is both effective and that can distinguish them from the competition?

Yes, because these are not charities, they remain business enterprises that need to reach financial goals as well.

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Now is the time to start differentiating in this segment as well. Because we have already seen hundreds of videos on plastics in the sea and frankly we can’t tell what a company is doing different from the others.

Communication can, once again, come to the rescue. It needs to go from a declaration of principles to a one-on-one conversation, engaging the audience, making them feel part of your world view. Communication needs to become inclusive, to give the audience a gateway into these topics, while preserving the brand difference.

The aim should be differentiating for what you do AND for what you say. Communication should be pragmatic, responsive and motivating. Not telling a story, but the truth.

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As an independent professional working in the language sector, I am trying and expand work for these companies, as I think it comes a time when your personal and professional interests need to converge. Working in this segment allows me to translate and edit texts pertaining to topics which match my personal interest and wish for the future, such as gender equality, climate change, green solutions and tech, sustainability, circular economy.

Finding the right words to communicate these values is key. Editing and translation can help shape/change/sharpen communication in all the languages a company uses to talk to their employees, business partners, suppliers, customers, shareholders and the general public. Making it as coherent and engaging in every market, while localizing it properly to avoid missteps.

A few hints? For instance:

✅ Start using words consciously, choosing each one carefully. Because communicating your positive approach with a vocabulary of war (combat, war on, battle, eco-warriors etc.) may not be the best choice.

✅ Plan a comprehensive review of all your communication contents, edit them to make them coherent and on this basis work out what you need to change to make your principles stand out, to translate them into a motivation for all your stakeholders.

✅ Translate the contents which are key in communicating your world view and what makes you unique in reaching these goals, be it your brand standards for your employees, a presentation for your business partners, a special agreement with your suppliers, social media and B2C contents for your end customers. Because translation drives understanding and engagement. It is as simple as that.

Purpose-driven companies leverage business to have a positive impact on the world.

Curated translation and editing will help them drive a positive impact in their communication efforts.

About the author
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I specialize in translation and editing into Italian, working on marketing, creative and legal contents in the creative industry, B Corp, travel & hospitality segments. I put my many years of experience to the advantage of my clients by creating texts resonating with the Italian-speaking audience and making brands locally relevant. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter or visit my website.