No one doubts the importance of good written English if you want to win the trust of an American, a Brit or an Australian. They notice every missing ‘the’, misused word or awkward sentence in a non-native text. And cringe at the lack of professionalism. But what about markets where English is not the native language? Is it worth investing in high quality texts if, as they say, the real global language is ‘bad English’?
Good writing is always worth the investment. Some people might not notice, or care about, a grammar mistake or two. But excellent writing always gets better results. It does so, first of all, because the right words make your message clearer, more interesting, more attractive. And secondly, because documents and websites that are very well-written create an impression of competence, of solidity.
Customers and partners and investors, perhaps unconsciously, somehow feel that you are highly professional. They react by treating you with more respect and trust, as an equal. I’ve seen this happen many times in the relations between emerging market companies and their partners, clients or regulators from more advanced economies.
“We don’t want Shakespeare.” That’s how a client once introduced a copywriting project. He was afraid I might produce beautiful English that no one but a native speaker could understand. The Baltic company’s clients were mainly Central Europeans with imperfect English skills. So while texts needed to be powerful and clean, they also had to be easy to read.
“Of course,” I answered, happy to oblige. Because there are some specifics of style and vocabulary for communicating effectively with non-native speakers of English. And I have a lot of experience with that. But even more importantly, good writing always seeks to make complex ideas as simple as possible. So they are easy to understand, and pleasant to read – from start to finish.
- Bryan Bradley