There are some considerations for translation that are important when a translation company translates a text and that is related to the culture of the translation. This is particularly important when translating any type of business materials that will be directed at an overseas audience. It’s not just the question of translating word by word but concentrating on what’s called localization of the translation.

Cultural Considerations for Translation

Localization is a complement to a professional translation as the translation is modified so that it takes into consideration the customs and local culture of the targeted customers. This is part of translation culture used today to ensure that the meaning of the text gets through to the largest audience.

An example of a culturally appropriate phrase in advertising material might be the phrase ‘put your feet up and relax’. This is fine to use in a Western culture but if it was used in the UAE and some other Asian countries it would appear quite rude, as putting your feet up and exposing the soles of your feet to others is simply not appropriate. A good translator would understand that the same phrase in English would not go down well if translated literally into some other languages so it would be necessary to find a culturally appropriate phrase that still puts across the same message and have the desired impact.

Considering cultural matters is very important when translating marketing material for an international audience. The whole aim of marketing is to be able to promote a service or product, effectively to draw more sales. Any advertising material that appears offensive will bring about the opposite effect. This means the prime aim for considerations in translation is the culture of the target market. Products reach all corners of the globe but sales are highest where the advertising of the product matches the culture of the potential customer.

For example, if a soft drink company wants to show images of women to accompany any appropriate slogans and the targeted audience is Muslim women in Saudi Arabia it would not be appropriate to show the women without a headscarf at least. It may cause offense and even banning of the product if the advertising material is viewed as inappropriate. This is the sort of translation culture all translation companies and their translators need to be aware of all the time.