Language translation is not always easy because mistakes are often made. For example, a direct translation of marketing material may turn into a strong marketing message that could be humorous, offensive or make no sense at all. When marketing material is being translated certain key points need to be considered before the translation process has begun.

Translating Your Marketing Material

Translate the Message, not just the Words

An experienced translator will always concentrate on understanding the message when in the process of translating any marketing content. In marketing, environment communications is critical in order to make sure the message will resonate with its intended audience.  The translator must go beyond any literal translation of the words in the message. When translating creative content into an additional language, the message needs to be just as effective as the original message in the source language.

Understanding Cultural Nuances

Understanding the intended audience’s culture is important when translating marketing content. It is not that difficult to translate words correctly but at times they may come across with a double meaning or the reaction to the translated material might not be quite what was expected.

One well-known example of poor marketing tactics was using the word Orange, which came over as a mixed message when an important telecommunications operator of that name launched a marketing campaign in Ireland. The message used was “Your future will be bright if your future is with Orange”.   Anyone who lives in Ireland will know what the word orange means and that is the Orange Order, which is a Protestant organization which is known to be sectarian and have supremacist views.  Not exactly what the Orange brand wants to be known for in a predominantly Catholic country. In this case, the company Orange should have thought more carefully about using their product’s marketing message in the way it did.

Slogans Rarely Work for all Cultures

Slogans can be the trickiest part of a marketing translation. A marketer may work for several months or years to create that just perfect combination of wording that captures the customer’s attention and therefore triggers a positive reaction. A slogan should set out to remind the audience why the brand is liked to begin with. Translating the same slogan in many languages is not always the best thing to do. It needs to be adapted for each language and its audience which may involve some research first.

Matching both Tone and Style to the Brand

Most marketing material in its normal or source language will come across with a certain tone and style which suits the brand. When this marketing material is translated into different languages, it is so important to maintain the same tone and style.

Use of Colour and Symbols

Use of colour and symbols should resonate well with the intended audience. Making mistakes with the colour of images or font in marketing material may put off the intended audience. It is important that when the material is translated that adjustments are made to these features so that customers are won not lost once the translation has been completed. It is quite surprising how just one slip up could ruin the marketing potential to a specific culture. The brand owner should check with somebody who knows the culture and language group that is being targeted and can check the marketing material for relevance before the translation begins.

Marketing translation can be quite challenging, as it needs the translator to have quite a unique set of qualifications and skills. If the translator has had some experience living and working in the targeted country(ies) then this direct contact will help to ensure the marketing translations fit the cultural trends of the country so that the marketing material message doesn’t get lost in translation. Quite simply understanding both language and culture is important when marketing messages are translated.