Bilingual Translation Marketing

[ 0 ] April 21, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Bilingual Translation Marketing photoWhen a marketing team is coming up with a new campaign, one of the first things that needs to be figured out is what language to use. If the new campaign is for a new demographic that does not speak the same language as the company, or speaks that language but also others, as is the case with bilingual and multilingual communities, all of this needs to be addressed and dealt with in the best way possible.

Even within the U.S., marketing campaigns can’t keep using only English if companies want to reach as many demographics as possible. Around 20% of consumers who live in the U.S. identify as bilingual, meaning there is at least 20% of the target market that might respond equally well or better to a campaign that targets both of those languages, or targets the one that doesn’t usually get targeted.

The most important thing to remember with bilingualism is that it generally comes accompanied by a bicultural identity. For example, a person who is a native Mandarin speaker but grew up in the U.S. and so speaks English as well not only has to navigate two different languages, but two different cultures. They could renounce their native tongue and culture, but it isn’t likely to happen, especially if they were raised by immigrants who wanted to make sure their children learned about their origins and culture.

Bilingualism and biculturalism are not just something found in the U.S., however. In many countries, especially in Europe and Asia, you will find entire populations who speak two languages fluently, or even more. For example, many regions of Spain have recognized regional languages as well as distinct cultures, such as Catalán in Catalonia or Galician in Galicia., that are used alongside Castilian Spanish in everyday life. Marketers would be wise to take this into account and do adequate research on both language and the cultures that go along with them before making an advertisement that is meant to be for native Catalán speakers, for instance.

What happens when marketing teams forget the bicultural aspect of bilingual marketing is they swing and miss in terms of their translations. Adding in the bicultural aspect could be deemed “transcreation” by some, as it would imply doing more than just translating words from the source language into the appropriate words in the target language. In order to get the target demographic to relate to the marketing campaign, the translation of it needs to make sense culturally as well. Using a synonym for one word, for example, could throw the whole thing off, as perhaps that synonym isn’t used at all and therefore makes the advertisement seem inauthentic.

To deal effectively with the challenges of creating a marketing campaign for more than one language, translators need to be more than just fluent in two or more languages. A good understanding of both of the cultures that are being targeted will help to avoid embarrassing translations as well as ineffective ones. The world is becoming increasingly multilingual, and marketing teams need to be ready to reflect that in their campaigns if they want to be on top of the game.

For an overview of Alpha Omega Translations’ expertise, visit our media and marketing translation page.

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Category: Business Translation

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