Translations – Marketing

[ 0 ] October 7, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

translations-marketing-artMarketing is up there in terms of important industries in the world that are proving more important with the onset of globalization. Companies that don’t have a good handle on marketing are guaranteed to not be as successful as their contemporaries who have entire marketing departments with several successful campaigns under their belts. This all may seem very obvious to some, but there are still companies that need to rethink how they handle marketing, especially if they want to go global.

Translation is undeniably a huge part of any global marketing campaign, and can make or break it depending on how it is done. When you add globalization to marketing, there are several new challenges that are created and have to be dealt with the right way for success to be in your future. Some of these challenges are related to translation in general, but marketing adds so much to the picture that you really have to look at it as “marketing translation” and not translation that happens to be for marketing purposes.

Some experts would argue that it would be better to call the process of translating for marketing purposes something different, like “transcreation”. This isn’t really necessary, except to point out the fact that, many times, the original text or content needs to be broken down and rebuilt in a different way, a way that will resonate with the target audience and make them feel like the brand knows them and their culture. It is much more than just taking the text and translating it into another language.

In order to create a successful marketing translation, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First of all, things like humor, plays on words, and idioms are not the same in each language. You are going to have to start from scratch, and get input and insight from people who are experts in the target audience’s culture so your joke doesn’t fall flat or make no sense at all. If you have experience using humor and other linguistic tricks in marketing content, then you know how crucial it is to get the language and references just right.

Another challenging aspect of marketing translation is the fact that you have to translate visual things as well, such as color scheme, images, and even format and layout. Sure, there are some colors and photos that get a similar point across in many cultures, but if you don’t do your research, you risk your campaign falling flat, or worse, offending your target audience. A good example of this would be using a lot of white for a marketing campaign, and not changing that when translating it and localizing it for Japan. White may be symbolic of purity and cleanliness in the U.S., but in Japan it is associated with the color of bones, and thus death.

Lastly, make sure you learn as much as you can about your target audience’s culture, including superstitions, religious beliefs, and taboos. You should have someone on staff or a consultant who is an expert in localizing for your target audience, so you avoid any mishaps, especially in terms of your brand name and its possible meanings in the target language. There have been many instances of the English name of a brand being an offensive word in the target language, or maybe meaning something that has nothing to do with the brand itself. Stay on top of all of those things, and marketing translation won’t seem like such an impossible task.

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

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Category: Business Translation