Marketing Translation Traps: 10 Things You Should Know Before Going Global

Did you know that Pepsi once ran a campaign in China with this translation: “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”? The original slogan was not as controversial: “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation.”

Wondering how this mistake happened? If you want to avoid falling into a similar trap, read this article to find out everything you should know about marketing translation before going global.

Marketing translation is not just direct translation

Marketing translation is different than standard document translation. Marketing materials are intended to bring specific results: promote a product, sell a product, or build brand awareness. That’s why the translator shouldn’t just translate content directly but rather adapt it and make it appealing to the target audience.

Idioms are usually different

Idioms and metaphors are commonly used instruments among marketers and advertisers. Unfortunately, these are hard to translate as they require a profound cultural and linguistic understanding of the target country. That’s why professional marketing translators take into consideration various aspects when preparing the materials. They know how to communicate the message using adequate phrases, idioms, and cultural context.

It's best if you consider the target audience

One of the biggest marketing traps brands fall victim to is that they don’t make the translation relevant to the local audience. For the marketing content to serve its purpose, it should involve relevant references, examples, and experiences to relate to it.

Marketing translation should be culturally adapted

When adapting the content for another market, consider the cultural differences too. Work with native-speaking translators who live in the target country and know how to appeal to the local population. Some jokes can turn offensive when translated. The same goes for metaphors. That’s why you should stay away from word-to-word translation and hire a professional marketing translation company to ensure your campaign performs well on a global scale.

You should maintain your brand voice and tone

Even though you should culturally adapt your marketing content for the target audience, you must keep your brand’s unique voice. Despite the necessary changes that might occur during translation, you should take care of the style and tone so that your brand’s values remain the same. Hire specialized marketing translators to help you convey the same message while serving your brand simultaneously.

Translating slogans is tricky

Slogans are the most significant marketing translation trap; they’re short but have a broad purpose. They should be catchy, repetitive, and creative, which is why translating these phrases gets rather challenging. The Pepsi slogan we mentioned above results from mistranslation and cultural misunderstanding, which you should avoid.

Marketing translation agencies provide transcreation services that involve creative language translation and content adaption, ensuring your campaign‘s success on a global scale.

Consider space and characters limitations

Some languages take more space when translated. There are also certain character limits when translating social media content. Consider these limitations when translating marketing materials because they could either slow down the process or cause mistakes.

Culture defines the sense of humor

Your slogan or advertisement might have a joke in it. When translating it to another language, you have to consider that something funny in one country might not make sense in another, or even worse, it could be offensive. A native translator will understand the meaning of humor in the target country, making it easier for them to translate jokes, straplines, and slogans.

Consider color and design adaptation

Marketing materials include layouts, designs, and colors that help recognize the brand. Consider the cultural differences here too. Some images convey particular meanings, and some colors trigger certain feelings, so you’ll also need to adapt them.

Marketing translation requires research

Above all, marketing translation demands a lot of research and in-depth experience of the target market. There are plenty of nuances to consider, which is why going global takes time. You don’t want to risk your brand’s reputation or jeopardize your image. Hire a professional translation agency that will provide expertly adapted content and ensure the success of your campaign.

Language Buró would be happy to help! Our experienced team of marketing translators specializes in tackling all of these issues, so you won’t have to worry. Get in touch with us today for a free quote.