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October 24, 2019 |

The Dos and Don’ts of Translating Marketing Content

Translating marketing content helps you to maintain a unique brand voice across international markets. However, a plain translation may not bring you optimal ROI. 

That’s because translating marketing content involves transcreation, as well as in-depth knowledge of your brand and your public. It can become tricky, especially when you’re just starting to build a global presence and you have to make an excellent first impression. 

So, here are the dos and don’ts of translating marketing content to help you plan your international content strategy.  

5 Dos of Translating Marketing Content

You put a lot of effort into creating, producing, and sharing your marketing content in English. So, what can you do to get the same results from your multilingual content? 

1) Translate All That Matters

When translating marketing content, you should focus on consistency and providing all the information necessary to boost awareness and increase engagement. Cutting corners by translating only some of your marketing content shouldn’t be part of your international strategy. 

So, make sure you translate all that matters to make your marketing messages easy to understand. If your campaign includes blog posts, infographics, videos, landing pages, or social media interaction of any kind, make sure you deliver everything in the same language. 

2) Make It Clear Who the Target Audience Is

Whenever you initiate a marketing translation project, make sure that your language service provider knows as much as possible about your public. Details like age, region, cultural background, and education are essential for translators. 

The more they know about your target public, the easier it is to customize the translation to match a specific audience. This way, you can make your marketing content appealing in multiple languages and see a better return on your translation and marketing efforts. 

3) Create a Style Guide

A translator’s style guide helps you to establish a style that all language service providers will follow, regardless of the languages they translate. It allows you to maintain consistency across multiple markets worldwide. At the same time, it teaches translators your brand voice, making it easier and faster for language experts to send the right message. 

It should include instructions on language use, abbreviations, acronyms, industry-specific terminology, and where necessary, technical or regulatory compliance. The style guide should also contain recommendations regarding the tone of voice–informal or formal, commercial or educational, fun or academic. 

4) Adapt Visuals to the Local Public

Visuals are fundamental in marketing, so make sure you localize them for international audiences. This means that you should adapt photos and infographics every time you translate your marketing content. 

Make sure you translate all the text in images. Otherwise, you risk confusing people and losing their attention. Moreover, if the visuals contain any pictures than could be considered offensive, you should replace them with “neutral” ones. 

Last, but not least, choose images that people can relate to. Italians, for example, are less likely to feel attracted by an extra-large cup of coffee to go. Just like a Chinese audience wouldn’t empathize with a photo illustrating blond kids having milk and cereal for breakfast. 

5) Work with Native Linguists and Marketers

Native linguists have the advantage of understanding your audience well. They live with these people, share the same cultural background and know how every segment of the population speaks. 

Moreover, linguists and marketers have the language skills necessary to craft compelling marketing messages that speak to the heart of a local audience while keeping your brand voice intact.

5 Don’ts of Translating Marketing Content

Translating marketing content for global audiences is a creative process that requires time and constant communication with your translation team. Errors could slow down the entire process, making you waste resources and even placing your international reputation at risk. Here are five things you should try to avoid at all costs:

1) Translate into Too Many Languages at Once

Going global opens infinite possibilities for brands in any industry. However, just because you can sell anywhere, doesn’t mean you should put all your resources in localization and translation projects. 

Every time you decide to translate marketing content, make sure the target market is ready for it. Otherwise, you risk forcing campaigns in front of audiences that aren’t ready to interact with your brand at the level you hope for. 

A successful campaign in your country of origin may not bring the same results across the globe due to cultural reasons. Consider the characteristics of every public before investing in translation. 

2) Translate Keywords from the Original Language

Generally, successful marketing content is optimized for search engines. SEO helps you to reach a larger audience, as more people find your content online. And keywords play an important role in how often your content appears in search results. 

That’s why it’s vital to perform keyword research every time you localize for a new country or region. If you settle for plain translation, you could miss out on business opportunities. 

People speak differently from London to New York and their ways of searching for information changes as well. The differences are even more significant when you target populations that speak multiple languages.  

3) Rely Exclusively on Technology

As you can see, translating marketing content isn’t exactly a breeze. Translators need excellent language skills to juggle with concepts and persuasive messages. If you take the shortcut provided by machine translation, you risk ending with some flat marketing content that can’t convert. 

Moreover, machine translation alone isn’t reliable. Your translation could contain grammatical errors, constructions that make no sense to a native speaker, or words that are out of context. You need human translation to make the magic happen. 

4) Ignore Cultural Differences

Your marketing content is the bridge between your brand and your target audience. Any false step can damage your reputation and make a local audience ignore your marketing efforts.

In this light, the cultural part is crucial in marketing translation and localization. Some languages have more than one word to define a concept, each one suitable for a specific context. Not knowing these differences or choosing to ignore them may result in a different outcome from what you planned. 

5) Publish without Proofreading

Make sure your language service provider takes editing and proofreading seriously. This way, you make sure no errors end up in the content your public gets to see. Publishing content that is full of grammatical mistakes and typos says a lot about your brand–and nothing good.

Errors are natural, especially during a complex creative process like translation and transcreation. An extra pair of eyes can make the difference between good and excellent content. 

Increase Brand Awareness with Compelling Marketing Content

When you translate and localize marketing content, you build relationships with your public, regardless of the language they speak. It’s an excellent way of creating a global community around your brand. The key is finding the perfect words in each language to send the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.