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março 7, 2020 |

Why Cultural Insights Are Essential to Marketing Translation 

Global brands need to take customers’ values and diverse cultures into account when pushing marketing campaigns in front of international audiences. Otherwise, marketing translation could fail to draw emotions and trigger the required action. 

The cultural background of your audience either allows them or prevents them from understanding your message. 

Language service providers need to have the cultural insights necessary to deliver customized content for every local market. Let’s see what makes the cultural component so crucial in international marketing and how brands can leverage cultural insights to communicate with a multilingual public. 

Understanding Cultural Nuances

Cultural nuances influence every aspect of people’s lives, including how they interact with brands and make purchases. Companies looking to sell in local markets should pay attention to how they integrate cultural insights to build a global brand voice. 

In marketing translation, these nuances refer to everything that can influence how people receive and comprehend brand content–such as sharing brand values in writings or using figurative speech. Whenever cultural elements are involved, translators should avoid any hidden pitfalls that could make content inappropriate. 

Think of metaphors and analogies, which are often used to color marketing materials. They have precise meanings in English, but what happens when you try to translate them into another language? The more you rely on figurative speech to make your point, the harder it becomes to provide an accurate translation without cultural insights. 

So, instead of translating the words, linguists need to transcreate the message to make it accessible to the target audience. In this case, marketing translation becomes transcreation, which means that experts find a figurative phrase that has the same meaning in the target culture as the original metaphor. 

Why go to all that trouble? Because with this method, your brand keeps its voice intact, and multilingual audiences receive the same core message you want to convey. 

The Importance of Culture in Marketing Translation

As more brands go global and build an international presence, customers are expecting more customization in marketing content. The good news is that you can do that successfully during the localization project. 

As you translate your original website and marketing materials, you can modify the content to make it accessible and usable by multiple audiences, in more languages. At the same time, it’s the perfect moment to reshape it to make it culturally suitable to every country and region that you target. 

When you’re aware of the impact that culture has on your bottom line, you can get rid of problems before they even arise. That’s because an in-depth understanding of the target culture eliminates the risks of sending the wrong message to the wrong people. 

During localization, translators analyze all your content from a native’s point of view and evaluate its ability to engage based on a different set of values. From phrases to idioms and humor, everything needs to be transcreated to fit in with the new culture. The ultimate challenge is to rewrite everything while making sure your brand voice doesn’t get lost or diluted during the process. 

Marketing translation boosts your global presence and helps you to streamline communication with potential customers in all the languages that you need. 

Areas Where Cultural Insights Make a Difference

Marketing translation and localization include more than rewriting social messages, ads, and marketing materials. You need to involve an entire team in the project to include translators, graphic designers, and local marketers. 

This means that your messages probably need a complete makeover to be compelling. Besides the text messages, you should make sure that visual elements respect local cultures as well. The areas where cultural nuances make a difference are symbols, pictures, and colors. 

1) Symbols

The use of symbolism is common practice in marketing. However, symbols can often cause problems in translation and localization, as the meaning behind them varies with every country. Western symbols don’t always mean the same, globally. 

What may seem like universal symbols, such as hearts, flowers, or checkmarks, could be offensive to entire cultures or segments of the public. For example, the “OK” sign with your finger is now on the list of hate symbols. 

The solution is to either eliminate them from your content or be ready to translate all symbols, including emojis. 

2) Pictures

As a brand, you can’t translate pictures. However, you can localize them to help local audiences engage with what they see. Images carry more cultural messages than you can imagine. 

What may seem like a fair representation of everyday life for you can be offensive to another culture. Images that recall religious practices, same-sex couples, or gender equality may spark debates in many regions worldwide. 

If your strategy is standing up for an idea, you should use cultural insights to make sure that your target audience is ready to embrace the message. Otherwise, you risk scaring people off by asking them to adopt a change that they’re not comfortable with. 

3) Colors

It’s no secret that colors can change the mood of consumers and influence their buying decisions. At the same time, cultures give different meanings to each color, so always make sure you’re not evoking the wrong emotions. 

Luckily, there’s no right and wrong in this area. Coca-Cola has the same white on red logo everywhere, and no one seems to be bothered about it. The color red is loaded with multiple cultural meanings around the world, and yet, everyone keeps associating it with Coca-Cola anyway. 

Many other international brands, such as PayPal, Microsoft, and Facebook, haven’t changed colors in the localization process either. However, they continue to be examples of marketing translation best practices

Creating a Bigger Impact Through Localization

No brand can escape the influence of culture. Choosing to ignore what makes people different might keep you from connecting with your target public. 

Cultural insights are essential for marketing translation, as they’re the glue that keeps all the elements together in a localization project. 

When you expand outside national borders, start by learning as much as you can about the people you’re targeting. This way, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing messages and capture the attention of your potential clients, regardless of the language they speak.