Your marketing materials are the face of your brand, and if you decide to translate these for your global markets it is important that as much care is taken with the translations as with creating the original English copy. Errors in translation can lead to embarrassment for your company and potential loss of business in these markets. If you want to ensure that you have high quality translated marketing materials, here are a few key points that you need to take into consideration.
It is important that the source text that you have for translation has been thoroughly checked for any errors, as these errors can be magnified, in a way that is similar to “Chinese whispers”, in the translated text. It is worth analysing your text at this stage to check if it contains any specific cultural references that need to be handled carefully. For example, if you are marketing yourself as a quintessentially British brand, do you want to maintain British cultural references, or would you like to have these localised into cultural references that are directly relevant to your target market?
You may also consider your brand name: do you know if your brand name could cause offense or mean something completely different in your target market? It is worth asking your supplier to check this, so that any embarrassment is avoided. If it is the case that you need to change your brand name, you will need to consider transcreating a name that is suitable and appealing to your target market.
Marketing translations require that the translator has a deep understanding of the source text and target audience. Make sure that you supply your LSP (Language Service Provider) or translator with as much context to the materials as possible. This could include briefing documents about the style, tone and terminology that you want to use, and more importantly that you want to avoid. You could also provide brand guidelines and previous translations that you are happy with. The more information your translator has about your brand, the better, as it helps them to put your marketing materials into context, and guides them as to how you want your company to be perceived.
It is important to remember that producing marketing translations is a more creative process than many other translation services – it is less about being completely faithful to the source text and more about creating localised and captivating text for the target market. However, it is important to be aware that some things are harder to translate than others, so if your source text contains puns, idioms or humour, it is worth considering how well these will translate to your target market. In cases like this, transcreation is often the best option to ensure that the intent of the materials does not fall flat with your audience.
It is very important that you don’t rush the translation. Marketing translations are the face of your brand and it’s more important to get them done right than to get them done quickly. If you don’t have an in-country reviewer to proofread your translated text, make sure that you have it proofread by a second independent translator to ensure the style, tone and terminology are optimised for your audience.