Marketing Translation: Cultural Expertise is a Must

Translating marketing content into a different language comes with a lot of strings attached. International marketing in particular requires close attention to the cultural oddities in the target market, the corporate wording in the target language, and the respective target audience as such. That is why a language service provider has to do some important groundwork collecting facts before translation even begins, such as the intended target audience of the text, the steps that are subsequently to be carried out, the format of the finished text, whether or not it will be printed, whether there are any terminology requirements, etc.

Such marketing content is included in a number of projects, e.g. information or image brochures, websites, SEO keywords, brand claims, social media texts, or image videos. All these texts or media content start out in one language, and companies wish for the message to be translated with inherent consistency into the languages of the other countries where they do business.

That is where a consultant comes in. After all, the translation or localization approach adopted by the specialized translator, copywriter, or marketing expert will differ according to the type of text, expectations, and the target audience.

A marketing adaptation or “transcreation”, for example, makes sure that the intended effect of the marking text is not lost in translation. In addition to specialized translators, creative experts work on the texts on site in order to adapt them to the respective target markets.

Creative marketing service is even more complex: Creative content in various formats, such as images, texts, and apps, is localized for various channels, i.e. steps are taken to make sure that such content appeals to the new target audience and its message still comes across. Image selection in particular requires expertise in order to navigate the cultural minefield: Image content carries by no means the same message in any given country, thus supporting the overall concept.

The art of web localization is to create a website in several language versions which all communicate the same original message and appeal to consumers all over the world. In a process similar to marketing adaptation, experts from the respective target markets review the texts on site and make the necessary adjustments.

Websites are meant to be found, so there is usually a list of keywords or meta descriptions for search engine optimization purposes. It is not enough to use a simple translation as the basis for SEO, because different markets use different search terms: yet another reason for expert knowledge. The search terms which are actually used in the respective countries are added to the keywords and can be included in the website translation.

Apart from all that, there are other language services pertaining to international marketing, of course. All of these require close cooperation between vendor and client, based on mutual trust, so that important information can be communicated and successfully put to good use. This process takes time. And it also takes talented experts who do not just have the know-how but also the feel for the language. Then every translation will be an asset.