Marketing translation services seem to be vital nowadays when it comes to online content. Today, the globalisation of markets makes it necessary to convey all this content in different languages and, above all, to different cultures. But what sets marketing translation apart from other specialised professional translation services? Is there really a difference?

Digital Marketing and Translation – The Basics
Digital Marketing: A Change in Perspective
Translation & Digital Marketing – A Promising Couple
4 Keys to Marketing Translation

1. Marketing Translation Must Adapt to the Local Culture
2. Slogans and Products Names – The Trick to Marketing Translation
3. Maintaining Tone and Style in Marketing Translation
4. Translation, Marketing and Sales Strategies

Marketing Translation Services with Nóvalo Language Creatives

Digital Marketing and Translation – The Basics

If we want to understand in depth what marketing translation entails and, in particular, digital marketing, it is essential to understand the special characteristics of marketing in the digital and online world. Digital marketing is made up of all those strategies that help a company’s value proposition, or its products, stir up the interest of its customers via online channels.

Creating rich, engaging and persuasive content will make it easier for potential buyers to purchase the products, services or solutions offered by a business.

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Digital Marketing — A Change in Perspective

Digital marketing, therefore, turns the traditional view of marketing on its head. We thus move from “chasing” potential customers to an approach that aims to make them come to us through online channels.

To this end, as with traditional marketing, it is important to maintain a consistent brand image. As you can imagine, brand image is not just about visuals. The image of a business ranges from its colours, logos and products to the way and tone used in their customer communications.

Translation & Digital Marketing – A Promising Couple

Nowadays, the global access to markets provided by the Internet makes a good marketing translation the cornerstone of many companies’ internationalisation strategy. With the sheer volume of content being produced in a context of increasingly blurred boundaries, the translation of digital marketing allows content to be adapted to different languages and cultures. But is there more to successful marketing translation in the digital environment than just taking into account the target language and culture?

4 Keys to Marketing Translation

Marketing is more than just describing products and services. Good marketing content is characterised by conveying a feeling, an affinity with the brand: in marketing terms, this is called engagement. This ability to build relationships with users and consumers goes beyond what is said into the realm of how it is said. That is why a professional and comprehensive marketing translation service takes into account these four key points.

1. Marketing Translation Must Adapt to the Local Culture

It is crucial that brand content is translated taking into account the local context of the target audience—the socio-cultural profile of the target market. Some words and idiomatic expressions have no equivalent in other languages and, even if they do, they do not necessarily convey the same feeling to the receiver. We can even go so far as to detect words or images that are not considered acceptable in the target culture. A professional marketing translator takes all these details into account when faced with a content marketing translation project.

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A good example of the importance of culture and local context has to do with Apple back in 2016. The Cupertino-based company faced the problem of internationalising its iPhone 7 campaign in Hong Kong. The number 7 in the Hong Kong dialect is pronounced tsat ( 七) and is very similar to the vulgarism used to refer to male genitalia. Although they tried to disguise it by changing their slogan from This is 7 to “This is exactly the iPhone 7”, they could not avoid the mockery on local social media.

The importance of a good adaptation to the local culture or location is so great that many companies in the process of internationalisation or expansion nowadays request the linguistic and cultural adaptation of their texts to the variants of specific regions, and even specific cities.

2. Slogans and Product Names – The Trick to Marketing Translation

Brand copywriters and advertisers spend days and months trying to come up with a slogan or phrase that conveys the essence of the product. The problem with brand slogans is that they are difficult to use, as they are, in all markets. Both slogans and product names have in common that they are often short and culturally loaded. The translator will have to find a cultural equivalent, even if sometimes even opposite words are used.
When Coors brewing company decided to expand to Spanish countries, they took their slogan at the time, “Turn it loose”, and decided to keep it for other countries. However, the American expression “turn it loose”, which implied dropping your restrictions, relaxing, and giving into your impulses to have a good time, became “Suffer from diarrhoea” when it was translated into Spanish. This case highlights the importance of dealing with slogans and product names in the translation of marketing campaigns. We must not forget the previous point, though, since the slogan needs to really work for a specific audience.

3. Maintaining Tone and Style in Marketing Translation

In marketing translation, tone and style should always be established at the beginning of the project. The translator will need to know the type of audience the content is intended for, in order to determine whether the approach should be formal or informal.

All of this helps to ensure that the brand voice is maintained, whatever language is used to translate the marketing copy. This may lead to the case that the literal meaning may deviate from the original and even be a totally different text.

Two very striking examples of this are the translations of Apple and Coca-Cola for the Chinese market. In the case of the Californians, they decided to translate their brand into “pingguo”. The company decided to add value to its most recognisable image by literally translating the word “Apple” into Mandarin Chinese. In the case of Coca-Cola, an example that has been referenced a thousand times as a success story in marketing translation, they opted for the sonority of their name. In China we can drink a refreshing “Kekoukele” which also means “delicious happiness” or “delicious and happiness”. It is clear that not all brands are open to this type of adaptation in all languages, but behind “kekoukele” there was a translator who knew how to maintain the brand’s balance between its original name and its most recognisable message.

traduccion de marketing

Last but not least, in addition to the brand voice, knowing how to convey tone and style allows the brand value to be maintained in any language or culture. The professional marketing translator will have to choose the right words in the requested languages that convey the same idea.

On the other hand, just as a company does not make marketing decisions lightly, the digital marketing translator must dedicate enough time to achieve an optimal result. Rushed translations do not work in the context of marketing.

Ambiguities, nuances, cultural specifics… The translator is aware of all this and, like the copywriters, will spend more time on slogans, headlines and descriptions, as many readers and viewers will make a purchase assessment at first glance.

4. Translation, Marketing and Salese Strategies

If a company intends to expand its sphere of influence into new markets, relegating the role of the specialised marketing translator to the background may be its biggest mistake. As can be inferred from the three points above, the role of the specialised translator in this field goes beyond the purely linguistic aspects.

A professional marketing translator will also be an expert in the marketing concepts, strategies and patterns that govern the target markets of their working languages. Translating marketing content is a laborious and time-consuming task, but when done well, it is worth every second spent.

The time needed for marketing translation is also spent on communication between the professional linguist and the expanding company. The client must be explicit in his requirements and the translator must take into account all the details, and point out any cultural differences that may affect the final translation.

This way, the translator will combine his/her linguistic and marketing knowledge with the information provided by the client in order to capture the hidden nuances of the campaign and find the expression and strategy that will work best in the target market.

Proyectos de éxito

Marketint Translation Services with Nóvalo Language Creatives

At Nóvalo we take into account all the particularities of marketing translation and we have an expert team in order to provide optimal services to businesses and companies in the process of internationalisation. Our services related to digital marketing include Web Positioning (SEO), Copywriting, Translation + SEO, and even Social Media Management and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

In short, a personalised service that is always tailored to the client, because each company is unique and needs a digital marketing strategy adapted to its investment, strategies and corporate policies.