“If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen”
So said Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of Germany, highlighting the importance of speaking directly to your target audience. And how right he was!
Ensuring that you translate your marketing message right and that it sounds good in another language is key to being able to sell your products and services successfully abroad.
In some sectors and for certain products, such as medical devices, all packaging and user information should be translated as a matter of health and safety, and to comply with the law.
Avoid the Pitfalls
It is vital that the translation of marketing materials, packaging and instructions for use are carried out professionally in the target language. This shows respect for your target market and shows that you are serious about doing business there.
After all, it is your reputation as a company that is on the line. You can use machine translation for marketing materials if you wish, but it will be very obvious to your intended audience what it is (never mind some of the awful and potentially embarrassing mistakes it may contain).
What’s more, it will show that you aren’t prepared to invest in doing business in their market. That will send out all the wrong signals.
Hints & Tips for Translating Marketing Materials
Ensure that any advertising and marketing materials are not only translated by professional translators, but are also looked at from the cultural perspective of the target market. This way, you will avoid embarrassing and costly mistakes. This is where transcreation comes in, as it involves slightly more in the way of changes to the translated message to ensure that it is culturally appropriate for the target market.
Localising Marketing Materials with Images
It is also important to look at any images that you wish to use. In many Middle Eastern countries, it is not acceptable to use images of women in advertising.
In China, red is a very lucky colour and it symbolises good fortune and happiness, so this is a good colour to use. White, on the other hand, symbolises mourning. In much of the Western world, white is associated with purity.
Scoping Your Audience
It is really important to consider your target audience and to pitch the language accordingly:
- Who are you targeting?
- What sort of tone and style do you want?
- Is this acceptable to your target audience?
- Have you researched competitors’ advertising to see how they are phrasing things?
It is important to set the tone and style before you start. In some languages, for example, you can use the informal “you”, whereas in others, this would never be done in advertising and marketing materials.
Marketing Material Translation File Formats
We can handle a wide variety of formats, including Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, Adobe Illustrator, InPage, PageMaker, Flash and Freehand, on both Mac and PC platforms. To find out more about our DTP services, please take a look at our typesetting services page.