Translating marketing content: an indispensable reflex to seizing global market opportunities

Your ambitions are not limited to your national market, therefore deploying your marketing strategy is essential. With this in mind, you need to get more than the simple assurance of well-translated texts that stick to the source version. The purpose of the marketing message is to capture the customer’s attention and in order to do this, you will have to work those brain cells (hmmmm, how would you translate that?). You invest plenty of hours developing content that hits the mark. Yet, the translated message must be able to accurately reflect your strategy, going beyond just the words and using messages to express tone, lexical field and subtleties.
If you are preparing to translate marketing content, here are some crucial points that you really need to keep in mind

Style, tone and cultural context

It goes without saying that one of the prerequisites is the quality of your original text. The style needs to be carefully thought out as it is a subjective but essential concept in any good marketing translation. The misuse of loanwords and the failure to respect typographical subtleties must be avoided unless used intentionally. The relevance of the chosen tone clearly contributes to the value of the text as well as its effectiveness towards the chosen target. Your teams’ or your communication agency’s accuracy and creative talent are at work here.
Although it is tempting to play on words and use funny winks, it is advisable to avoid them, or at least to ensure that they are not culturally marked. Cultural subtleties which are difficult to translate, are potentially confusing and may cause readability problems in your offer. It is therefore necessary to focus on the message; substance should prevail over form. But be careful with the message too because a text in one country may be offensive to some clients while elsewhere it will arouse their interest. For example, French marketing documents insist on the quality and socially positive vision of the product or service whereas in America, they will aim to enhance the client’s personal enrichment and accumulation of income.
If you choose to use an offbeat tone, remember that you will need to find the equivalent in the target language and ensure that it is also in accordance with its cultural context. As such, you must make sure that translators work into their mother tongue.
French people remain fond of a simple text but one that is respectful of politeness conventions and a certain level of “professional” language, whereas anglophones are known to be more familiar, using short and dynamic sentences.

Transcreation, the creative translation

The rules of a good translation are generally very strict: respecting the source text is the priority. A good translator must therefore be careful not to reinterpret a text by undertranslating or overtranslating. Translators are not chosen to give their opinion or to rewrite the text, they adapt the original text into their native language. No more, no less. Translators are called to localise when they adapt the content to the culture of the target language (currencies, local holidays, etc), but that’s where it stops.
The marketing message however is another matter…
During a marketing translation, the linguists use the power of words or expressions to evoke and suggest something else, subtly conveying other realities. Between “spirit” and “letter”, marketing has chosen: it is the spirit which prevails. The spirit of the text as well as the company’s market position.
Transcreation = Translation + Editorial Writing
Transcreation follows a very specific methodology with participants who are different from those usually involved. Firstly, a translator specializing in marketing translation is recruited, then other resources (not necessarily linguists but bilingual) who specialise in communication/marketing content creation. These other actors focus on the final translated text, while referring to the source text to modulate phrases, slogans or catchphrases.

Content Marketing and Recurrence

If you have regular specific needs requiring high flexibility and responsiveness, you need to make sure that you have established a very rigorous process adapted to small volumes. Translating your digital marketing campaigns – updates to websites, news articles, blog posts, social networks, etc – requires a well-run organization in order to avoid disappointment. The very notion of a publishing schedule makes precise deliveries indispensable. In this context, having a stable team of linguists dedicated to your project is essential. This allows everyone to take ownership of processes such as editorial codes that will ensure timeliness and content consistency. Your editorial line is then likely to be fully respected and released on time!
Developing a glossary by compiling your usual terminology is recommended. This step allows everyone to be in sync with the chosen words. It is very useful internationally and as part of a translation project but also for your internal teams. Everyone knows exactly what we are talking about.

Translation and SEO

Digital marketing publications are an integral part of your marketing strategy and the importance of SEO must be taken into account in the target language. You generally pay a lot of attention to the logic of natural referencing in the context of writing your content, so it would be relevant to do just as much for translated versions. This can take the form of an audit of the keywords in the target language or a more in-depth work on the whole lexical field.
Be that as it may, do not neglect this aspect of your translation project. Optimizing your content for SEO cannot be improvised; the dedicated translators must be experienced linguists in your field but also experienced in multilingual SEO techniques. The additional cost devoted to SEO is very likely to be profitable, so consider doing this in order to boost the audience of your content in foreign languages.

In conclusion

In order to guarantee the quality and efficiency of your marketing translation project, we advise you to:

• Invest time at the beginning of a collaboration in order to align the project with your provider, to answer their questions, to validate their methodology and to communicate with the project manager,
• Transmit the spirit and the culture of your company, the added value of your services or target products to allow the team involved in your project to appropriate them as much as possible,
• Have good quality source documents both in substance and in form. Consider building a terminology base if it is not done; even a modest terminology base will be a good reference tool,
• Choose carefully the source file formats and anticipate any possible DTP needs for the adaptation of your documents,
• Consider investing in your translation project as a lever for international growth and give it the same care as your source content.

Do you have questions that we have not answered here? Do not hesitate to contact us, we would be delighted to provide you with more information!

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