How to make sure your brand doesn’t get lost in translation

18/10/2018 | Rebecca Twose

A business’ brand is much more than a logo, slogan or any other marketing material. The brand is essentially a business’ personality. It reflects their core values, key messages, corporate image, and services. Building a brand takes time, and keeping a brand relevant within any industry or market is something that needs constant attention especially in today’s highly competitive business environment.

Making sure that a business’ brand is portrayed accurately and professionally to an audience is essential when trying to build a strong reputation within a selected market, and it is even more crucial if a company is looking to increase brand awareness internationally and expand into new markets. Jane Ditcham, Account Director at Campaign, stated that “when a brand goes abroad it needs to make sure it’s message doesn’t get lost in translation.”

Anything from a brand’s slogan, logo, company name, and even its brand values can get lost in translation. All of these aspects of the brand contribute to the entire brand identity and if they are mistranslated in a foreign market then this will inevitably affect the reputation, and long-term success, of that brand within its new market. There are several services that businesses can use to make sure their brand doesn’t get lost in translation…

Transcreation

Also known as creative translation, transcreation is the ability to creatively adapt materials, translating and recreating them so that they work in another language and market. The difference between transcreation and translation is that transcreation works from a creative brief, unlike translation which works from the original source text (pre-defined wording). Transcreation ensures that your translated marketing materials have the same style and feeling as the original texts.

Transcreation makes sure that a brand’s name, slogan, logo and more, are suitable and effective for the target market in order for the brand to have the best chance at international success. The brand’s current marketing materials may work perfectly in their domestic market, however, this does not mean that these materials can just be translated into the language of your new foreign market.

Culture plays a big role in a person’s day‑to‑day life from the way products are sold in shops to how a website is presented. Seemingly small things that we may not even normally notice, such as images and fonts used in an advert, can have a huge impact on the success of your marketing campaign abroad. By just using translation alone, brands are in danger of their marketing materials not having the same meaning abroad, therefore making them less effective at attracting business in their new market.

Localisation

Localisation goes one step further than translation, by using a localisation service the translation of a brand’s content is tailored to their specific target market. Localisation takes into account established cultural norms and societal attitudes and the impact of simply taking the time to consider local sensitivities, and adapting their brand appropriately, can be huge.

Many brands make the mistake of using localisation towards the end of their expansion process, right before they are about to launch in their new market. A proactive approach is more effective, as integrating localisation into the process from the very beginning prepares your brand for its new location, culture and audience.

When a brand invests in localisation it offers their target market a personalised experience, which can result in increased engagement and greater customer trust in the brand. According to an Appia study, 86% of localised campaigns outperformed campaigns that were in English in terms of total click-throughs and conversions. This highlights the benefits that investing in a localisation service can have on brands who are looking to expand internationally.

Multilingual Social Media

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people are actively using social media globally and that figure is expected to increase to over 3 billion in 2021. It’s clear to see why businesses make social media a part of their international marketing strategy, as it’s a great tool that allows brands to connect directly with their target market. Social media marketing builds brand awareness in any territory new or existing, and lets brand’s show off their personality, making them stand out from their competitors.

The importance of social media marketing has the same value, if not more when a brand is looking to expand internationally and this is where multilingual social media is needed. The success of a multilingual social media strategy, and ensuring a business brand doesn’t get lost in translation, comes down to the way in which the social media strategy is communicated.  The Common Sense Advisory reported that 72.4% of web users are more likely to buy from a brand which gave product information in their native language, meaning that social communication with customers should also be undertaken in their native language to encourage, engagement, brand loyalty and sales.

Social media is also used differently across the world. In Italy, more people use Google+ than Twitter, while in China, WeChat, which is similar to Twitter, is the go‑to platform for many businesses. This means that brand’s need to think about expanding the range of social media platforms they use as there is no point investing in multilingual social media marketing for a platform that is not popular in that country. Another thing businesses need to consider is keeping their social media channels separate for each language. Brand’s don’t want to annoy their English‑speaking followers by sending out social posts in multiple languages from their English account. By setting up an account per language, and keeping the posts and languages separate, brands can tailor their social media marketing to that specific market, which will inevitable enrich their follower’s experience.

If you’re looking to expand your business’ brand internationally then contact our multilingual digital teams now to see how our services can help you with the process and assist you with all your marketing needs, in order to make sure your brand doesn’t get lost in translation.

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