Written by Ján Haláček.
Over the last decade, translation gained in prominence as a profession due to the rise in globalization. Marketing translators have played a key part in the modern communication processes as they help to forge links between different cultures and audiences. But not many people actually give much thought to the travails of translators, nor do they know a lot about the marketing translation nunances and routine.
Even those people who have to deal with or seek marketing translation services every so often know little about what this type of translation entails. But as with every other translation domain, marketing translators do have a lot to offer and share with the world. In this article, my intention is to throw some light on a how to approach marketing translation.
1. Marketing translation differs from standard translation or other kinds of translation such as technical, legal and medical translation
The marketing content is specifically composed to fit the brand, keeping in mind how it appeals to its intended target audience.
First of all, understanding the goal of marketing copy is paramount. Is it to usher your brand and its character, to describe its benefits, to communicate its USP or to define your audience’s reason to believe? Whatever the purpose, it is important to understand the aim of the copy. Only then one can apply the appropriate process to achieve the desired result.
In order to translate marketing copy, further stages are required to ensure the message is creatively adapted and communicated effectively.
The only way to deliver high quality results is to have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the target audience.
Strong writing skills are also extremely important and so is creative licence. Allowing writers creative freedom is key to successfully adapt marketing copy. While good technical translators are expected to be extremely accurate and as faithful as possible to the original text, marketing translators should be focused on meaning, brand values and tone of voice, not the actual words.
2. It needs to adapt to the market’s cultural context
Every translation field has its own headaches and pitfalls, however, the adaptation of marketing copy to several local cultures is particularly challenging. It is preferable that the marketing translator lives in the target country so he or she fully understands the local culture. The issue of cultural differences is at work here. The marketing translation should be locally appealing; thus, the translator must bear in mind the cultural implications of the marketing content.
3. Idioms are culturally dependent
Metaphors and idioms are often employed in advertising and marketing copy. A professional marketing translator will take into account the cultural preferences when translating the marketing content, digressing from word-for-word translation and instead will remember to change the reference based on the target audience. The translator will still come up with a convincing and engaging copy in another language, which may not reflect completely the original but the message will still be the same as the original.
4. Catchphrases are tricky
Slogans and catchwords have to be carefully evaluated by a copywriter. They are meant to personify the core of the product that justifiess their repetition so that the public would remember them. Most importantly, the marketing translator should be a copywriter as well because one of the requirements of marketing translation is knowing how the products should be promoted.