Marketing can be defined, in a broad sense, as the system a business adopts to advertise their services or products with the goal of selling them. It rests on careful research about the market where a product wants to be offered, which involves analyzing possible competitors, paying attention to potential customers’ needs, and translating the promotional content.
To promote their products, brands draw up and adopt marketing strategies to grab the attention of key potential audiences. Copies are created with specific attention to potential readers, with the aim of resonating with them. Moreover, they combine appealing designs together with easy-reading texts and attractive language.
In this fast-paced digital world, images have become the major channel through which messages are conveyed. Nevertheless, marketing also relies heavily on language to meet their objectives since upmarket images go along with written content to deliver high-quality messaging.
Most companies and organizations develop marketing content directed to promotion or sale. Nonetheless, the material isn’t always purely promotional: sometimes, the information provided is a combination of technical information about the service or product (such as Spec Sheets or infographics) geared towards marketing.
Some might be familiar with the expression “think globally, act locally.” The truth is that, to attract new customers, interact with clients and sell products, businesses need to be accessible in the local language. However, this isn’t easy work. To engage the reader, many advertisements include idiomatic expressions that are culturally dependent and use colloquial language, which makes the job of translating them challenging. If a translator doesn’t identify idioms or colloquialisms, they may suffer language mishaps and end up with an awkward or inaccurate text in the target language.
Additionally, brands make use of informal register to appeal to the reader. Take the case of pronouns in Spanish. If a brand’s target audience is Argentina or Uruguay (“Rioplatense” Spanish), they should consider the use of the pronoun “vos”, the so-called “voseo”. Accordingly, if they are aiming at Latin America in general, the pronoun “tú” would be more suitable.
What’s more, translators must be precise when using specific terminology. It isn’t only a matter of finding equivalents, they have to find the words in the target language that best fit the local context, while making the text appear natural and attractive. This is why marketing language can’t be translated word-for-word.
Besides, when it comes to translation of marketing content, it is paramount that the target audience can read the text as if it was the original, and not a translation. Literal translations should be avoided, since they can result in unnatural renditions that don’t communicate the original message of the brand as intended. Marketing texts should read fluently and, for that, translators need to be proficient in the language they are translating to, which involves not only knowing idioms and expressions, but also usual collocations and having an extensive grammar knowledge.
Apart from geographical and cultural nuances, professional marketing translators pay close attention to the space available for translating the content. Some languages are translated longer than English, so more space is required. In social media, postings are usually constrained by a certain number of characters. When designing social copy materials, translators must consider these limits. Accordingly, they might have to translate the copy more freely or even rewrite it in the target language instead of just translating it. In such cases, their job is similar to the process of “transcreation”, where they can translate creatively and have more artistic license to preserve the tone, intent and emotions of the original copy.
Marketing texts are also characterized by their visibility, as in social media or websites. As they are highly visible and reach broader audiences, they need high quality translation. Again, this entails careful consideration, precision and fluency in the target mother tongue.
Careful attention to detail is essential for the success of any project. Marketing translation is complex and requires professional native speakers with specialized knowledge to ensure that messages are culturally appropriate, linguistically correct, and translated with quality.