Professional Translation Protects Your Brand Message Across Languages

 In Business Translation, Consulting, Localization, Translation

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Your company is on the precipice of expanding its products and services internationally. After hundreds of labor hours, countless strategic meetings, thorough market research, and thousands of dollars, your product is ready to launch in a new country.

Upon launch – the unthinkable happens. Your brand message was mistranslated and does not carry over into the new language. Potential consumers are confused or offended, profits plummet, and all that hard work and money put into the project is wasted.

Believe it or not, this scenario happens over and over again as companies hire inexperienced language services providers (LSPs) to translate brand messages, marketing collateral, and other important business materials.

Protecting Your Brand

Your company’s brand ties together a combination of the company’s image, emotions, customer experiences, mission statement, values, employees, differentiators, and so much more. These aspects work seamlessly together after countless hours of strategic planning, experimentation, and execution. The brand completely and uniquely conveys a message that resonates with your specific consumers.

As your company launches its product in a new market, a new country, and a new language—your precious and calculated brand message MUST be protected with accurate, professional translation.

Unfortunately, translation is often an afterthought when companies decide to take their products and services to international markets. They forget to put language services in their budget and opt to go with the cheapest translation, instead of prioritizing quality.

Do NOT let this happen to your brand. Partner smart, with an experienced LSP who only utilizes language professionals who are native to the country and region the target language is spoken.

Common Mistakes

Trademarks

Partnering with an inexperienced LSP will result in devastating and expensive mistakes by unqualified translators.

For example, mistakes in trademark translations. Trademarks are globally recognized and legally protected, but ONLY in the language you originally received the trademark in. When companies expand internationally, products must be labeled with the trademarked name. Often, the original trademarked name is present AND there is a translation explaining what the name says.

However, if only the translation of the product name is present—without the original trademarked name—the company will be exposed to potential legal action from other companies who have that translation trademarked.

A trademark translation mistake would NOT be made by experienced LSPs who would utilize language professionals specializing in business and product translation.

Website Localization

Another common mistake manifests during the translation of your website, also known as website localization. In an ever-growing digital world, first impressions are often made from visiting a company’s website or viewing their ads online.

Many companies do not realize the design elements that go into translating websites into a different language—especially when the target language is read in a different direction than English.

For example, American English is read from left-to-right, while Arabic script is read from right-to-left. If you were translating your website into Arabic, your web developers, graphic designers, and the LSP’s language professionals must take this new text direction into account. This includes mirroring any images, tables, calendars, and tabs on your website.

Also, languages must be coded correctly by experienced web developers so that all the characters are represented accurately on the screen. Cyrillic languages, for example, have some characters that are the same as English, and some that are not. If your website is not coded correctly, characters will be represented by empty boxes or odd symbols the web language uses to compensate.

Is that how you want your new consumers’ first experience with your company to be? Unable to read your content on your website? Of course not. Partner with an LSP who is skilled in website localization, and your consumers will receive the right message every time.

Lost in Translation

There are a few companies who botched their international debut and damaged their brand image with bad translation.

Here are a few examples:

Ford Pinto

Ford’s attempt to penetrate the Belgium market failed miserably when an advertisement for the Ford Pinto included a major mistranslation. The advertisement was supposed to convey the message “Every car has a high-quality body”. To Ford’s dismay, this message was mistranslated into “Every car has a high-quality corpse”. Ouch, what a way to lose consumers.

 

  

 

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Coors attempted to bring their signature American beer to Spain consumers, and utterly failed. Their slogan “Turn It Loose”, which resonated with American consumers did not translate well for Spain. This expression in Spanish was translated to “Suffer from Diarrhea”. This is a great example of how colloquialisms can translate incorrectly. A translator native to Spain would NOT have made this mistake.

 

 

Bad translation, got milk?

Everyone remembers the famous campaign slogan “Got Milk?” With funny milk mustaches on celebrities and famous athletes, milk was positioned in American consumers’ minds as the #1 way to get your daily dose of calcium. When this slogan was translated for Spanish speaking consumers, there was a huge cultural disconnect. Instead of “Got Milk?”, the ad read “Are you Lactating?” in Spanish. Consumers found this uncomfortable and offensive.

 

By partnering with a knowledgeable LSP that utilizes translators who are native to the region your company is targeting, and who are skilled in business translation and vernacular, you will be confident and secure knowing that your brand message is in safe hands.

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