Marketing Translations Guide
5 Golden Rules
Marketing texts are all about engagement.
You put together thoughtful sentences and catchy phrases to invoke positive feelings of your readers. You try to create music from words, technical texts in rhyme.
But the result of your efforts might vanish after your materials have been translated for international markets. Words mean little if the message behind them is lost in translation.
Many consumers associate quality of high-tech products and services with the quality of the company’s marketing materials—brochures, product presentations, press releases, websites.
Translation quality is an important decision if you want to capitalize on the rapidly growing Russian-speaking markets.
1. Don’t rely on free/cheap resources
Translation costs are a fraction of investments required for entering a new market or a new industry segment. You may think that you will be saving money, but you will lose in the end.
How much attention do you pay to your marketing strategy? How much do you invest in producing marketing materials? The translation may add to your marketing efforts or ruin them.
If you really want to be effective, you need to follow a content strategy in order to get the results you are looking for. And your most important, mission-critical content is to be handled by professional translators.
2. Stay away from ‘casual’ translations
Half-hearted efforts will waste your money. Moreover, the result can turn offensive for your target audience. A badly translated or confusing copy in an inexpressive language means a possibility of a subconscious negative impulse associated with your company.
Marketing translations require adapting a message to another language while maintaining its style and tone. When compared to usual straight translations, they are much closer to the so-called ‘transcreation’ and sometimes even to copywriting.
Marketing materials are to be recreated for a given target audience instead of just translating existing content. The main task of translation here is to fulfill marketing objectives.
3. Find an expert
Much depends on who owns the marketing budget. If the marketing budget is owned by a local subsidiary, the translation will probably happen locally.
In any case, you need to put the right partner on your side who will help to reach and engage your target audience. And they will bring you a much higher return on your investment.
When speaking about marketing materials for technical companies, the need for niche experts becomes obvious. Every segment of marketing communications has its own nuances. ‘The one size fits all’ concept is outdated.
Your translator / translating company should be familiar with industry-specific terms, concepts, trends. High-quality translation is the second clear criterion.
4. Be open to adapt
The main task of marketing translation is to get the message across by engaging the reader. And sometimes, it means the original should be translated freely.
Russian-speaking readers of technical marketing texts can boast immunity to clichés and buzzwords. You cannot expect a translator to use the usual straight approach when translating words like advanced, value, leverage, optimize, integrated, smart, enjoy, manage, etc.
Don’t look for missing words when evaluating a marketing translation. Look for missing ideas and messages.
If you are committed to a content strategy meaning credible, trustworthy, transparent content that enhances the organization’s strategic goals, you should be open to embrace and adapt.
5. Engage your local offices or dealers
Please do not forget that it is your local office that will work with localized marketing materials. A proper in-country review definitely adds value by refining industry-specific terms and notions. Especially, when we are talking about B2B products and technologies.
An ideal person for an independent evaluation is not ‘a university lecturer’ or ‘a highly skilled linguist’. Rather it should be a reviewer who is knowledgeable about your product and marketing, understands both the source and target language, has the time and desire to contribute to a positive outcome.
Sounds next to impossible, I know. But delivering a perfect marketing translation has always been a challenging quest. And a rewarding one.
Olesya Zaytseva, founder of Just Translate It, is a proficient translator and marketer with 20+ years of experience bringing her clients’ marketing communications to the next level through content translation, creation and promotion. Pursuing writing, archery, and combinatorial creativity. English and German into Russian.