Sometimes in business, we take shortcuts. We know we shouldn’t, but we invariably do. We’re not talking about the sneaky cups of tea you make for yourself, despite knowing the rest of the office is gasping for a brew; we’re talking about the type of shortcut that has a detrimental effect on the quality of your business’s output.
Resources are tight, we all know that; but when it comes to success, there are no shortcuts!
JRR Tolkien famously said: “Shortcuts make long delays”. And for anyone who has been on a family walk with a misguided parent who thinks they know a shortcut, this will ring painfully true.
Stopping at the translation of global marketing campaign materials is a shortcut. Why? Because the aim of translation is merely to reach a wider audience, whereas tailoring your message to the local audience and making a real connection may take extra resources, but it pays dividends.
Why is translation so flawed?
The process of creating marketing messages is a complicated process. Typically, the source content is created over a matter of weeks, perhaps with the help of an advertising agency, and will involve a number of executive and peer reviews.
If the source message is in English, the work will be carried out by UK-based marketers, who will have no idea whether the message will chime with customers in overseas markets. Instead, they will focus on creating beautiful marketing copy that grabs the attention of an English audience.
Rather than adapting the message for overseas audiences, the carefully crafted copy is passed to a translator. The translator will need to be painstakingly chosen to ensure they have first class translation skills, copywriting experience and the creative flair to make the message work. The translator would also have to work with the company’s in-country review team to create a message that resonates with the local audience. Unfortunately, that is luxury small businesses simply do not have.
On the other hand, a good localisation company that also specialises in marketing translation has a complete team of copywriters, translators and even SEO specialists on hand to make sure your message is heard, whatever the language. They are also marketing experts, rather than technical translators, which ensures an intricate understanding of how best to appeal to your target market.
Without the help of a localisation team, the inevitable deluge of emails from the regional marketing teams will soon arrive: “There are a few problems with the [Italian/French/German/Spanish/Chinese…] version of this message, can it be reworked?” – and you’re back to square one!
So what’s the alternative?
When you’ve created marketing copy that strikes an emotional chord, you should take the message to a localisation and transcreation company you can trust to deliver the same impact across a diverse range of languages and cultures. Rather than merely translating the copy word for word, they will create a message, which maintains the emotive intent and harmonises with the expectations of the local market.
Specialist copywriters, rather than just translators, will make your message relevant to local consumers, adapting the style, tone, idioms, analogies and images, if necessary, to meet audiences’ expectations. The result is a message that resonates with prospective customers all over the world.
Same song, different voice
Creating a unique message for each region strengthens your global brand. In effect, the message is the same – it retains the brand’s voice, identity, characteristics and traits – but it has true universal appeal. This is infinitely preferable to translating a single marketing message and creating content that completely misses the mark.
It’s time for a food-based analogy. McDonald’s serves the McVeggie burger to customers in India because the country has a significant vegetarian population. Meanwhile, customers in the Middle East can enjoy the flatbread inspired McArabia. Why? Because people in the Middle East eat a lot of flatbread.
McDonald’s describes this process of adapting its menu for the local culture as ‘glocal’ (a global brand serving local markets). To achieve success in overseas markets, this is what your business must become.
Find the right solution for your business
You might think that anything beyond the simple translation of your content requires hefty investment, but furthering your business’s goals by producing the best possible marketing messages needn’t cost the earth. In fact, implementing robust localisation processes from the off is far cheaper than repairing the work of a translator further down the line.
At Text ‘n More, our mother tongue localisation and transcreation specialists only work in industry sectors they have specific experience of. This knowledge is instrumental to crafting compelling marketing campaign messages that capture the hearts of your international audience. For more information, please take a look at our marketing translations and branding service, or get in touch with our creative team!