Lost in Translation: How to ensure your marketing content is accurately translated


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The following guest post is courtesy of Adinah Brown, content manager at Leverate.

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I started my career in advertising working for a large ad agency. Early on in my career, we were tasked with adapting the latest campaign from a large airline from English to Spanish. The campaign promoted the then launch of their new leather seats, with the tagline “fly in leather”. The exact translation in Spanish would be “viaja en cuero”, which has a double meaning for “fly naked”. Thank goodness there was no Google translate back then because there is a slight chance that is how the Spanish version of the campaign would have been launched.

Doing a proper translation job goes well beyond the actual meaning of each word, and when you, as the customer, have no knowledge of the target language, it is difficult to judge the quality of a translation.

In today’s globalized enterprise, companies often target customers in various countries and regions and need their webpages and other marketing materials translated. Forex brokerages are often located in one country in the European Union, but target customers in another. How then, can you make sure that the marketing materials you distribute, from landing pages to banners, are properly and accurately translated? Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way:

Choose wisely: When hiring a translation service provider, first and foremost, it is critical to check their reputation to make sure you hire someone experienced. Ensure that the person in charge of your translation is a native speaker. Someone who is not a native speaker will have a hard time getting cultural and linguistic variations right.

Additionally, it is important to hire someone with knowledge on the subject matter. Someone specializing in Forex for example, will ensure that the correct financial terminology is used and that the translation reflects the correct purpose and context.

Use humans: Trying to save a few bucks by using an automated translation service can prove deadly. Not only can programs such as Google Translate play a faux pas, thus putting your brand  in the next Buzzfeed list of top 10 translations gone wrong, but software is incapable of registering emotions, tone and naturalness.

Designate a contact person: Designating someone from your company as the main contact person will diminish the chances of communication errors. The person you choose should have knowledge on the material being translated, and if possible, on the target language as well.

Perfect your document: The word translation comes from the Latin “translatio”, which means “to carry over”, which makes sense, because if you have errors in your source document, those errors will carry over unto your target text. An imperfect document will turn into an imperfect translated document.

Pay attention to slogans, idioms, sarcasm and clichés: These conversation techniques are hard to adapt to a new language and sometimes do not make sense when literally translated. Make sure you verify these with more than one translator since interpretations often vary.

Just like currency prices are affected by various factors, so can the power of your brand, and a poor translation can be one of those factors that affect the reputation of your brokerage. Don’t let this happen, make sure your ‘i’s are dotted and your ‘t’s are crossed, in whatever language you’re targeting.

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Lost in Translation: How to ensure your marketing content is accurately translated

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