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Multilingual marketing, beyond translation

Attracting international customers is something all companies - large or small - long to do. But few know how to do it properly. Maintaining your brand's position across various territories depends - among other things - on an accurate and effective translation of your marketing campaigns. Many marketing managers think it's enough to simply translate a campaign, often even just asking their own internal staff or using free machine translators. A major error!

What are the differences between translation and multilingual marketing?

Let's start with an American Airlines anecdote. The company only literally translated its slogan "Fly in leather" into Spanish for its Latino audience, so the resulting translation - which referred to the leather seats in first class - was not exactly as expected, in fact reading "Fly naked". This is what could happen if you fail to carry out proper multilingual marketing.

To make a marketing campaign a success, you need to consider many factors that go beyond a simple translation:

  • The cultural traits of the audience you're targeting
  • The impact of your slogan, text, or website on your target audience
  • The features of the product or service you want to promote
  • The brand personality you want to showcase

The translation process involves interpreting the meaning of the source text and subsequently producing a new text which is equivalent to the original, but in another language. The aim of a translation is to remain faithful to the meaning and style of the original text. If the text is for informational purposes only, this could be sufficient. But when your aim is to have an emotional impact on the reader, literal translation is not enough: it fails to take into account the characteristics of your audience and the social and cultural setting in which the message will be received.

How should you conduct a multilingual marketing campaign?

The answer is, without a doubt, TRANSCREATION! That is, translation + creation. This type of translation, totally geared towards the marketing sector, adapts creative content to the local language to ensure a marketing campaign will still have the same impact in the language of the audience you're targeting. This way, your marketing materials will look as though they've been created specifically for that country or region, not just translated.

Our advice.....

If translating professionally is no easy feat, imagine transcreation! We recommend you search for a translation agency or company with specialist marketing translators who are also native speakers of the target language. This is the only way you can get the results you want, and make sure your marketing campaign will be an absolute success.

At AT Language Solutions, we've been transcreating marketing campaigns for Spain's most prominent companies for over 20 years. If you want your marketing campaign to go global, write to us!