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5 Reasons Marketers Need Highly Accurate Translation Skills

5 Reasons Marketers Need Highly Accurate Translation Skills

Translation is a key consideration for global marketing efforts. From small businesses working on websites with international appeal to companies opening branches in foreign nations, accurate translation is a necessity for proper branding activities. Typical social media and website campaigns can reach many in the Western World, but when it comes to exploring the vast markets in South American, India, Russia, China, the Philippines, or similar regions, greater focus is needed. Here are several reasons why professional translation (and not those dime-a-dozen translating services) is worth the effort.

1. Global Competition is on the Rise:

The rise of mobile technology and the Internet, especially in emerging markets, is making it easier than ever for businesses to compete on a national and international level. For companies seeking to establish business in a foreign culture and win some market share, this means the number of competitors is rising – as well as the amount of marketing that customers are exposed to. Those foreign consumers will respond best to marketing messages and locals that show an innate understanding of their language and culture, which gives domestic and nearby companies an edge. Accurate, meaning-based translation can help firms compete more easily in these situations.

5 Reasons Marketers Need Highly Accurate Translation Skills

2. Word for Word Doesn’t Work:

Some companies believe they can avoid translation problems by making the translations as accurate as possible and leaving messages alone. Unfortunately, most of the horror stories around global marketing focus on the danger of word-for-word translation into different languages, no matter how accurate. Coor’s “Turn it Loose” slogan became “Get Diarrhea” in original Spanish. KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” translated across to “eat off your fingers,” in Chinese. The list is a long one and shows that detail-oriented translation with a strong knowledge of the culture is needed.

3. Connotations Shift:

The connotation behind words is under constant change with the culture. The most accurate translation services will take into effect the current connotations – not only for the entire culture, but for the specific target audience. Phrases constantly fall in or out of favor, and words that may be favorable for one audience could have a negative connotation for another market group (think of the variety of connotations behind American words like “wicked” or “cheap”). With the wrong connotation, even good translation can lead to a markedly different tone or style than the one intended.

4. Keyword Localization Drives Results:

Keyword localization refers to translating SEO words and similar key phrases into phrases that have the right impact on local readers, wherever they might be. Keyword translation simply finds a comparable word. Keyword localization, however, examines the target market and asks, “What phrases will carry similar meaning to these people, regardless of precise translation?” Localization, to no surprise, drives results better than mere translation.

5. Ideas are More Important than Words:

The reasons why clear, culture-specific translation are needed in marketing can be summed up in this idea. Marketing is about the exchange of ideas, not about conveying mere words. As long as those ideas remain intact, it is all right if marketing slogans and phrases change. Professional translators can make that change happen.

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