Marketing translation services: How to avoid mistakes

marketing translation services

As industry professionals know, marketing isn’t an exact science. The impact of the message relies on a complex blend of wording, images, and associations.

Targeting foreign audiences becomes even trickier. A recent survey found that “75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language”.

But, is it truly essential to translate? To find out, let’s explore how marketing translation services work.

Marketing translation services of the past

Many years ago, brands typically opted for a one-size-fits-all approach to global marketing. Their first option was to broadcast their campaigns around the world in English. Their second option was to translate their campaigns into different languages, keeping the exact standard message in each country.

Both methods led to some very unfortunate incidents for major brands.

BMW case-study

You might not remember the 2016 BMW advert featuring Al Ain Football Club, but many UAE residents will. Not for positive reasons, though.

BMW’s advert opened with Al Ain Football Club members singing part of the UAE national anthem. A few seconds in, a car engine sound was heard and the anthem was cut short as players stopped singing and ran towards a fleet of cars instead.

There was an outcry as many Emirati citizens felt the company was implying its cars were prided over their national anthem. The offending advert was pulled and modified.

Localizing marketing content today

How did BMW make such a huge mistake? They didn’t localize their content.

In order to build a positive relationship with their audiences, international brands need to adapt their strategies based on where their target markets live. Customers want content they can relate to, both culturally and linguistically.

This is what localization service is: adapting content so that it is culturally appropriate for a specific country or area.

Many marketing translation services today focus on localization and translation in equal measure. After all, what use is a marketing campaign that works in one country but sends confusing messages to, or even offends, international customers?

The benefits of marketing localization

Creating a lasting impression

When trying to create a certain image for a brand, the audience needs to see a strong message.

In the 1970s, Pampers decided to break into the Japanese market. In many western countries, children are told traditional stories of a stork that delivers babies to houses for parents. An advert was created around this concept and distributed throughout Japan. 

As it turns out, the stories told in Japan actually feature babies floating along a river in giant peaches. For the Japanese, birds have nothing to do with babies.

Pampers’ meticulously planned entry into the Japanese market flopped. Customers were left confused and sales didn’t take off.

A little research by specialist localization experts would have prevented the mistake and solidified sales right from the product launch.

Remove barriers

When cultural and linguistic barriers are removed, millions of international customers can be reached.

We can see how this might play out in an example customer journey:

  1. A potential customer sees a marketing campaign. If it is well localized, it creates a lasting impression.
  2. The customer then searches on the internet to find out more about the brand. Over half of the world’s internet searches are in a language other than English and, if the company has translated well, the customer can reach the landing page easily in their own language.
  3. The customer looks at the brand’s website and is exposed to its identity and marketing campaigns in more detail. If localization is consistent, the customer will see messages that relate to them and be more likely to purchase products.

Why Future Trans?

At Future Trans, we are experts in marketing translation and localization services. We are passionate about helping businesses to strengthen their brands, succeed internationally, and maximize sales.

Future Trans is an ISO 17100 certified service and our work focuses on providing translation and localization into Middle Eastern and African languages.

With over 25 years’ experience, we have worked with huge international brands such as Uber, Amazon, and many more. Our translators are specialists who utilize their knowledge and the latest technology (e.g. quality assurance tools) to ensure work is of the highest quality.

Send us a message to find out how we can help.  

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