How is Translation and Marketing related?

Most translated marketing material is quite poor! But why? It is because its combined in with more general copy and processed in large numbers. This is a bit like taking your top line promotional materials or brochure and printing them on your most basic black and white printer or photocopier and sending that to your client. Without fail, poor translation of marketing copy leaves a negative brand impression in the same way that bad presentation (photocopied brochure) does.

Let’s begin with translation and marketing in particular!


Translation involves the process of translating words or text from one language into another, or the process of moving something from one place to another.
A translator always risks involuntarily introducing source-language words, grammar, or syntax into the target-language rendering. Translators, including early translators of sacred texts, have helped shape the very languages into which they have translated.
Because of the laboriousness of the translation process, since the 1940s efforts have been made, with varying degrees of success, to automate translation or to mechanically aid the human translator. More recently, the rise of the internet has fostered a world-wide market for translation services and has facilitated “language localization”.

Marketing involves the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that marketing is one of the premier components of business management. And the other being innovation.

So marketing being a premier component of business management, how does translation and marketing relate to each other?

Those who work in marketing are familiar with the high standards for all internal and external communication. Be it traditional or online marketing focus is always on targeting the right audience and adapting all text to meets their preferences and needs. When translating marketing texts, tone and cultural adaptation are therefore just as important as correct reproduction of the content. A feel for language and empathy for foreign language target groups are the most important requirements for creating a professional and high quality translation in this field.

Most marketing material requires a fresh approach when translated to make sure that the message appears as though it was created originally in the target language, rather than reading like a wooden word-for-word translation. In many cases the copy provided is rewritten(copy written) in the target language to ensure a flowing, coherent and appealing piece of copy. We understand that a poorly translated piece of material will reflect negatively on the brand of the advertiser.

How different is marketing translation from other kinds of translation such as technical, legal and medical translation?

Every translation field has its own traps and pitfalls, however, the adaptation of marketing copy to several local cultures is particularly challenging. This is because translating marketing copy requires a deep understanding of how the character of the brand is going to be conveyed in another language and culture and perceived by the target audience.
Well researched marketing translation will strengthen a brand’s identity on a global scale, while preserving its uniqueness in each market. On the other hand, literal translation of marketing copy will almost certainly damage your brand.
Marketing copy is not just about advertising, product descriptions and sales letters. Nowadays, ‘content is king’ thanks to the exponential growth of communication channels available to brands. This means that valuable and well-written content is – more than ever- a key driver to establish a strong international reputation and increase revenues. In this context, every single piece of copy now plays an essential role to thriving global business.

Kl Translations experts do provide strategies for various types of marketing, from email to social media and beyond. And for professional development, and industry trends, check out our resources and prepare to take your marketing to a new level of excellence. Get in touch with our experts to get started!

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