Translating regular documents is already complex so you can probably understand how tricky it gets when adapting slogans, logos and advertising to local markets. For the global market, translation encompasses more specialized forms of translation services. So, you will be encountering different terms. Adapting content to local markets is called localization in the translation industry. There is another term called transcreation that takes translation even further than localization. It’s a combination of translation and creation that is more focused on emotional connections in different cultures instead of making word-for-word translation. There are differences in translation and transcreation, which you can find here.
In translation, accuracy and faithfulness to the original is a sign of quality. In transcreation however, the translator has to think about being bold, original and creative. At least two persons are involved in translation, the translator and the proofreader. In transcreation, it is team effort in order to come up with the right text. Close coordination with the client is likewise necessary to ensure that the translation adheres to the product’s creative brief.
Localization is also about adapting content or product to a specific market or locale. Localization is more than just translation. It can include the following:
- adapting the graphics to the target audiences
- modifying the content to fit the consumption habits and tastes of the target markets
- adapting the layout and design in order for the translated text to be shown properly
- converting terms and units such as measurements, time and currencies to local requirements
- using the right formats for phone numbers, addresses and dates
- addressing and following legal requirements and local regulations
Localization aims to give the product a local look and feel, ensuring that it conveys the appearance of being created specifically for the specific target, based on location, culture and language.
Transcreation is mainly used by marketing and advertising professionals. It is the process of adapting a specific message into target languages without changing the context, tone, style and intent of the original message. It has to elicit the same emotions and bring out the same implications in the other languages. Transcreation is applied to global advertising and marketing campaigns to surpass the boundaries of language and culture. It is not only concerned with the language but also in the images that go with the advertising or marketing campaigns, which should be very suitable to target audiences.
Transcreation is called by other terms, such as
- cultural adaption
- marketing translation
- freestyle translation
- international copy adaptation
- cross-market copywriting
- creative translation
Whatever term you use to refer to transcreation, its objective is the same – to take the essence or the context of the message and recreate it in another dialect or language.
Transcreation is more demanding because the translator needs to have fluency and in-depth knowledge of the source and target languages as well as linguistic and conceptual dexterity. It goes beyond grammatical correctness that is vital to translation. The translator must fully understand the context of the original text, which should be maintained while ensuring that the slogan or advertising message is localized. There is delicate control needed in the translation because it should elicit the same audience reaction as the original. It is the emotional factor that makes adapting slogans, logos and advertising messages difficult and complex.
Localization of logos, slogans and advertising
Localization and transcreation demands so much more from the translator, which is why it needs someone who has years of experience in a specific field and possesses creative writing skills.
You might be thinking how would translating a slogan, which consists only of a few words, be difficult. But it is the nature of the slogans that make translation or transcreation challenging.
Slogans are usually created for a specific type of audience. For example, the tagline, Come Alive! You’re In The Pepsi Generation that Pepsi Cola used in the late 1960s was created for the American audience. At that time, Coca-Cola was running their campaign using images created by Norman Rockwell. While Coca-Cola was after nostalgia and the happy days of old, Pepsi wanted to deliver the message that you are young, you’re in and ready for a better future if you’re a Pepsi drinker.
What Pepsi Cola did not anticipate was how their American slogan would translate into Chinese. When it ported their U.S. advertising campaign to China, their tagline was translated into Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave. It caused their sales to drop significantly. It was not just the monetary loss. The company incurred brand reputation and time-to-market costs.
Slogans are creative taglines. They often play on puns and cultural idioms, which is why they are difficult to translate into other languages. It is difficult to find direct translations and creating the exact meaning in another language poses a great challenge. There might be other meanings to some of the words as well. For example, the Chevy Nova did not do very well in Latin America because the word nova in Spanish means doesn’t go. The slogan I’m lovin’ it was successfully localized in the Spanish-speaking countries as Me encanta (I really like it), which resonates well with the local audience. It was culturally appropriate.
Another example is the Just do it slogan of Nike. When transported into the Chinese market, the company transcreated the slogan into a phrase that means Have sport or Use sports in Chinese, which created more impact with the Chinese consumers.
2. Brand names and logos
Global marketing is very tricky since there are brand names that may be offensive or have a completely different meaning in another culture. For example, Urinal is a health drink manufactured in Slovakia. It is recommended to help in keeping the urinary tract healthy. But in other countries, the word urinal translates into a plumbing fixture used in men’s toilets. When you have to market globally, you should not only understand the language but also the local culture.
Translating or transcreating brand names is likewise tricky. For example, the Iranian manufacturer Paxan does not have any difficulty marketing and promoting their Barf Detergent. It’s because barf means snow in Farsi. The product is popular in the Middle East as well. It seems like a good product and better than leading brands. However, from its name, it would not make it in markets where English is spoken, as barf means to throw up, to regurgitate, to retch or to be sick.
The logo or the brand name is the first thing that consumers see on store shelves, marketing and advertising materials or on your website. If you are planning to market your product globally, work with a professional translation company to ensure that all your information is adapted to the target culture. For design inspiration, check out this online logo creator.
Adapting your product to the global market not only concerns the language. You have to be concerned with other elements.
Colors carry different meanings, which vary according to local culture. Colors can be associated with superstitions, religious beliefs or political leanings. A good example is Orange, a mobile phone company in Europe. When it entered the Northern Ireland market, it had to change its advertising campaign because the orange color for them signifies allegiance to loyalist causes and the Protestant religion.
Some cultures attach meanings to different numbers. In the United States, the number 13 is considered unlucky. In many parts of the Christian world, 13 is an unlucky number because it represented Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, who was the 13th guest to sit at the table during the Last Supper. Friday the 13th was feared because it was the date when the members of the Knights Templar were arrested on the order of King Philip IV of France. In Japan, China, Korea and other areas in Asia where there are large Chinese communities, the number 4 is an unlucky number because its pronunciation sounds like death (in Chinese characters).
Some types of poses and images are offensive to some cultures. A Dove 2011 magazine advertisement for Dove VisibleCare body wash product line showed three women wrapped in towels standing in front of a skin tone background that says Before and After. It was taken as a racially charged campaign indicating that darker skin is not normal skin.
Taking your brand global requires a lot of strategic planning and careful deliberations. You should consider cultural adaptation and translation or localization/transcreation to ensure that your content is culturally adapted for each of your target locale. It should be done prior to your global launch because correcting mistakes later would be very expensive.
Ensuring proper delivery of your advertising and marketing messages
When you are operating in the global business arena, you have to talk to people using different languages, whose culture and preferences are far different from yours. While translation is necessary to ensure that your documents are translated accurately into the preferred language of your target users, localization ensures that all your accessible information, particularly those that are available online, such as your website are in the language that your target audiences understand perfectly. But when it comes to adapting your slogans, custom logos and advertising messages into other languages, you need transcreation services.
Day Translations, Inc. fully understands the distinct difference between these language services and sees to it that your language services requirements are assigned to the right translator. Our translators are all native speakers. We have specially trained translators and subject matter experts to ensure the proper execution and delivery of your translation project. For your translation, localization and transcreation projects, call us at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us. You can get in touch with us anytime. We are open 24/7, 365 days of the year.