If you are reading this, you must have discovered the growth potential in localising your product or service for a new foreign market. To increase your customer reach, you must begin by creating content that is culturally appropriate for international markets.
Here are some tips on how you can avoid common pitfalls when preparing marketing content for localisation. Besides reducing translation costs, it also means quicker access to the market, accelerated revenue streams and improved translation quality.
- Write with the Target Audience in Mind
Prepare source content that can be easily internationalised. This makes your content easier, less costly, and more efficient to localise. Pick your examples and scenarios with caution, and avoid expressions and slang that is specific to your own culture. Minimise making references to historical events that may not resonate with your audience.
When American clothing line GAP expanded to Shanghai for the first time in 2010, it emphasised heavily on its “1969” tagline, which was its brand signature and year of founding. Unfortunately, GAP’s publicity drew much flake in China as “1969” signifies the waning days of the Cultural Revolution and is generally regarded as a tragic episode in the country’s history.
When writing, also keep in mind that text expansion may occur if the target language takes up more space than the source language. This is because some languages require more words to express the same meaning.
2. Be Clear and Concise
Translation is generally more effective when the source content is clear and simple. Choose simple words and focus on your key marketing message, and leave out unnecessary texts. Your sentences should be kept short and simple. Use active voice if possible so that your translator can easily identify the correct subject of the sentence and avoid ambiguity. Be consistent in technical terminology and spell out acronyms.
An additional tip to enhance translation clarity is to avoid the use of imprecise pronouns. Take this sentence for instance: “Mary and Jane said hello to each other before she boarded the train.” Does the “she” in the second half of the sentence refer to Mary or Jane? To be clear, replace the word “she” by the name of the person who boarded the train.
3. Provide Context
When it comes to localisation, context is king. Context is the information necessary to correctly interpret a word or phrase that could otherwise be interpreted in a number of different ways.
Translators are often given marketing content that do not provide enough context. For instance, the sentence “children make nutritious snacks” may conjure an image of busy little chefs in the kitchen, or it may mean that children in general are in fact quite delicious.
Here are some ways of providing context on the content. You may provide a glossary of definitions or style guides to show how the phrases are usually used. You may also insert flagged comments or notes for translators in the original source file, and provide alternate phrases.
4. Convey Your Brand Voice
You may decide to come up with a witty or clever tagline for your marketing campaign in order to express your brand personality. However, the intended impact is often lost in translation as the content usually has to be over-explained. Take for instance Pepsi’s slogan when it entered China – “Come Alive With Pepsi”. However, due to bad translation, the slogan came out as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
To keep your brand adaptable around the world, first describe your brand voice in a few words. Are you quirky, sophisticated or authoritative? Create a flexible brand voice using these attributes, and then share these attributes with your translator or local marketing team.
5. Test Your Message
Keep in mind that any mistakes made in your original source content will be amplified when translated. To ensure that your marketing content delivers the right message as intended in the local culture or setting, prepare your source content for localisation ahead of time. Test your translated content on a sample audience to gather valuable feedback so that you can better refine your content. This prevents you from fixing localisation bugs on a larger scale, which could cost you more.
Apply these best practices to make your next localisation project a success. Looking for more effective ways to connect with new markets? Connect with us at elionetwork to get started today.