Looking to expand your brand into another region, country or culture? One of the first steps to consider is language. Google Translate and other apps can translate word-for-word verbatim in microseconds, but as any professional translator will tell you, language is not static.

 

Even if your brand sticks to traditional vocabulary, word-for-word translation can fail to capture tone, inflection, and regional variations of words and phrasing. Professional translators play with the music of language, conjuring nuance and formulating as direct but effective translation as possible.

 

Here are five tips we recommend you look into when dealing with translation:

 

1) One size does not fit all

The scope of translation varies wildly and just as copywriters and journalists specialize in certain fields, you should not assume a translator who specializes in translating technical manuals can apply that same finesse to translating creative copy. Research and look for someone who excels in the particular area you need.

 

2) Grammar

When brands expand into new regions, maintaining brand identity through the written word is imperative. Is your brand name always set in lower case? Are you a retailer who purposely misses out the apostrophe in their name? This must be communicated clearly to your translator – and in turn, your translator should be encouraged to tell you when he or she feels a phrase or expression translates poorly across languages.

 

3) Check, check and check again

Even the best translator will have a second set of eyes proof their handiwork. A proofreading team, preferably of native speakers in their respective language, can point out where a translation seems stiff or if the tone varies from the original wording. In an ideal world, all copy should go through multiple rounds of editing to ensure it’s at its absolute best – there’s no reason why that should differ in translation.

 

4) Going social

Ever translated a tweet from English into French and found yourself 10 characters over? Translation isn’t black and white, and sometimes you’ll have to make changes to your strategy to compensate for that. Prepare yourself for linguistic compromises ahead – whether that’s cutting down your English copy to ensure a clean translation fits across all social platforms or ditching that witty hashtag, which doesn’t have a translatable trending counterpart.

 

5) Will your overall message make sense?

Transitioning a brand across languages can be a powerful way to elevate your company in other markets, but addressing new communities will always take more than just the copy. A change in copy doesn’t make a transition complete, particularly when there’s a design concept involved. Text embedded onto an image? Bring in your graphic designer to make sure everything works holistically. Companies need to ensure any message they depict resonates with their new market – and doesn’t cause offense.

 

Need help transitioning your brand across multiple languages? Contact Zenergy at info@zenergycom.com