Marketers worldwide, don’t let your marketing get lost in translation

Jason Johnson, CMO of Cupid Media.

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Today’s column is written by Jason Johnson, CMO Cupid Media.

Globalization was once the pinnacle of business performance that only the largest, most powerful corporations could achieve. But now, thanks to the Internet and consequent innovation, the international market is within the reach of most businesses.

However, with easy access comes great responsibility. Before you advertise globally, here are some hard-earned lessons to avoid common problems.

Literal translation can be confusing

Stay Leading the global advertising campaign for over 15 years, I have learned some of the biggest lessons from translation errors – some funny, some catastrophic. For example, we ran the “Don’t Give Up on Love” campaign in Italian. Unfortunately, this message has lost its purpose and has been translated as “Don’t give up warm cabbage.”

Despite Heated cabbage Due to the metaphorical meaning in Italian, it was not the right message. And on another occasion, we advertised “cat’s room” instead of “chat room” in France.

Localization should always start with research and solid insights about the market you want to reach. This is one of the most basic principles for any marketing, and global marketing is no different. That’s why it’s important to hire translators who are immersed in culture – or choose local speakers.

When it comes to messaging, always create two versions. The first edition should be made in English for English-speaking viewers. And the translation version should be a clearly written, simplified expression of the first. This will reduce the risk of your message being lost in literal translation.

Your translators should also provide creative summaries that include details about the target audience, brand voice, formality and the purpose of the messaging. Just because something is grammatically correct does not mean that it will be effective. There is much more to consider (tone, mood, audience, etc.).

Be sensitive to cultural subtleties

Being sensitive to cultural subtlety depends on knowing the local market. Involved With resources that can provide all the knowledge you need. For example, Google has an export team that specializes in local market insights.

You should ask some important questions. Are some pictures offensive? Do numbers and colors have meaning? Are there restrictions that should never be broken? The list of potential losses could be extensive, and it won’t be clear until it’s too late.

A classic example of a company not doing its homework before going to market in an unfamiliar area was when Pepsi introduced its slogan, “Pepsi brings you back to life” in the Chinese market. To the locals, the phrase meant, “Pepsi brings you back from the grave.” It certainly wasn’t the right message.

Understand the limitations of technology

Most advertisers are running international efforts with lean teams and slim budgets. This means they have to maximize output from a limited number of resources. And the right technology can help, but it’s not the answer.

Localization is an area where both technical and human resources are needed. While Google Translate is a great tool, it’s not something that can be relied upon for a global campaign. But platforms like Lokalise and Pairaphrase can help weaker groups control the localization process, reduce time for marketing, improve translation quality, and improve productivity. However, they are not perfect, which is why it’s always good to be associated with culturally intelligent, fluent translators for any final product.

With technology, it’s easy to assume things are being handled perfectly. But you should guess nothing and examine everything. And the performance of any campaign should be monitored in both flight and post-campaign. Tools like, an affordable way to access quality data, are useful. Also, rely on your customer service team for relevant feedback whenever possible.

On a final note, what’s exciting about being a global marketer is the opportunity to learn each new campaign. Reaching out to a global audience will never be a “skill”. It is more about progress than perfection.

The world is always changing, and marketing will continue to evolve. The best thing you can do as a leader is to nurture an advertising culture that celebrates learning – especially when it comes to getting acquainted with the international market.

Follow Cupid Media (CupidMedia) And AdExchanger (@ Addexchanger) On Twitter.

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