Archive for the ‘Multicultural Marketing’ Category

The world-wide-web, tech­nol­ogy, loose inter­na­tional trade poli­cies & grow­ing global com­pe­ti­tion are the dri­ving fac­tors for com­pa­nies to explore inter­na­tional mar­kets & expand glob­ally.  Some­times com­pa­nies do it out of sim­ple need to sur­vive, but more often they just want to grow larger.   And why shouldn’t they, if there is a global demand for their prod­uct?  Inter­na­tional mar­ket­ing is the same as local mar­ket­ing, but coor­di­nates its activ­i­ties over sev­eral mar­kets deal­ing with new envi­ron­ments & bar­ri­ers that come from legal, cul­tural & soci­etal dif­fer­ences in dif­fer­ent markets/countries.  There are 2 fun­da­men­tal approaches to inter­na­tional mar­ket­ing: adap­ta­tion & standardization.

Adap­ta­tion approach deals with coun­try spe­cific mar­kets where efforts are adjusted to the dif­fer­ences in the mar­ket­ing envi­ron­ment.  Here is why a com­pany should adapt:

  • to con­sider cul­ture — adjust to the dif­fer­ences in mar­kets & countries
  • to strengthen com­pet­i­tive position
  • to use dif­fer­ent media sources depend­ing on what’s avail­able in the new country
  • to abide to local prod­uct reg­u­la­tions & adver­tis­ing laws
  • to com­pete suc­cess­fully by not appearing/sounding foreign
  • to con­sider dif­fer­ences in prod­uct appreciation

Stan­dard­iza­tion approach empha­sizes the sim­i­lar­i­ties between mar­kets try­ing to take advan­tage of sim­i­lar con­sumer aspi­ra­tion regard­less of its ori­gin and sim­i­lar mar­ket­ing infra­struc­ture when imple­ment­ing strate­gies.  It offers the fol­low­ing advantages:

  • sav­ings from economies of scale, mostly through reduced media pro­duc­tion costs
  • strong global brand image — con­sumers rec­og­nize it eas­ily when traveling
  • increased effi­ciency — lower costs of adver­tise­ment preparation
  • reduced mes­sage confusion
  • global over­sight but cen­tral­ized communication
  • one global adver­tis­ing strategy

Only a few prod­ucts allow a totally stan­dard­ized or a totally adapted mar­ket­ing strat­egy because, most of the time both approaches have to be used to a cer­tain degree.  The fac­tors that influ­ence the degree of stan­dard­iza­tion and adap­ta­tion are the following:

  • lan­guage dif­fer­ences (trans­la­tion of the mes­sage, trade names, brands, etc…)
  • cul­tural dif­fer­ences (what do peo­ple pre­fer or dis­like, reli­gion, atti­tudes, etc…)
  • social dif­fer­ences (how do peo­ple inter­pret statements? )
  • eco­nomic dif­fer­ences (lit­er­acy rate, media avail­abil­ity, etc…)
  • legal & reg­u­la­tory dif­fer­ences (local restric­tions & indus­try norms)
  • com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­ences: (what’s the right amount to spend, how intense is the com­pe­ti­tion, etc…)

It’s impor­tant that marketing/advertising mes­sages fit the beliefs and tra­di­tion of the cit­i­zens in each coun­try.  While stan­dard­iza­tion is cost effec­tive & makes most sense finan­cially, to strengthen the product’s com­pet­i­tive posi­tion in new mar­kets & coun­tries that dif­fer in cul­ture, lan­guage, gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions, topog­ra­phy, dis­tri­b­u­tion & retail struc­ture, adap­tion of some of these ele­ments — most com­monly lan­guage & cul­ture — should always be considered.


© 2014 Branded Translations.

Branded Trans­la­tions is a spe­cial­ized lan­guage ser­vices agency. We help orga­ni­za­tions reach mul­ti­cul­tural and inter­na­tional audi­ences through qual­ity trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.  For more infor­ma­tion, visit


Tak­ing your busi­ness global is the begin­ning of doing many things dif­fer­ently, includ­ing using your busi­ness card in a dif­fer­ent mar­ket.   Con­trary to what many peo­ple might think, trans­lat­ing a busi­ness card into a for­eign lan­guage is not a sim­ple, lit­eral trans­la­tion from one lan­guage into another. When it comes to mak­ing a good impres­sion in doing busi­ness inter­na­tion­ally, con­sider the fol­low­ing tips:

Your busi­ness card should be sim­ple. It should con­vey the most impor­tant infor­ma­tion about you — who you are, your title (also must be sim­ple), your com­pany and how to con­tact you.

Try to have busi­ness cards printed only on one side and in one lan­guage. While it is strongly rec­om­mended to leave one side blank for notes, it is ok to use the other side for trans­lated information.

Make sure the trans­la­tion of your title is accu­rate.  The trans­la­tion of a title into another lan­guage must con­vey the posi­tion within a com­pany from the receiver’s perspective.

Do not trans­late your address. Trans­lat­ing or translit­er­at­ing your address will only con­fuse the post office.

It may be use­ful to translit­er­ate names includ­ing com­pany names.  It will help the receiver pro­nounce them properly.

Make sure you use the cor­rect regional lan­guage. For exam­ple, in some parts of Bel­gium the main lan­guage is Flem­ish Dutch, while in other parts, it is French.

Be aware of some cul­tural nuances that make a busi­ness card attrac­tive or unat­trac­tive in another cul­ture. For exam­ple, in China using red and gold is taken for a sign of success.

Always use an expert for trans­lat­ing busi­ness cards, prefer­ably a local pro­fes­sional trans­la­tor who is aware of cul­tural nuances.

Finally, when it comes to giving/receiving a busi­ness card in a for­eign coun­try, be aware of basic cul­tural dos and don’ts - which hands should be used? What should you say or do when hand­ing it out?

Today’s tech­nol­ogy has changed the ways peo­ple con­nect & com­mu­ni­cate.  How­ever paper, palm size busi­ness cards are still the first exchange we make in busi­ness.  So until that also becomes a click of a but­ton on some appli­ca­tion, hav­ing your busi­ness cards pro­fes­sion­ally & thought­fully trans­lated into a for­eign lan­guage can help in ignit­ing & cul­ti­vat­ing new inter­na­tional relationships.


Trans­la­tion comes in many col­ors. Which method to use depends on your doc­u­ment, bud­get and com­mu­ni­ca­tion objec­tives.  In this arti­cle we’ll dis­cuss the main options of trans­la­tions and when best to use them.

The trans­la­tion method options cur­rently are:

  1. Machine Trans­la­tion (MT)
  2. Com­puter assisted trans­la­tion (CAT)
  3. Human Trans­la­tion (HT) & Transcreation

Here is a quick sum­mary of each method and the instances in which using the spe­cific method would be most effective.

Machine Trans­la­tion (MT)

Machine Trans­la­tion is designed to trans­late text by sim­ply sub­sti­tut­ing words in one nat­ural lan­guage for words in the tar­get lan­guage.  It does this sub­sti­tu­tion with­out recog­ni­tion of whole phrases or mean­ing of com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent words.

The use for MT should be lim­ited to sim­ple (words only), not very impor­tant, ‘quick & dirty’ trans­la­tions. For example:

  • a note from a friend you met traveling
  • to find a nearby train station,
  • a menu item descrip­tion before order­ing food

Com­puter Assisted Trans­la­tion (CAT)

Com­puter assisted trans­la­tion is designed to incor­po­rate machine trans­la­tion and the post trans­la­tion edit­ing stage into a soft­ware.  This spe­cial­ized trans­la­tion soft­ware pro­vides addi­tional edit­ing tools (e.g. Spell check­ers, Gram­mar check­ers, Ter­mi­nol­ogy man­agers, Trans­la­tion mem­ory ™, which is a data­base of text seg­ments in a source lan­guage and in tar­get lan­guages).  With a CAT soft­ware, human trans­la­tor can eas­ily access these tools and come up with a trans­la­tion in a much quicker and more effi­cient way.

The use for CAT should be for large vol­ume projects that are also time sen­si­tive.  For example:

  • books, arti­cles,
  • pre­sen­ta­tions
  • reports & other exten­sive documents

Human Trans­la­tion (HT)

Human trans­la­tion is the ‘old fash­ioned’ way of trans­lat­ing, by first under­stand­ing the con­tent of the source then express­ing the mes­sage of the con­tent in the tar­get lan­guage.  Nat­u­rally this method is more time con­sum­ing then match­ing words to words with the assis­tance of a machine/computer.  Con­se­quently it is also reli­able and expen­sive than the pre­vi­ous two options.

The use of strictly human trans­la­tion should be for cul­tural & crit­i­cal communications.

For exam­ple:

  • proverbs & idioms
  • tag lines & headlines
  • mar­ket­ing communications

Only Human Trans­la­tion will take into account fac­tors like: cul­tural dif­fer­ences, puns or dou­ble enten­dre, slang, and other cul­tural nuances to come up with pow­er­ful and effec­tive trans­la­tions.   This ver­sion of trans­la­tion is also called Transcreation.


Tran­scre­ation is the cre­ative adap­ta­tion of mar­ket­ing, sales and adver­tis­ing copy in the tar­get lan­guage. It involves chang­ing both words and mean­ing of the orig­i­nal copy, while keep­ing the atti­tude and desired per­sua­sive effect of the main message.

The process of tran­scre­ation is more time-consuming and cre­ative than a direct trans­la­tion, and it usu­ally involves the exper­tise of a native copywriter.

Tran­scre­ation should be used for

  1. brand names
  2. tag lines
  3. adver­tise­ment head­lines & copy
  4. audio & video scripts


© 2012 Branded Translations.

Branded Trans­la­tions is a spe­cial­ized lan­guage ser­vices agency. We help orga­ni­za­tions reach mul­ti­cul­tural and inter­na­tional audi­ences through qual­ity trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.  For more infor­ma­tion, visit

Brand names and slo­gans can be inter­preted very dif­fer­ently across inter­na­tional mar­kets. Search on Google for bad trans­la­tions and you will find plenty funny exam­ples. While enter­tain­ing to an out­sider, many of these brands were killed because of well-intended but non­cha­lant glob­al­iza­tion and local­iza­tion efforts. You don’t want your brand to be a part of this infa­mous list. The good new: it’s easy to avoid it if you con­sider the fol­low­ing tips and guidance.

When to trans­late a brand name? 

A global brand name should be pro­nounce­able in all lan­guages and dialects, free of neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions, not con­fus­ingly sim­i­lar to exist­ing names.  Not meet­ing this basic cri­te­rion can have costly consequences.

Some global legacy brands such as McDon­alds, Ford or VISA have a brand name that stands out from the crowd and works in all coun­tries and cul­tures with equal suc­cess.  The more recent and lesser-known brand names can be vul­ner­a­ble to pos­si­ble issues or mis­con­cep­tions in the global mar­ket place.

The deci­sion to local­ize the brand depends on many factors.

  • How seri­ous is the issue?
  • Is it iso­lated or across mul­ti­ple markets?
  • Will it alter brand perceptions?
  • Will it impact pur­chase intent and sales?
  • How impor­tant is global brand con­sis­tency to the organization?

Brand name eval­u­a­tion process

We are often asked: “will my brand name work with this inter­na­tional audience?”

Whether it’s a new or exist­ing name, there is only one way to find out. Ask the locals!

As a pro­fes­sional ser­vice, we eval­u­ate brand names and taglines across inter­na­tional mar­kets and lan­guages. The goal is to dis­cover poten­tial issues upfront – before the name is launched.

We lever­age the insight of local lin­guists — native speak­ers in the tar­get mar­ket — and ask them to eval­u­ate one or more names. A spe­cific set of ques­tions is used to reveal the fol­low­ing information:

  • Gen­eral inter­pre­ta­tion (what’s the first thought that comes to mind?)
  • All pos­si­ble mean­ings (how else can it be interpreted?)
  • Neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions (any neg­a­tive or con­tro­ver­sial associations?)
  • Exist­ing names with a sim­i­lar mean­ing (pos­si­ble trade­mark concerns?)
  • Pro­nun­ci­a­tion issues (how does the name sound in the local language?)
  • Pho­netic sim­i­lar­i­ties (what other local words sound like it?)

This process is repeated for every mar­ket & lan­guage.  Results are ana­lyzed and dis­cussed with the client to get a com­plete pic­ture of any pos­si­ble issue the name might have in the tar­get market.

In some cases local­iza­tion of the logo (design adap­ta­tion) may be needed as well. The visual expres­sion of a brand can be extremely pow­er­ful in a global con­text. Peo­ple tend to rec­og­nize brands first by their design and sec­ond by their names.

For more infor­ma­tion about inter­na­tional brand name assess­ment, please con­tact .

© 2012 Branded Translations.

Branded Trans­la­tions is a spe­cial­ized lan­guage ser­vices agency. We help orga­ni­za­tions reach mul­ti­cul­tural and inter­na­tional audi­ences through qual­ity trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.  For more infor­ma­tion, visit


The Hispanic/Latino mar­ket is grow­ing in size AND buy­ing power.

Span­ish is the offi­cial lan­guage in 22 coun­tries and is the third most widely spo­ken in the world (after Eng­lish and Man­darin).  In 2011 there were 165 mil­lion His­panic inter­net users, a group that grew 807% over the past 10 years.  Experts pre­dict that by the year 2050 there will be 530 mil­lion Span­ish speak­ers in the world, of which 100 mil­lion will be liv­ing in the USA.

In the US, the His­panic mar­ket is not only grow­ing in size but also in buy­ing power. Con­sider the fol­low­ing data, cour­tesy of eBiz­Me­dia and H&R block:

Rise of The Latino Consumer

Keep­ing the cul­ture alive

The major­ity of US Hispanic/Latinos keep strong ties to their cul­tural her­itage. 35 mil­lion US res­i­dents still speak Span­ish at home. The Peo­ple en Español His­panic Opin­ion Track­ing (HOT) Study found that 55% of His­pan­ics in the US are rel­a­tively ‘unac­cul­tur­ated’. This is the group that is least assim­i­lated, liv­ing cul­tur­ally iso­lated and in His­panic dom­i­nant com­mu­ni­ties.  Not sur­pris­ingly, this group responds best to com­mu­ni­ca­tion in their native language.

A mar­ket to be reck­oned with

The US His­panic pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing in size and their buy­ing power has increased at an even more stag­ger­ing rate. This com­bined data rein­forces the notion that the Latino mar­ket can­not be ignored by any US mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tion. Lati­nos are an inte­gral part of the US mar­ket as a whole. How­ever, to reach and engage this audi­ence, one has to con­sider the cul­tural nuances and lan­guage in their communications.


© 2012 Branded Trans­la­tions.
Branded Trans­la­tions is a spe­cial­ized lan­guage ser­vices agency. We help orga­ni­za­tions reach mul­ti­cul­tural and inter­na­tional audi­ences through qual­ity trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.  For more infor­ma­tion, visit