Posts Tagged ‘marketing translation’

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



Lan­guage trans­la­tion can be com­pli­cated and mis­takes are com­mon. A direct trans­la­tion can turn a strong adver­tis­ing mes­sage into some­thing funny, offen­sive or even plain non­sense.  Search for “mar­ket­ing trans­la­tion mis­takes” on any search engine and you will find plenty of examples.

The more prac­ti­cal ques­tion to ask though: how can you rec­og­nize a good trans­la­tion and avoid mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion?  There is no magic for­mula, but here are the main points to consider.

Trans­late the mes­sage, not just the words

A good trans­la­tor will always focus on the mes­sage when trans­lat­ing mar­ket­ing or adver­tis­ing con­tent. Unlike a legal or tech­ni­cal trans­la­tion, in mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions it is crit­i­cal to make the mes­sage res­onate with the intended audi­ence.  One has to go beyond a lit­eral trans­la­tion of words. Think of it this way; there is a rea­son why copy­writ­ers are hired.  They add value by mak­ing a mes­sage inter­est­ing, impact­ful and per­sua­sive — using as few words as pos­si­ble. When trans­lat­ing such cre­ative con­tent into another lan­guage, it really deserves the same atten­tion in order to be as effec­tive as the original.

Under­stand cul­tural nuances

Under­stand­ing the cul­ture of your audi­ence is key when trans­lat­ing adver­tis­ing con­tent. Words may be trans­lated cor­rectly but they can have a dou­ble mean­ing or evoke a com­pletely dif­fer­ent reac­tion.  Take Orange for exam­ple, a lead­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions provider that launched a cam­paign in Ire­land with the line “The future is bright, the future is Orange”.   If the writer had lived in Ire­land, he or she would know that the term “Orange” is also a ref­er­ence to Orange Order, a Protes­tant fra­ter­nal orga­ni­za­tion. The term is often asso­ci­ated with union­ism, sec­tar­ian and even suprema­cist.  Not exactly the val­ues that the Orange brand wanted to convey.

Match tone & style to your brand

Even if you don’t have a for­mal­ized brand posi­tion­ing, your mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions will have a cer­tain style and tone that is inher­ent to your brand.  It’s like a per­sona with char­ac­ter­is­tics that your audi­ence will rec­og­nize.  When mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions are trans­lated into a dif­fer­ent lan­guage, it is impor­tant to con­tinue the same tone and writ­ing style.  A good writer will ask the right ques­tions. Is your brand estab­lished and author­i­ta­tive or new and dis­rup­tive?   Does it rely on its her­itage or inno­va­tion? Is it for­mal or infor­mal in its cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tions?  Whether it’s a web­site, a brochure or an ad, it is impor­tant to use the same brand voice.  The more con­sis­tent you are, the more rec­og­niz­able you will be.

Mind the pic­tures; they’re worth a 1000 words

As in all com­mu­ni­ca­tions, what you see res­onates more (& faster) than what you read.  It’s how the mind works. Words and design col­lec­tively con­vey the mes­sage.  You have to con­sider both when trans­lat­ing adver­tis­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.  Does your imagery res­onate with the for­eign audi­ence?  Do the col­ors and sym­bols have a dif­fer­ent mean­ing?  These are the things to look out for. Check with some­one who is close to the cul­ture of your tar­get audi­ence.  Often a small and sim­ple cor­rec­tion can make a big difference.

© 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

Why lan­guage mat­ters to global marketing.

If you landed on our site,, you may already be con­sid­er­ing pro­fes­sional lan­guage ser­vices for local­iz­ing your mar­ket­ing con­tent, be it online or in print.

In case you’re still on the fence, think­ing about ROI and whether local­ized mar­ket­ing mes­sag­ing can  make a real dif­fer­ence for your busi­ness, con­sider this arti­cle, high­light­ing the find­ings of an inde­pen­dent study by the Com­mon Sense Advi­sory.

The study sur­veyed more than 2,400 con­sumers in eight non-English-speaking coun­tries about their online buy­ing habits and pref­er­ences. It reveals that lan­guage does mat­ter when you’re try­ing to sell to an inter­na­tional or mul­ti­cul­tural audi­ence — even if the reader is pro­fi­cient in English.

Rel­e­vant excerpts from the lan­guage study:

  • For­eign vis­i­tors spend more time on Web­sites in their native lan­guage.
    Almost 90% of peo­ple who have no or lit­tle Eng­lish abil­ity spend the major­ity of their time on sites in their own lan­guage. How about inter­na­tional vis­i­tors who can read and write Eng­lish? Even 60% of them pre­fer sites in their own lan­guage over English-language sites.
  • Most peo­ple buy from sites in their own lan­guage.
    Just 10% of the those with lit­tle or no Eng­lish make most or all of their online pur­chases from Anglo­phone Websites.If they do speak Eng­lish, the num­ber jumps to 37%. But that still means that more than 60% of those who can read Eng­lish pre­fer buy­ing from sites that are writ­ten in their native language.
  • Most peo­ple will pay more for prod­ucts in their own lan­guage.
    Nearly 65% of respon­dents who spoke lit­tle or no Eng­lish con­firmed that they would pay more for infor­ma­tion they could read in their own lan­guage. Those with Eng­lish pro­fi­ciency were split even on this proposition.

For more infor­ma­tion about trans­lat­ing mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing con­tent, please con­tact


How to opti­mize inter­na­tional SEO results.

When it comes to Global Search Engine Opti­miza­tion, look­ing for short­cuts is a bad idea.  A direct word-for-word trans­la­tion of SEO terms for inter­na­tional mar­kets will not always work.  In order to get the same or higher yield on inter­na­tional search engine results, the SEO terms must be researched, local­ized, and adapted for the inter­na­tional tar­get audience.

So what should any inter­na­tional com­pany do to stay on top of the game?

1. Con­duct inter­na­tional Key­word Research.  This research should be done using coun­try spe­cific top level domains (TLDs).  For exam­ple, if your tar­get mar­ket is in Ger­many, use to research key­words for SEO.  One pow­er­ful tool for key­word research is Key­word­Spy.

2. Acquire local domain exten­sions.  Con­sider using or adding sites with coun­try code TLDs in addi­tion to inter­na­tional domains (e.g .com, .net).  In the above exam­ple,, also uses

3. Learn the ver­nac­u­lar.  Know expres­sions, pitch tech­niques and other cul­tural nuances that catch atten­tion and get other nation­al­i­ties interested.

4. Test key­word selec­tion.  One way to test a key­word selec­tion is to use the terms in a pay-per-click adver­tis­ing cam­paign and mon­i­tor the results. Most search engines offer great tools for this and they offer sug­ges­tions too.

5. Work with spe­cial­ized lan­guage pro­fes­sion­als.   There are many lan­guage ser­vice providers out there, but only a few spe­cial­ize in the trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions exclu­sively.  Branded Trans­la­tions is one of them.  The lin­guists and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als at Branded Trans­la­tions under­stand the cul­ture and lan­guage nuances of any inter­na­tional mar­ket. They will assist you with key­word research and explo­ration to ensure that your search engine terms are opti­mized and rel­e­vant for any tar­get market.


Copy­right 2011 Branded Trans­la­tions.

How to posi­tion your brand internationally.

Ever noticed how some brands are adver­tised and per­ceived slightly dif­fer­ent from one coun­try to another? Take Volk­swa­gen Jetta for exam­ple. Aside from the fact that the model used to be named “Bora” in Europe, Volk­swa­gen also adapted its adver­tis­ing strat­egy for the local mar­ket. If you com­pare the com­mer­cials, you will notice a sub­tle dif­fer­ence in approach. It’s the same car, same cam­paign, yet the Ger­man com­mer­cial is clearly tar­geted at an older demo­graphic while the Amer­i­can ver­sion is focused on price and attain­abil­ity, aimed at a younger audience.

When adver­tis­ing your prod­uct brand in a for­eign mar­ket, it pays off to revisit the way it is posi­tioned. What may work on your home turf is not guar­an­teed abroad. There are many dynam­ics at play. You may find new com­peti­tors, dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ics, cul­tural nuances, lan­guage bar­ri­ers and reg­u­la­tory restric­tions.  While we can help you with the lan­guage adap­ta­tion, here’s some guid­ance for the other chal­lenges of deploy­ing a brand abroad.

A proven brand model

The fol­low­ing model (depicted in the chart below) is designed to help iden­tify the opti­mal posi­tion­ing and value propo­si­tion for your brand. It starts with the def­i­n­i­tion of what we con­sider to be effec­tive posi­tion­ing.  Gen­er­ally speak­ing, a well-positioned brand is:

  • Dif­fer­en­ti­ated from the competition
  • Rel­e­vant to its audience
  • Defend­able by the product
  • Aligned with the core brand values

If you know the com­pe­ti­tion, under­stand your audi­ence and are hon­est about the strengths of your prod­uct, you should be able to iden­tify the right space for your brand to occupy.  Look for the over­lap between the first four data points.  how to position a brand

Per def­i­n­i­tion, you want to dis­tin­guish  from the com­pe­ti­tion, empha­size the sell­ing points that your audi­ence cares about most, ensure that you can deliver the promise, and still be true to your core brand values.

Note; a brand posi­tion­ing is made up of just a few words that describe the space you aim to own in the mind of your audi­ence (like Volvo’s posi­tion­ing around “safety”).  The value propo­si­tion is a strong state­ment that empha­sizes the value of your prod­uct. For exam­ple: X is the most fuel-efficient hybrid vehi­cle in its class. Sup­port points cover the facts that back up the statement.

I’ve used this model on numer­ous plan­ning ses­sions and found it to be highly effec­tive. If noth­ing else, it’s a great dis­cus­sion guide for the topic.  With­out struc­ture, such con­ver­sa­tion can drag on for days.

The key is to have reli­able data.  The out­come of this model is only as good as the infor­ma­tion that you put in. Research is your best friend.

Ps. If you don’t already have the resources or abil­ity, the lan­guage and brand experts at Branded Trans­la­tions can help bring your inter­na­tional posi­tion­ing to life through effec­tive trans­la­tion and tran­scre­ation of mar­ket­ing communications.

© Copy­right 2011, Branded Translations.