The work that goes into a good marketing translation is consistently and critically underestimated. High-profile campaign communications put your reputation at stake, and a cultural mishap can result in irreparable damage to a brand image, not to mention considerable financial losses. So why is marketing translation so undervalued?
Let’s go back to the original content. You likely have a dedicated team, who research and craft the copy together. The campaign then probably goes through several people and numerous rounds of revisions, with everyone taking time to make sure the final copy is perfect. Marketing copy can go through several writers, editors and whole marketing and research teams over weeks, months and even years before final approval is given.
Marketing translators, on the other hand, are often expected to produce the same results for an entirely new audience in much less time and within a much smaller budget. It’s no surprise that placing so many restrictions on translated marketing copy tends to yield less than stellar results.
The problem is that marketing translation isn’t really translation at all. A good marketing translator will spend as much time adapting concepts to your target audience as translating the original content. In some cases, the translation might not remotely resemble the original, but it will be high-quality, engaging, meaningful copy for the new culture – which is exactly what a marketing campaign needs.
From signature brand fonts that aren’t available in the Cyrillic alphabet to campaigns referencing a specific time zone (Russia has eleven), marketing content needs to be tailored to a specific audience for an effective response. What appeals to the growing middle class in urban Moscow or St Petersburg will mean nothing to a rural community in sparsely populated Siberia. Misdirected content can alienate your target audience or leave them indifferent to your offering.
Successful marketing translations:
- Need all parties to understand their roles
- Can involve changing key components of the original content
- Include quality check steps before, during and after the translation stage
- Are characterised by frequent and effective communication
Failing to recognise these requirements can lead to agencies blaming the quality of the translation, translation teams blaming the quality of the source and no-one focusing on the end readers. This is not where you want to be.
I’m a marketing translator. What can I do?
Ask the client to fill in a detailed brief and communicate with their content manager for insider knowledge on the brand, the target audience and their style preferences. Provide a tailored project estimate that outlines the research, adaptation and writing involved.
I need marketing translations. What can I do?
Get to know your translator and provide them with as much information on your company as possible, not just on the campaign concerned. Give your translated marketing content as least as much time and effort as the original.
For more advice on how to make your marketing a success in Russia, get in touch at email@example.com