Your company is on the precipice of expanding their products & services internationally. After hundreds of labor hours, countless strategic meetings, thorough market research, and thousands of dollars, your product is ready to launch in a new country. Your company will have large profit margins if everything goes to plan.
Upon launch – the unthinkable happens. Your brand message was mistranslated and does not carry over into the new language. Potential consumers are confused or offended, profits plummet, and all that hard work and money put into the project is wasted.
Believe it or not, this scenario happens over and over again as companies hire inexperienced language services providers (LSPs) to translate brand messages, marketing collateral, and other important business materials.
Protecting Your Brand
Your company’s brand ties together a combination of your image, emotions, customer experiences, your mission statement, company values, employees, differentiators, and so much more. These aspects work seamlessly together after countless hours of strategic planning, experimentation, and execution.
For many reasons the brand completely and uniquely represents a message that resonates with your specific consumers, and it has benefitted your company.
As your company dives into new territory by penetrating a new market, a new country, and a new language – your precious & calculated brand message MUST be protected by accurate, professional translation.
Unfortunately, translation is often an afterthought when companies decide to take their products & services international. They forget to put it in their budget and opt to go with the cheapest translation, instead of prioritizing quality.
Do NOT let this happen to your brand. Partner smart, with an experienced LSP who only utilizes language professionals who are native to the country & region the target language is spoken.
Partnering with incompetent & inexperienced LSP’s will result in devastating & expensive mistakes by unqualified translators.
For example, mistakes in trademarks. Trademarks are globally recognized & legally protected, but ONLY in the language you originally received the trademark in. When companies expand internationally, products must be labeled with the trademarked name. Often, the original trademarked name is present AND there is a translation explaining what the name says.
If ONLY the translation of the product name is present – without the original trademarked name – the company will be exposed to potential legal action from other companies who have that translation trademarked. This will cost the business thousands in legal fees, cutting into valuable revenue earned.
This mistake would NOT be made by an experienced language professional who specializes in business & product translation. That is why quality should always be priority over a cheap price.
Another common mistake manifests during the translation of your website, also known as website localization. In an ever-growing e-commerce world, first impressions are often made from visiting a company’s website or viewing their ads online.
Many companies do not realize the design elements that go into translating websites into a different language – especially when the target language is read in a different direction than English.
For example, American English is read from left-to-right (LTR), while Arabic script is read from right-to-left (RTL). When translating your website into Arabic, your web developers, graphic designers, and the LSP’s language professionals must take this new text direction into account. This includes mirroring any images, tables, calendars, and tabs on your website.
Also, languages must be coded correctly by experienced web developers so that all the characters are represented accurately on the screen. Cyrillic languages, for example, have some characters that are the same as English, and some that are not. If your website is not coded correctly, characters will be represented by empty boxes or odd symbols the web language uses to compensate.
Is that how you want your new consumers’ first experience with your company to be? Unable to read your content on your website? Of course not. Partner with an LSP who is skilled in website localization, and your consumers will receive the right message every time.
Lost in Translation
There are several examples of companies who botched their international debut and damaged their brand image with bad translation.
Here are a few examples:
Ford’s attempt to penetrate the Belgium market failed miserably when an advertisement for the Ford Pinto included a major mistranslation. The advertisement was supposed to convey the message “Every car has a high-quality body”. To Ford’s dismay, this message was mistranslated into “Every car has a high-quality corpse”. Ouch, what a way to lose consumers.
Coors attempted to bring their signature American beer to Spain consumers, and utterly failed. Their slogan “Turn It Loose”, which resonated with American consumers did not translate well for Spain. This expression in Spanish was translated to “Suffer from Diarrhea”. This is a great example of how colloquialisms can translate incorrectly. A translator native to Spain would NOT have made this mistake.
Everyone remembers the famous campaign slogan “Got Milk?” With funny milk mustaches on celebrities and famous athletes, milk was positioned in American consumers’ minds as the #1 way to get your daily dose of calcium. When this slogan was translated for Spanish speaking consumers, there was a huge cultural disconnect. Instead of “Got Milk?”, the ad read “Are you Lactating?” in Spanish. Consumers found this uncomfortable and offensive.
By partnering with a knowledgeable LSP that utilizes translators who are native to the region your company is targeting, and who are skilled in business translation & vernacular, you will be confident & secure knowing that these mistakes will NOT be made, and that your brand message is in safe hands.
Download our free guide to Business translation and protect your brand message: