Summertime at Athena Parthenos doesn’t really mean vacation time; to tell you the honest truth, it’s more like “prep time.” In the period between May and September, we work side by side with our customers to prepare all the marketing material for the expos they will attend in the fall. During this part of the year, marketing translations are among the most highly requested services. Since brochures, catalogues, and any ad material contain the text with the highest visibility and strongest impact on the audience, it is extremely important that all successful international businesses pay attention to both what the commercial message is and how it is conveyed in all foreign languages.When working on your marketing literature, it is good practice to start by keeping in mind some general guidelines, especially if you create the lit internally and plan to use it both in-country and on foreign markets.
Be different! With the birth of all these new forms of communication (emails, social media, and TV ads), users are constantly overloaded with information about different products, and most ads praise these different products for the exact same qualities and advantages. Information is the only thing that each and every one of us really possesses; consequently, if you want to leave a strong impression on your audience, you need to communicate your message in a very unique way. Once you have differentiated yourself, stick to it. I don’t mean that every time you plan a new ad or infographic it has to be something extravagant, but once you find that formula that works for you and your product and contributes to raising your revenues, make sure what comes next in terms of new lit follows that same path. This way, you will have continuity in your strategy, and your returning customers knows it’s you. Have you ever thought about why you sometimes find yourself absentmindedly repeating a jingle or quoting sentences of a commercial? It means that whoever wrote that ad was able to leave a bigger impression on you. You should aspire to do the same thing with basic ideas that will fit your company and can send your message across the world.
When you start to develop your content, keep in mind what you want to communicate, who you want to communicate it to, and what the best method to do it is. In other words, you need to remind people what your USP is and why they should choose you. Then, you should decide on how to show these aspects differently depending on what language your target audience speaks in order to capture their attention. I am obviously talking about translating! For these types of tasks, assigning the work to someone within your company who has a good knowledge of the language is not enough—you must rely on linguists who know the grammar and language nuances perfectly and completely understands the target country, including slang and social language. These aspects might not be your biggest worry, but more often than not, mistranslations, cultural mistakes, and politically incorrect behavior are found in simple things. Even a brochure with just a few sentences could present you as a professional or as someone disrespectful or out of place. Always remember that your marketing literature is your company’s business card and the first thing that people will see. Just as a shop with dirty window glass won’t attract new customers, if your presentation is not appealing or doesn’t convey a culturally aware message, you won’t attract new customers.
Once you decide to commission a translation by a language professional, don’t rush their work. Marketing texts are expensive and take longer because the translator needs to adapt the text and sometimes even change it completely. To take better advantage of the planning phase and save some time later, you could get in touch with your language service provider when you are still working on your native language version of the text. This way, they will be part of the process from an early stage and can work with you on terminology and help you to create the international version. Then, when it’s time for their active work, while they will still need some extra time to translate and adapt the text, they will already be familiar with it, and the process will be less time-consuming.
Before assigning the project, make sure to agree on deliveries and a deadline. If you feel the need, also ask for a sample translation. Once they deliver the translation, check the text and see if what you received is what you agreed on. If what you received is not a simple translation but a completely different text, do not panic! Your text was simply transcreated. This means that your translator used different words or cultural expressions such as idioms to make it work perfectly for your audience. In theory, the final version shouldn’t be completely different from what you agreed to during the planning phase (if you planned together), but if this isn’t the case, make sure that the text follows your initial guidelines and check if the massage you wanted to communicate is the same, even if the end product has been transformed. If that’s the case, then you are set.
Written by Noemi Clark CEO @ Athena Parthenos