Tone of Voice: The Authentic Soundtrack in Communication Strategy and Translation

Web & Digital
Posted by Athena Parthenos

Tone of voice and communicative style: How much do companies have these topics at the heart in order to get to their target correctly?

It’s a theme very much felt at all levels, not only by the marketing department but also by the management and the commercial network.
Tone of voice represents the personality of the brand and its uniqueness. It allows the company to appear no longer as a product, but as a person with whom the consumer can establish contact.

Tone of voice defines the spirit of an advertising campaign, the style of a blog and its way of explaining valuable content, the formality of institutional communications, and user experience on websites. Tone of voice involves all communication material and must be applied consistently to the corporate image, beyond the means on which you communicate and advertise.

Why is this important in translation?

Therefore, even in translation, the tone of voice must be reproduced carefully in order for the message to be transmitted correctly and without misunderstandings in the target language. It is up to the translator to understand who the customer in front of him is, what his goals are, and how he communicates.

First of all, it is up to the company to build a strong and unique tone of voice and make sure that this is consistent in all the countries where it operates. This allows you to:

  • Stand out from the crowd; as the tone of voice should be unique and recognizable
  • Communicate business and product values
  • Build a relationship of trust with customers; but at the same time, have a sense of frivolity because familiarity and trust are extremely linked to each other

Why is this important in translation?

Whatever the translation is, a book, manual, blog, or Facebook post, as the translator Anthea Bell argues, "It's all about finding the tone of voice in the original creating an illusion" that the reader is reading “not a translation but the real thing”.

This is the real secret and what distinguishes a good translator from Google Translate, colleague, or other non-professional systems to make sure that the translation is not perceived as such and the text is the true reflection and expression of the company.

The tone of voice, however, is not only about written concepts, but how they are expressed. For this reason, it is extremely important to focus on a number of stylistic factors so that the texts are consistent and adapted to the company's style of communication. Factors include:

  • vocabulary
  • passive and active voice
  • the rhythm of speech
  • the use of slang
  • the degree of formality
  • using personal or impersonal forms
  • punctuation
  • humor

It should not be forgotten that the translated text will be received by people who sometimes find themselves living in a cultural context that is at odds with the one that generated the original text. Talking about translation is so often reductive that it is matched many times with localization of content because the expressive mode is adapted according to the target context. Aware of the differences between the context of the text's starting and the arrival of the text, the translation experts are tasked with reviewing the company's communication style keeping the new culture in mind.

In other words, adapting the tone of voice requires a cultural sensibility that only a human translator with extensive experience of diverse social, cultural, political, and economic realities can have — qualities and features that machine translation software and services cannot provide.

If your company operates in an international market and you want the tone of voice to be consistent with all the markets you interact with, Athena Parthenos can guide you through a global network of specialists. Contact us to express your needs and for free advice at quotes@athena-parthenos.com.

Tell us about your PROJECT!