What Not To Do When Translating Business Material
Global communicators face the unique challenge of delivering the same key messages to multiple audiences who speak different languages and live different cultures. This is hard enough to do in one’s own language and culture; communicating with global audiences is more challenging, and calls for adherence to a set of simple — but important — rules.
1. Take the time to learn the culture
Things happen quickly in marketing and advertising, and consumer preferences can change even faster. Do not let this deter you from learning about the culture you are working with. Spend the time to get a feel of the local consumers’ pulse.
2. Same language, same culture? Think again
In multicultural marketing, do not simply assume that two countries speaking the same language can automatically share the same marketing or PR materials. Cultural identities, conventions, and values will differ and could very well call for different communicating styles. Good writers and translators will use the language effectively to create the best connection with each local audience.
3. Don’t be a slave to slang
Slang and vernacular play a vibrant role in communication, and can certainly enhance the flavour of advertising messages. Remember though that slang comes and goes, and buzzwords have a short lifespan. If you pepper your message with too many of them, it can get quickly outdated and redundant.
4. Don’t take short cuts
A good campaign is a well-researched and well-prepared. This takes time, diligence, and careful attention to every step. This involves not only translating the text professionally, but also testing the translated work with local audiences, and double-checking against cultural norms and values to ensure that the translation does not cause offence.
A business message translated well does not materialise by accident. It is a result of diligence and careful attention to audiences and cultures — and will make its ultimate impact felt on the bottom line.