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"Remember - a word should be treated with caution. A word may turn out to be either living water or withered and dead leaf; it may bang like an empty tin or sting like a viper. A word may turn out to be a miracle."

Nora Gal, "Words living and words dead".


Any text is nothing but an extremely sensitive matter. It is either a magic bullet to transfer your every single subtle idea to the reader, or just a “platitude, monotony, effacement, stock phrase” as Nora Gal wrote in one of her books on the art of translation.

What actually happens when you tap into global markets? You fully and completely adapt your market offers, brands and marketing activities to local environment of every new country you enter. Naturally, the same applies to your slogans, short marketing texts and detailed product descriptions.

If you managed to write a few expressive, and at the same time natural, texts for the local market - you deserve some praise. Although, as you enter the global market, you face another significant challenge - ensure that the international consumer understands the essence of your texts. You do not just have to present a certain product - you have to present an IDEA. This is what marketing translation is about.

What marketing translation should be like

(picture: slogans of a corporation in several European and Asian languages)

As you look through these slogans translated with consideration of different cultures, you will inevitably ask yourself - does this mean that marketing translation is not a translation at all, but an entirely new text?

And you would be right. In fact, any good translation is not a translation at all, but rather a new text written on the basis of the original text. The objective of the new text is to preserve the structure of the source text, its tone and information base, and to deliver the necessary information to the a new target audience, which, more than likely, will differ from the source target audience in terms of almost everything - from mentality to idiomatic structure.

Once, the author of this article was to translate the motivational text of the client, which contained the following lines:

If you think you can't, you won't…
If you think you can, you will!
We can, we will.

Interlinear translation was not good enough in this case. It was necessary to transfer the rhyme and energy of the source text into the target one and I managed to do it. However, the final translated text turned out to be something like this:

Those hesitating are not ready!
Those confident will do!
We are ready - and we will do!

(interlinear translation of the final variant in the main text; Russian variant is under the cut)

Translation challenges

Marketing translation requires as much effort as creation of an original text. It is a complex and multi-step process involving inspiration, encyclopedic knowledge and vast experience. Common stages of translation, editing and correcting are followed by adaptation of the translated material for a particular market and the text has to be coordinated with the client. If necessary, SEO optimization is implemented, namely, some kind of refinement to ensure effective marketing promotion on the Internet.

When it comes to not just emotions, but rather to the specific products, other important requirements emerge, such as compliance with the corporate terminology and translator's vast knowledge of the subject; otherwise you will never be able to convey the correct information about the product, its essence and benefits alongside with the brand image support, to your potential clients. That is why it is so important that marketing translations are completed only by professionals, who are deeply involved with the material, who understand the culture and mentality of the target language, and what is more - who care about their reputation.

It would be better if the GM company had consulted marketing translation specialists before it entered the Spanish market with its new compact vehicle Chevrolet Nova. Unfortunately, they did not do that, and their advertising campaign failed, because the Spanish refrained from buying a car which is called «no va» (means "will not ride" in Spanish).

Different dialects of one and the same language may also play nasty jokes on marketers. One of home appliance manufacturers wrote about grounding in the technical manual for a fridge, "Warning — this appliance must be earthed". Unfortunately, in the American English the word "earthed" means "buried in the ground". A true marketing translation specialist would have used the correct term - "grounded".

Why choose Logrus Global?

Why should you trust Logrus Global with your marketing tranlsation? We might have referred to our vast experience, high level of professionalism and wide general knowledge, including marketing and advertisement realities, of our tranlsators and linguists. We might have also mentioned either active participation of our interpreters in presentations, press-conferences, or tons of written translation projects we have carried out: articles, ads, mottoes and slogans, videos, presentations and press releases, booklets, brochures and websites.

But we would rather give the floor to some of our clients.

Nortel

"Nortel Company needed complex service contracts' translation with advanced legal and technical terms due to its telecommunications field of expertise," as George Sharashidze, account manager of Nortel in Russia, points out.

Evernote

"If we need urgent tranlsation services or translation of materials that require special professional skills, we choose Logrus. We have never been disappointed in Logrus: the translation is always within strict deadlines, no matter how many language pairs we need," Dmitry Stavisky, Vice President on International Project Development of Evernote Company, shares.

BMW

"Logrus specialists managed to carry out a significant amount of projects, concerning not only marketing and technical translation from Russian into English, but also localization and design of advertisement materials in video and flash formats," as Ekaterina Sysoeva, Director of Corporate Communications at "BMW Russland Trading", points out.

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