Posts

International marketing – adverts on a train line

7 International Marketing Campaigns That Failed to Translate

We’re inundated with marketing campaigns every hour of every day – from billboard advertisements to events and the articles we read. But there’s a fine line between a campaign that succeeds and a campaign that fails to resonate with its intended audience.

Companies will often spend millions on marketing, with even the tiniest details (such as phrases and hair colour) carefully considered.

The problem comes when a brand decides to expand internationally and fails to carefully adapt its messaging for an international audience. At the very least this is likely to result in an unsuccessful campaign. But in many cases it can result in a hugely damaging (if sometimes quite amusing) cultural blunder. Read more

Translating a brand - china vs the world

Translating a Brand: China vs. the World

When it comes to cultural and linguistic differences, few regions stand as far apart as China and the Western world – the US in particular. One is a communist state that prioritises cooperation and collectivism, the other a democracy that sees itself as a paragon of meritocracy. While both may fall short of their ideals (which country in this world can truly live up to its values across all parts of its society?), this does not change the vast differences between their fundamental principles.

When it comes to population size, China dwarfs the US, with 1.38 billion citizens, versus just 326 million in the US. Nevertheless, the US reigns supreme when it comes to GDP – at least for the moment. The US economy is worth $18.5 trillion, accounting for 24.5% of gross world product. China has the second largest global economy, at $11.3 trillion.

Linguistically, too, China and the West are very different. Mandarin, is a tonal, analytic language that uses a subject-verb-object word order and topic-prominent organisation. It is written using logograms known as hànzì. The English language, on the other hand, is a Germanic language that uses a Latin script, modal verbs and the palatalisation of consonants, though it does share the subject-verb-object order of Mandarin.  Read more

French Idioms

French Idioms

French Idioms and their English Equivalents

An idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be deduced from the literal definitions of the words that make up the expression. In other words you couldn’t look up the meaning of each word in a dictionary and comprehend the meaning of the sentence.

Idioms are often deeply ingrained into our culture, going back many generations and used without thinking. Idioms are often funny when taken out of context or spoken to a student of English (who will have no choice but to take the meaning literally). “It’s raining cats and dogs” does not mean that there are cats and dogs falling out of the sky. This makes idioms very hard to translate and represent effectively in a foreign language.

To illustrate how funny idioms can be we have prepared a list of French Idioms and their English equivalents below.

If you have a translation project that involves the use of idioms or colloquialisms please highlight their use in the source text before sending them to K International. We offer a transcreation service that will allows us to re-engineer the text making it suitable for the market in which it is intended for, in other words we will not translate “it’s raining cats and dogs” literally we’ll use ‘Il pleut des cordes’ if the text is for the French speaking market in France.

French Idiom
(English Translation)
English Equivalent
Il pleut des cordes
(it’s raining ropes)
I’s raining cats and dogs
Avoir une dent contre quelqu’un
(to have a tooth against someone)
To have a grudge against someone
C’est la fin des haricots!
(It’s the end of the beans)
That’s the last straw
Chercher midi à quatorze heures
(To look for midday at 2pm)
To over complicate things
Etre trempé jusqu’aux os
(To be soaked to the bones)
To be soaked to the skin
Faire choux blanc
(to make white cabbage)
To draw a blank
Faire d’une pierre deux coups
(To hit twice with the same stone)
To kill two birds with one stone
Panne d’oreiller
(pillow failure)
To sleep in (usually when you are late for work / an appointment)
Se noyer dans un verre d’eau
(To drown in a glass of water)
To make a mountain out of a molehill
tirer les plans sur la comète
(to draw up plans on the comet)
To count one’s chickens before they’ve hatched
Voir 36 chandelles
(to see 36 candles)
To see stars
Vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre
(To want the butter and the money for the butter)
To want your cake and eat it too

A Video Translator’s Guide to Video Localisation

Videos are everywhere online these days. There’s a reason for that: video is one of the most effective ways to catch your audience’s attention.  But what if that audience is multilingual and multicultural, and your videos are English-only? Video localisation is the key to reaching a global audience and harnessing the full power of video as a medium.

Of course, as with most translation and localisation services, there’s more to video localisation than meets the eye. With that in mind, we’ve put together a collection of our best insider tips to make your next video localisation project as easy as effective as possible:

Subtitles or Voiceovers?

When it comes to video localisation, one of the critical decisions you’ll make is whether to use subtitles or voiceovers to translate what the actors and actresses in the videos are saying. Generally, voiceovers are more expensive than subtitles. However, they often make the videos more engaging.

One reason why people prefer video is that, for most of us, videos are easier for the brain to process than text is. But subtitles increase the amount of text that viewers have to read. Also, in some countries, dubbed voiceovers have long been the norm for translated movies and TV shows.  So, viewers in these countries are primed to expect voiceovers instead of subtitles.

Planning Ahead for Easier Video Localisation

As with other types of content, planning ahead makes video localisation easier. If you’re creating a video that you know you will eventually need to translate or localise, here are a few things to keep in mind. Read more

A Typesetting Glossary

The Language of Typesetting: A Short Glossary

Multilingual typesetting can sound like a daunting prospect, especially if you are not familiar with the industry lingo. While you don’t have to be an expert to get your publication on the shelves (physical or digital), it would be beneficial to have a working understanding of the terms you are likely to hear when discussing your project with industry specialists. You are likely to encounter many of these terms in design software and when talking to designers, printers and typesetters.

To avoid some of the confusion that may occur while discussing typesetting foreign languages, make sure you understand the whole process and the terminology that’s often involved. Let us get you started with 50 words that will help you navigate the journey to publishing your documents in any language. Read more

Translating Brand Names for International Success

Should you translate your brand name or business name when you enter a foreign language market? What about product names?  There’s not one right answer, but the following questions can help in the decision.

Is your brand name already a word in the target language?

When it comes to translating company names and product names, one of the first considerations is whether or not the name is the same as or similar to an existing word in the target language. Words that are spelled or pronounced the same as your brand name in the target language bring their own meanings and connotations. These can either work for your brand or against it.

For example, consider the famous case of Clairol’s “Mist Stick” curling iron. It sold quite well in the United States but fell flat in the German market, where “mist” means “manure.

Canadian Mist and Irish Mist whiskeys were also hard to sell in Germany. Nobody wants their whiskey to taste like crap.

Obviously, if your brand name means something offensive or unsavory in the target language, you’ll need to consider renaming it. Read more

Packaging localisation for Glorious Foods

Glorious Day for Soup!

We’ve been working on a great deal of food packaging translation projects in the last few years. Helping some of the UK’s largest supermarkets and food providers gear their products for sale abroad is no small task. Large scale EU regulatory changes called the FIR are coming into force and are certainly keeping our translation teams uber busy.

One of our most recent clients Glorious Foods, really brightened the office today when 3 massive refrigeration boxes arrived filled with all manner of luxury soups and sauces. Glorious pride themselves on producing food containing bold and unexpected flavours, just looking at their product descriptions immediately shows off their passion. Translating this passion is a creative challenge for our linguists, but without doubt a very rewarding one too.

Localising product descriptions

 

Needless to say our team were eager to sample the produce, you know to ensure our translations properly reflect the quality of the product… so in the name of education, each pot was rapidly assigned a name tag and stowed till lunch (for the most part, some of the team skipped breakfast apparently). Our office fridge now looks like it would feel right at home in a shared student flat 🙂

Translating food packaging for Glorious Foodsfood packaging for Glorious Foods

Big thanks again to the team at Glorious, you might just be our new favourites 😉

Take a look at their wonderful range of products over on their site www.gloriousfoods.co.uk

 

…now where’s that spoon?

cultural diversity in marketing

5 Things Marketers Should Know About Cultural Diversity in Marketing  

Like or not, we live in a world where it’s more important than ever to value cultural diversity. The world is more connected than its ever been before. There are more opportunities for businesses to expand – but there’s also more competition. Companies that wish to seek out new markets for their products must market them effectively, and that means targeting diverse audiences.

With that in mind, here are five things you should know about cultural diversity in marketing.

Cultural diversity in marketing matters, whether you’re “going global” or not.

Do you need to worry about cultural diversity if you only do business in the UK? Well, yes, if you want to reach all of your potential customers in a meaningful way. For example, according to the Office for National Statistics, 13% of the population in England and Wales were born overseas.  Around  8% speak a language other than English at home.

Language is essential (even if your target market speaks some English).

Speaking of language, your marketing will be more effective if you speak your customers’ language.  For example, according to a 2014 study by Common Sense Advisory, “more local language content throughout the customer experience leads to a greater likelihood of purchase.”

This is true even for people who speak some English as a second language. People feel more comfortable researching and buying products in the language they understand the best.

However, cultural differences matter, too.

Many human experiences and emotions are universal. Around the world, parents love their children. People love their families. That said, there’s also quite a bit of variation across cultures. So, just translating material from one language to another may not be enough to inspire the same emotions and actions in the new target audience. Often, transcreation is more effective. (For more, see Why Transcreation is Important for International Businesses.)

For example, teenage rebellion is expected and even grudgingly encouraged in Western cultures. And it’s been the basis of many a successful marketing campaign. However, in East Asian cultures,  teens are expected to remain obedient and respectful. (That doesn’t mean they always do, of course.)

The concept of “family” varies according to culture, as well. For example, in the US and the UK, “family” usually means two adults raising one or more children. But in other cultures, “family” might include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and it may make sense to adjust your imagery accordingly.

On the flip side, seemingly unimportant elements of your marketing campaigns can become deal-breakers in another culture. For example, the number “4” is considered unlucky in Chinese culture. If you’re trying to market your product in China or to Chinese immigrant communities, avoid using this number at all costs.

Culture matters in B2B marketing, too. For example, here’s just one example of how Spencer Waldron from Prezi customises his press outreach and content marketing efforts for the German market:

When dealing with journalists from Germany, I always talk about the security features of Prezi and how safe the data is.  I even had a security Prezi built in German, to talk about and showcase these issues.  This small step is crucial to gaining trust.

Representation matters, as well.

Want people to see themselves in your marketing? Pay attention to representation. Use models and imagery that are specific to the culture you’re targeting.

However, it’s also important to be authentic.

For example, Microsoft (in)famously tried to cut corners in this area when translating an American ad for the Polish market.

The American version featured a diverse group of people, including Asians and an African American. For the Polish version, Microsoft decided to change the African American model to a Caucasian model. But instead of re-shooting the ad with a new model, they photo-shopped a Caucasian head into the existing picture. They might have gotten away with it, too, except that they forgot to photoshop the original model’s hand to match the new head.

Oops! Cue a minor controversy and the removal of the Polish version of the ad.

Different cultural groups have different media consumption patterns

This is true both for different cultural groups within the same country and for different countries. For example, in the United States, Spanish-speaking radio and TV is the best way to target Hispanics. Meanwhile, newspapers are more popular amongst Asian-Americans.

Meanwhile, in countries like France, Germany and the UK, mobile Internet use is increasingly common, but most users also have access to desktop computers or tablets. In India, Indonesia and Mexico, on the other hand, more users access the Internet exclusively on mobile devices.

As you can see, understanding the cultural diversity of your audience is crucial to effective marketing. To reach all of a diverse audience, speaking their language is only the first step. You must also take cultural nuances into account, avoid unintentionally offending anyone, and create campaigns that accurately reflect and resonate with your target audience.

Does that sound like a tall order? At K International, our team of translators, multilingual copywriters, multilingual voiceover artists, and designers are here to help. Check out our language and translation services and feel free to get in touch.  We’d love to hear from you!

The difference between Marketing translation and Transcreation

Marketing Translation Vs. Transcreation: What’s the Difference?

Many companies devote energy, time and money into developing their marketing collateral, but tend to do so purely with a domestic audience in mind. When it comes to presenting your brand to new markets overseas, the cultural and linguistic barriers can seem rather daunting but they are imperative considerations if your international campaign is to be a success. This is precisely why professional marketing translation and transcreation services exist.

What is transcreation?

Transcreation is best summed up as creative international advertising translation. The act of Transcreation itself refers to a message being presented in another language in a way that has been moulded to suit a new audience. Specifically used with a marketing focus, the idea is to elicit the same emotions, wants and needs in the new audience as were intended for the domestic audience of the original message. This can involve the creation of new imagery, branding and copy. These alterations remain true to the spirit of the original (though they may differ greatly in appearance) and produce the same end result (usually, making the audience want to buy the product in question).

A variety of other terms are used to refer to transcreation. These include creative translation, international copy adaptation, cultural adaptation and cross-market copywriting. Read more

What Is Transcreation?

What is transcreation, anyway? Is it different from translation? And how do you know if you need transcreation services for your content?

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Read on to learn about transcreation services and how they can help your business effectively expand into new markets.

What is transcreation? And how are transcreation services different from translation?

Simply put, transcreation is the process of adapting content to a new target audience, changing elements of the material and messaging as needed to keep the same overall emotional impact.

Generally speaking, pure translation involves a more faithful rendering of content from one language to another. Sometimes, this is precisely what you want: information from the first language made understandable to a new audience.  But what if the success of your project depends on more than just information? Or, what if there’s something about the original message that’s keeping a foreign audience from engaging fully?  Read more