Tips for Localising Slogans and Brand Names

Companies typically try and develop a brand name or slogan which they think will be instantly recognised by consumers of their product. The proof of the pudding is when a customer reaches for a tin, jar, packet or appliance simply because it has brand recognition.

Many well known companies have brand names and use slogans that are ages old. They are part of the success story behind many successful corporations.

What is not so well known is that when these companies try and sell their products in a country where the language and culture is different, they may have found that their slogans and brand names were no longer usable. This may be because a literal translation of the brand or slogan into another language cannot easily be done, or the translation is confusing, misunderstood, or even derogatory or offensive (obviously this is unintentional). 

The answer when it comes to exporting brands and slogans is to use what is called ‘localisation’. This is a service provided by a specialised group of translators, who have an in-depth familiarity with the cultures and colloquialisms of the target market. They have the task of converting brands and slogans into something as equally appealing or compelling.

Tips for localising company slogans and brand names for global success

Tip# 1 Avoid word-for-word translation

If you use a professional marketing translator who has experience in localisation techniques, you should be able to avoid this sort of error. It usually occurs when a company is new on the international market and uses what it thinks as money saving techniques to deal with its translation needs. This usually involves using computer aided translation software, easily found on the internet, to sidestep professional, human translators. 

The companies doing this, or their marketing teams, are unlikely to be aware at first just how short sighted this is. A slogan or brand name that is disliked by a new consumer market (e.g. because it appears offensive) could set back the marketing drive significantly. The use of professional brand and slogan translators is part of ensuring maximum appeal in the minds of potential new consumers.

Tip# 2 Reach out to local language experts

It stands to reason that you should only use local language experts who have experience in marketing translation. The important criterion here is that these translators should have a real feeling for both the languages used and their respective cultures. There are many translators who can translate scientific or medical text, for example, where an appreciation of different cultural nuances is less important, and often not important at all. 

Tip# 3 Make use of transcreation

An extra service which some translators offer is that of transcreation. It has already been mentioned that when it comes to translating slogans and brands, literal word for word translation is totally unacceptable. Transcreation involves inventing new slogans and even brand names in another language that will resonate in that cultural environment just as well as the slogans and brands do in the language where they were first invented. Transcreation, then, is an advanced form of localisation, which is in itself a specialised field of translation itself.

Examples of localisation of memorable slogans in other languages

There are many hilarious examples of when successful marketing slogans in one language have gone badly wrong after literal translation. One very well known stuff up was KFC’s slogan “Finger lickin’ good’ was translated into Chinese. It became inadvertently ‘eat your fingers off’!


Slogans and brand names are important marketing tools and you just have to think of how many well known companies use their slogans and brand names so successfully. Unfortunately for companies about to expand their sales drive overseas, you often can’t just literally translate your slogans and brand names into another language. Leave that to professional translators who have the necessary cultural experience to ‘transcreate’ those all important marketing messages.

Why Translate Infographics?

What are infographics?

Infographics have become an indispensable addition to information sharing by individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organisations, and government departments. They combine images, video content, text, and data in an easy-to-consume and understand the component of a website, social media site, or another form of digital communication. Because the world is becoming increasingly globalized, infographics commonly need to be translated. 

Infographic translation is a specialized niche field for translators and anyone contemplating translating their infographics needs to carefully select a translation agency that specializes in this form of translation.

The importance of infographics translation

Infographics translation is as important as the infographics themselves. While infographics are not solely made up of chunks of text, without the text they may not convey the same sort of meaning as they should and could even be misunderstood or cause confusion. 

Infographics are an essential part of digital communication and therefore infographics translation is an integral part of presenting infographics in situations where there are multilingual users of that messaging. This could be within a single country where there is more than a single language (e.g. Switzerland in Europe or Malaysia in Asia) or when the digital messaging is being targeted at several different countries where different languages are commonly used. 

How should infographics be translated?

Most text components of infographics, including subtitles and headings, can be translated just like any type of text, with the proviso that any infographics specifically aimed at promoting a new product may need to take into account cultural nuances in the target population. This is no different than any other marketing translation, such as text on web pages, slogans, pamphlets, advertising on traditional media, and so on. 

This sort of translation needs the skills of translators who are familiar with localization techniques, i.e. making sure that the text used is not culturally confusing or offensive. This goes for the images and data used as well, so the whole package of translating infographics designed for marketing purposes may be left to experts in localization. The translation component is then just a part of the whole.

Much use of infographics is far less complicated. For example, technical, medical, and scientific-based infographics typically do not need anything but the text changed, as the cultural significance is not so important. For example, user manuals for new appliances these days are often accessed on the manufacturer’s own website. Infographics are commonly used in these “how to” manuals to help explain how to set up or use a new device or appliance. Labels for parts of equipment do need to be translated as well as any subtitling if there are video segments together with the main text used in the manual.


If you are intending to use infographics for new users or consumers who are not likely to understand the infographics you have already created in your own language, you will need to have these infographics professionally translated. Without infographics translation, their effectiveness in presenting the chunk of information you have developed will be absent or much reduced. Don’t hope that avoiding having your infographics, or any other material you have made available to the public, translated will help your budget. Your competitor, if you have one, will have worked out why infographics translation can be a powerful tool for presenting information in a meaningful way!

Tips for Advertising Translation

Translation is vital in the advertising industry, particularly if a business wants to operate in an international context. Successful advertisements must be engaging and appealing to their targeted market and address the audience with the most appropriate vocabulary. This is the key to the most effective advertising campaign. Advertisements often depend on subtle nuances placed within the text, so this means the literal translation is typically not sufficient to provide the right meaning. This means the advertisements need to be translated by a translator who can translate these subtle meanings without mistranslation.

Key tips for a successful advertisement translation

1. Know all there is to know about your targeted audience

If you are targeting, for example, an audience with a certain amount of money, this doesn’t mean the language you use in your translations will be the same. For example, older people with the same amount of disposable income as a younger age range may not be engaged with language that might be used by a younger person.

2. Recognize the importance of transcreation

A common mistake in any advertising translation is the literal translation that fails to completely understand the advert. All translations of advertising material need transcreation; that is when the wording and the tone are adapted to suit the target market. To ensure an advertisement has the best translation using a qualified translator of that language who resides locally might be the best way of ensuring an appropriate translation of the advertisement.

3. Forget machine translation

Running the text of an advert through Google Translate will not bring a good result. Machine translation gives literal translations, which do not work well in advertising campaigns.

4. Understanding the culture

An effective advertising translation depends on more than just translating a message meaning it also involves assessing how suitable a translation is likely to be for the audience. An insensitive translation of a marketing campaign could put off a potential customer, and, even a whole country. It could damage a company’s image and reputation and destroy customer relations. It is important to consider carefully all the marketing and advertising material and ensure the wording in the source language won’t offend the targeted customer in the translation.

5. Adapting SEO to the targeted market

SEO needs to be developed and adapted for each individual market so that it achieves maximum attention from the targeted audience. A translator or native speaker who understands all the ins and outs of a professional translation is necessary if the desire is to reach as many people as possible.

6. Trust your local translators

It would be so convenient if one advertisement could be used across all cultures and language speakers. Unfortunately, in practice, this isn’t the best way to go as cultures don’t always respond in the same way to advertising materials. The best way to adapt to these differences is to engage local translators who not only know their two languages well but also know the best way to use a translation of an advertisement, so it gets maximum interest. Looking at an advert from a local perspective helps to ensure the most appropriate language is used and no one is offended by the language used in the translation.

A good advertisement translation will have input from native speakers who both life and breathe their local culture and understand completely the subtleties of their language. Effective translation when used in advertising depends upon experts who are able to make use of their experience and knowledge to translate thoughtfully so that the advertisement translation reaches the targeted audience.

Global Translation: Words & Etiquette in China

China is progressing so fast as a country that even companies in Britain see it as a lucrative prospect. It is experiencing an increase in population, which in turn means an increase in potential consumers. Also, what is particularly important for British industries is the demand for the more luxurious end of the market.

One particular problem is communication and with China having a huge population, it’s even more important that a global translation company trains and markets translators who know and understand well all the different Chinese languages. Once you have a good understanding of Chinese culture and at least some words of Chinese language it will make communication easier.

Greetings are important for translation services

If you are a translation company trying to work your way into the Chinese market first impressions are very important so getting to know the Chinese expressions for greeting Chinese people moves you in the right direction.   Smiling and simply nodding are acceptable and common greetings when a meeting starts. Some of the more common greetings found in a meeting environment include ‘hěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ’. This means ‘nice to meet you’, and the word ‘jiǔyǎng’ is a formal expression which means ‘I`ve long been looking forward to meeting you’.  Without a doubt, Chinese business people normally are appreciative when foreign guests try to speak in Chinese.

Using the right words is important in a Chinese culture

Many people from China like positive comments, particularly about their culture and country, but they don’t like to discuss politics. This means if you have an advertising campaign you wish to use in China it should be ultimately straightforward avoiding any controversies.

Keep your cool in business interactions

Even if you aren’t happy about a business outcome, you should not show it, but remain cool, calm and collected.

Business meetings with Chinese counterparts

There is a general trend globally to use digital formats in business meetings, but this is not what Chinese businesses prefer. They still like to see all information in a hard copy so they can make their own decisions. Also, you can’t expect to gain a good, firm relationship in just one meeting this will only develop over time.

Emotional responses are not approved in a Chinese context

Showing emotions won’t endear you to a Chinese business person, so they are best avoided.

The opportunities for translation services in the Chinese context are great as business people need to understand and communicate with their audience as effectively as possible.

Press Release Translations are Best Left to Professional Translators

Press releases have become an integral part of marketing. They are best left for original messages, changes in business practice, special deals and release of new products. But for many businesses, press releases are a means by which the company’s profile is kept as visible as possible.

Businesses are much more likely to have a global presence these days and that means making sure that the message is translated into as many languages as are important to the business. Making sure that your all important press release is professionally translated into the languages of all your target markets is just as important as professionally translating business documents and the web pages of your main website.

A press release is a bit like making a speech, except it is a written speech, not a spoken one. Not so long ago, it would be common for the marketing executive or salesperson to use English as a medium of communication almost exclusively, in the hope that he or she would be understood. If the equivalent executive or salesperson was a native German, Japanese or Chinese speaker, it is highly likely that their message would fail to be understood by their audience if they restricted themselves to speaking in their native languages.

If they didn’t have an excellent command of English (or whatever the language was of the country they were visiting) hey would most likely have a professional interpreter to do the job of interpreting for them. Having to listen to someone giving a speech in halting English can be excruciating and in the end not very worthwhile. The same goes for a speech made in any other language. If it is not professionally delivered, then it can even be counterproductive. An unprofessionally delivered speech can give the impression that the company itself is unprepared and unprofessional.

What can be said about speeches and interpreting also goes for press releases and translation. A press release is not worth bothering with if it is left to someone in the office who thinks they can translate it themselves. Leave it to the professional translator and if at all possible choose a translator who specialises in business translation. They will at least understand what a press release is all about and make sure that the language used in the translation is the same sort of language used in a press release.

Localize Shopping Through a Simple Translation

For many years now English has been used as the preferred language for international business. However, today’s trends indicate that this is no longer the preferred method of communication when it comes to marketing products to consumers.

According to a poll conducted by the European Commission of 23 E.U. countries almost 20 percent of internet users said they never go to websites written in languages that are different from their own and more than 40 percent said they never buy either products or services from websites except those written in their native tongue.

In the larger less developed world, English is not such an acceptable language to use when marketing and purchasing products. Non-English speaking consumers prefer to make a purchase if the information is offered in their native language. Additionally, 80+ percent said they are more likely to make further purchases if the post sales care takes place in their native language. More than 60 percent prefer badly translated web pages in their native language using simple translation tools like Google translate rather than English only websites!

Start Small And Grow Bigger Over Time

If you are thinking of localizing your product so you can open it up to more potential buyers choose the most important of your non-English languages first. Get your website’s key pages translated by a Professional Marketing Translator and then trial these pages for say 2 months and see how your potential buyers treat your attempts at localisation. Throughout this trial period you can use tracking tools to see how your buyers are reacting to your newly translated website. If you have got a social media link on your new website, this will help you to know how much sharing has been going on too.

Localize Your Best Content

If you normally keep a blog going that keeps your visitors current with any new developments occurring within your company, this could be a good place to start when translating a relevant part of your website. If you have links back to your key website page from your blog this is a good monitoring point as you can see whether visitors to your translated blog will go back into your website to do more exploration. If they do, this should be the next part of your website for a Marketing Translation.

Live Chat is Good For Customer Contact

Once you have started to attract some non-English speaking customers your next step is to offer online support. This could be done by email but these days customers prefer to chat instantly online. You should try to set up a live chat facility that involves chat operators who can switch between languages so that the chat is effective as a means of communication.