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Global Strategy for Success in Any Language

Plan Your Global Strategy for Success in Any Language


Global Strategy for Success in any Language

Effective marketing materials and strategy play a key role in expanding your business into the global marketplace. Creating compelling text, however, can be a challenge when crossing borders. Marketing translation issues you might never have considered will arise.

Direct translations might sound awkward. Clever turns of phrase on the original site might have no impact in a different language. Cultural misunderstandings can cause offense instead of appeal.

While entering a new market may seem intimidating at first, this post will guide you through the best practices for translating branded content for new audiences.

Language Services Providers Can Sharpen Your Marketing

Language service providers (LSPs) are more than simple translation companies. With the rise of global markets, LSPs have expanded their services to include local consulting, business and legal advising, and, yes, global marketing.

If you plan on competing internationally, you should consider working with an LSP  from the beginning. With experts in local markets, quality firms can identify issues you might encounter, offer effective design and copy advice, and develop your concepts to resonate locally. By planning in advance, you can also cut down on eventual costs by avoiding the need to redo materials that were not positioned for the future.

Key Contributions an LSP Can Make

Design and Layout

Marketing materials are designed to optimize visual impact as well as content. When you begin to develop material, a basic truth should be considered: not all languages occupy the same amount of space to say the same thing. Consider, for example, the visual difference between German compound nouns and Chinese characters. Each language will need different amounts of space  to convey the same message.

An LSP with marketing design experience will understand these nuances. They can advise on basic layout principles while keeping future expansion into other markets in mind. By taking design issues into account early in your process, you will be able to leverage existing materials much more cost-effectively as you continue to expand.

Transcreation Versus Translation

A simple translation brings words from one language into another. The approach is as literal as possible, with focus on meaning. Transcreation, however, goes beyond basic translation by taking into account the feel of the original text. Issues of tone, style, and context do not always have a carbon copy in different languages.


Idiomatic expressions are a great example of the value of transcreation. You can translate the phrase “no use crying over spilt milk” into French, for instance, and perhaps convey a rough meaning through context. But a similar saying in French, “les carrottes sont cuites” – literally “the carrots are cooked”– will express the idea instantly for a French reader with no added context clues necessary.

Transcreation can be helpful when it comes to brand and product names or slogans. Any time a word or phrase is meant to be short, pithy, playful, or meaningful, an LSP will be your best bet for recognizing when they won’t work in another language, while offering a successful alternative.

Local Marketing for Local Audiences

Cross-language barriers are not always just a matter of words. Cultural nuance comes into play as well. What might be commonplace and tame in Western countries can be deemed too racy in more conservative Middle Eastern ones. As noted above, colloquialisms are also culturally based. Not making sense in another language is one thing; creating an inadvertently inappropriate campaign is another matter entirely.

Lively, interesting marketing, however, does not need to give in to generic neutral copy. Language professionals with experience in various foreign locales can produce equally compelling text that will have the same impact, regardless of location.

Elevate Your Strategy Globally

Planning a global marketing strategy takes time and care. The more review you do before commiting your budget, the more cost-effective and successful your future campaign will be. If you are expanding into overseas markets, you likely already have a significant amount of organic marketing material to leverage.


Assemble a team of stakeholders to assess your materials, including language service providers. Gather input about what your marketing efforts mean today, and how you can begin to convey those ideas into other languages. Consider everything from copy to logos and imagery that has been successful, and establish a plan for your translation and transcreation needs.

Article Contributor:  Rachel Wheeler , Morningtrans.com