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27.03.2017

About blogs that can resurrect the dead – and really good translations...

The Taiwanese could hardly believe their eyes when one day Pepsi started marketing itself as an elixir that could resurrect their ancestors from the dead. That's how Pepsi's slogan "Come alive with Pepsi" had been translated into Taiwanese. A daring campaign – but unfortunately with little truth to it. So international marketing has its pitfalls. If you try to conquer a foreign market with a mistranslated slogan, the project will soon run aground. But you can also generate plenty of dubious amusement even with much "simpler" business text, such as with a "poorly translated" blog ...

 

Everybody has them, everyone wants it – but if the quality is not good enough, the project will come to nothing. We are talking about company blog posts and content with added value. Not long ago, blogs were popping up like mushrooms. UK companies starting filling their pages as if it was a race – until at some point they realised that random content was not achieving the goal, and that poor or cheap texts might have been filling up more pages and maybe even bringing more traffic, but they weren’t resulting in more orders. Because customers didn't feel like companies were really engaging with them.

 

Good copywriter, bad translator? Unfortunately, it doesn't work

The reason why blogs are unsuccessful: not every copywriter achieves the desired conversational tone that's fun to read and fits with your business. Customers set great store by high entertainment value, especially when it comes to company blogs or content. The same applies to the added value of a text. However, if you've overcome the obstacles and got a great blog going that attracts lots of readers – you now face the next hurdle: does all that still work in the translation?

 

Adapting the style and country-specific features to the target language

The same applies to content, blogs, and so on as to translations in general: the translation of a text has to take into account the country-specific features to avoid accidentally breaking taboos or ignoring critical aspects. So the translator needs not only to have a way with words, but also be familiar with the culture, trends, developments, and "spirit" of the target country.

 

What to bear in mind for translations of blogs, social media, content, and so on – a brief summary:

  • As a top priority, hire native speakers to make sure the liveliness and wordplay are preserved and adapted to the target country where possible
  • Use translators with current knowledge of the target country – because they'll also know what your foreign customers are interested in at the moment
  • Ideally use specialist blog translators – because they can ensure a lively exchange of comments, shares, etc. in spite of any language barriers and differences in mentality
  • Remember, quality, not price is what counts – because communication with your customers is too valuable for blunders