The challenges of translating social media content


Social media nowadays is an integral part of a company’s communication strategy. Companies with an international presence and a multicultural audience must ensure that they deliver multilingual content, adapted to the language of their audience. However, translating social network content presents specific challenges.


What are the challenges of social media translation?

The translation of content published on social networks (posts, comments, videos, etc.) poses particular challenges for translators. First of all, translators have to work with specific text lengths – particularly with regards to tweets limited to 280 signs on Twitter. However, when translating from one language to another, the number of words can vary very quickly. Consequently, the translator will not only have to transcribe the original idea into the source language, but also adapt the text to these technical constraints.

Social networks have other peculiarities such as hashtags, which pose another challenge for translators. Indeed, it is not advisable to only have a direct translation of an original hashtag when translating on social media. It requires research to find the most relevant hashtags in the country targeted by the translation. Sometimes the question arises as to whether or not the hashtag should be translated.

The tone used on social networks is very specific and varies from one medium to another. It also depends on the audience, the company, and its sector of activity. These are all factors that need to be taken into account in the translation process.


What skills are required to translate social media?

As you will realise by now, social media translation calls for very specific skills, including taking great care to respect the technical constraints imposed by this type of medium. But it is also essential to have in-depth knowledge of digital marketing and community management in order to respect the standards and language style specific to social networks. A translator who specialises in social media translation will need to have a perfect knowledge of the culture of the target country in order to adapt the translation to the target audience.

Finally, the translation of social media requires a certain level of creativity, as well as a great deal of adaptability to accommodate different formats, such as live videos and the types of posts specific to each social network.

For this type of digital content, it is therefore essential to use specialist translation professionals. Indeed, through communication on social networks, the entire brand image and reputation of a company is at stake. It is therefore advisable to use a professional translator, who specialises in the translation of this type of content, and at Alphatrad we offer this service in around a hundred languages (French-English, English-Spanish, English-Italian, English-Portuguese, English-Russian, English-Japanese, etc.).


What you need to know about social media translation

  • Translating content on social networks requires compliance with technical constraints and adaptation to the habits and behaviour of Internet users.
  • It also requires specific skills, such as a creative sense and a thorough knowledge of the culture targeted by the language.
  • A strong social media presence enhances your company’s reputation, so it is important to establish a multilingual communication strategy with a specialist translator.


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