Why Traditional Translation Does Not Work for Marketing Translation

Marketing translation is a totally different ball game in the world of translation. It is very different from traditional translation such as medical, legal or technical. There are a lot of risks and challenges involved in translating marketing text for global campaigns and organizations.

If a translation agency translated marketing content with a traditional approach, the result would be a very poor, general copy that is processed in bulk without a spark. Poorly translated marketing copy can leave a negative impression of the brand in the same way as a poorly designed presentation would.

Every translation field has its own challenges and pitfalls but the adaptation of marketing copy into other languages is particularly difficult. That’s because the marketing copy requires a translator to have a deep understanding of how the brand’s character will be conveyed in another culture and language in order to be perceived correctly by the target audience.

A literal translation of a marketing copy will destroy and damage a brand. Only a well-researched marketing translation will strengthen its identity while preserving the brand’s uniqueness. Marketing translation is not just for product descriptions, sale letters or advertising. Because of the growth in communication channels, the overall content holds the key to success and revenues. This means every single page of copy plays a vital role in bringing business.

How is Marketing Translation Different?

It is important to understand the objective of the marketing copy. Is it aiming to introduce the brand or is it building on the brand’s character and describing its benefits? No matter what the purpose is, a translator needs to understand the goal of the copy and only then an appropriate process can be selected to achieve the results.

When offering advertising translation services, translators must have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the target audience in order to translate the marketing copy in a culturally appropriate way. Translators must also have a very creative mind and expert translating skills to adapt the marketing copy. They need to focus on the meaning behind the copy, brand values and tone instead of just translating the actual words. A literal translation may be correct but will be meaningless in marketing translation. This is by far one of the most differentiating factors of marketing translation as opposed to others.

There are some very common marketing pitfalls and traps that translators may not have to deal with in other translation fields. Here are the top tips to overcome the common challenges in marketing translation:


Humour is very subjective to each language. What one finds funny in one language may have a completely different meaning in another language. How do you translate and convey the same humour in the same words? You can’t. Translators have to be smart and overcome the challenge by being very creative. They can do that by researching deeply about what can be perceived as humorous in the target audience. A different approach, phrase or catchy line may not be exactly the same as the original text but can convey the same effect on the audience.

Idioms, Puns and Metaphors

When writing taglines, advertising copy and headlines, writers can use puns, metaphors and alliteration. All these linguistic tools make the copy appealing and memorable. But how do you translate these puns in another language? This is another challenge for the marketers because the target audience may not understand the idea behind the translated puns and idioms. Thankfully, there are tools and online sources where translators can find particular idioms and puns that convey the same meaning behind a different pun and metaphor of another language. Such sources can come in handy.

Colours and Imagery

The right image will spark an intended emotional appeal and deliver the brand’s message in a compelling way. However, just as words can be perceived differently so is the case with imagery and colours. The use of colours and imagery in particular ways can be perceived either negatively or positively depending on the target culture. For example, when a western baby food company used a picture of a baby on its products in the African market, it backfired because the target audience is used to perceiving the image on the product to be its contents inside.

Deep research and understanding of the culture are essential to avoid this pitfall.

Partner with a Popular Translation Company

A trusted translation agency like Torjoman is experienced in marketing translation services. Our talented translators are professionals and experts in the marketing field with a deep understanding of different cultures. If you’re looking to make your marketing translation smooth, hassle-free and on point, partner with Torjoman.