Just as a good marketing strategy is key to a brand’s success, so too is it of the utmost importance that companies wanting to reach international markets develop an internationalization strategy in which their campaigns are translated into other languages. In today’s article we look at why translation is key to marketing products beyond a company’s national borders. 

First and foremost, what is marketing? According to the online Oxford Dictionary, ‘marketing’ is “the activity or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising”. 

First off, marketing identifies the target market, or the profile of those people who the campaign is directed at. Selling to young adults aged between 25 and 30 with a middle socioeconomic status who are interested in the latest technologies is not the same as selling to managers aged between 50 and 55 with a high socioeconomic status. The marketing strategies to reach both groups will be completely different. 

As you’ve already guessed, groups can differ in age, socioeconomic status, interests, consumer habits and, of course, cultural aspects. That same group of young adults aged between 25 and 30 with a middle socioeconomic status and interested in the latest technologies will have different characteristics depending on the country where they live, because they belong to different cultures. 

Therefore, if a company wants to commercialize its product in other countries, it should adapt its strategy to certain cultural elements, independently of whether the product is the same and directed at the same target group, so that it is appealing in this new country. 

Depending on the size of the company, there may be an internal team to develop this strategy or alternativley, an external marketing and advertising company may be hired, which will use studies and analyses on the product or service and the target markets. 

Generally speaking, there are numerous strategies that a company can use to market its products and services. One of these is inbound marketing, which “accompanies” prospective buyers throughout the buying process to increase their satisfaction and develop customer loyalty. So-called “content marketing,” which adapts the content to a previously defined target audience, is widely used as part of this strategy. 

In other instances, companies can also resort to direct marketing which, as indicated by its name, uses means to communicate directly with and obtain information from the target audience. 

In any event, and independently of the strategy used, companies will clearly generate a large number of texts related to marketing and digital marketing: brochures, posters, online ads, television adverts, product catalogues, and even press releases, newsletters and emails. This is where professional translators and translation agencies come into their own. 

Just as large amounts of money are allocated to market research, developing slogans or identifying the best colours for a logo, among others, companies must also take care that all these texts are correctly adapted to the target country or region. They must ensure that 

these texts are properly localized, which involves linguistically adapting the content to cultural differences by means of creative translation. 

Localization can determine a company’s success or failure. During this process, it is crucial not to include any elements that may offend the audience of the target culture, or even elements that may be misinterpreted. As we already discussed in a previous blog post, something seemingly insignificant, such as colour, tends to play an important role in how a message is transmitted. How we interpret colours and the message they send out is clearly cultural, and therefore this must be considered when internationalizing a brand and translating a web page. 

There are many examples that show just how important good localization is when marketing a product to a foreign audience. A famous example is the Japanese car brand Nissan, which has a model called “Moco”. Given that “moco” means “mucus/snot” in Spanish, it comes as no surprise that this name wasn’t commercialized in Spain!

In this instance, a good internationalization strategy would involve rebranding, which entails creating a new name, symbol or logo for the brand with the aim of adapting it to a target market.

That said, not all translations are unfortunate. An example of this is in China where many Western brands decide to adapt their names to characters so that the Chinese don’t encounter any problems recognising or pronouncing them. Sometimes Chinese characters are used which are pronounced in a similar way to the original words, while on other occasions, brands opt for an entirely different word that captures the meaning of the original word.

Thus, there are examples such as Apple, which has adapted its name to Chinese characters in such a way that it is pronounced “píngguŏ”, which literally means “apple”. Coca-Cola, which in Chinese is called “Kekoukelè”, is a striking example; not only is this word pronounced in a very similar way to the original, but it also means “delicious happiness” in Chinese. There isn’t a more suitable name to reflect the message the brand wants to give out.

As we’re seeing, marketing and translation go hand in hand. An internationalization strategy requires a highly creative type of translation, whether that be to translate a web page or advertising campaigns, or the actual products (name, instructions, etc.).

Whether you want to market your product to foreigners in your home country or you want to sell in Europe (or beyond), don’t hesitate to contract a professional translator or translation company. Here at Tatutrad, a translation agency based in Seville, Spain, we have the best talent for this task. Get in touch to request further information; we’ll be delighted to offer advice and find the best solution for your business.