translation services atlanta
Engaging the Multilingual Community in Atlanta with Translation Services
April 3, 2019
translation services tourism
Multilingual Communication for Tourism
April 24, 2019

Successful Translation and Localization of Your Brand

localization and translation services for brand

Last updated on May 1st, 2019 at 03:01 pm

translation services localization brand
Translation and Localization of Your Brand for Global Success

How Does a Business Become International?

What does it mean to translate a brand?  What goes into translating a brand?  Making your brand appeal to international audiences is not as simple as seeking foreign investors or having your website translated.  Translating a brand goes all the way to the heart of what the company is about.  It must feel as natural to the target audience as it does to the business owner or the board of the company. 

Brands seeking an international audience have to be careful and protect their image and values when introducing their product and services to a new locale.  They have to be legally compliant, have a product and/or service that meets a need in their target market, and localize their message, value proposition, and marketing materials.  Through the help of a professional translation company, you can be assured that your brand and products or services will be localized by experienced translators with the skills and resources to make your marketing translation and website translation successful on a global scale.

That’s Not What I Meant to Say!

  • A well-translated and localized brand can attract more customers and increase the reach of your brand.  However, the best intentions don’t always yield the best results.  Even the world’s most well-known companies are capable of committing international faux pas when trying to localize their brands, products, and services. 

    Here are some examples of brands that tried translating their brand into different languages and cultures, the area they chose, and the results they got: 

    • Adobe: Everywhere! Software giant Adobe has improved customer service and broadened its reach by using machine translation and human post-editing.  Adobe has translated its customer support pages, product descriptions, and manuals into Russian, Spanish, French, and more, with options to switch between languages while using a product.  A Multilingual User Interface (MUI) installer can even select a language for the user based on the language their operating system (OS) is using. 
    • Netflix is available in over 190 countries. The brand’s successful global expansion is partly attributable to its focus on adding more languages and subtitles to its user interface.  For instance, Netflix added the local languages of Poland and Turkey to its user interface in 2016, six months after entering those markets.
    • Coke: New Zealand. In New Zealand, the phrase “Kia ora, Mate” was placed on vending machines.  Unfortunately, that translates to “Hello, Death” in the Maori language.  Perhaps Coke was trying to use “mate” as the English colloquialism for “friend” due to New Zealand’s proximity to Australia, but either way, it was badly localized and New Zealanders were unimpressed. 
    • Coke: China. Coke saw better success in China by using the phrase “Ke kou ke le,” which not only sounds similar to “Cola-Cola” but translates to “tasty fun” or “happiness in the mouth.”  This is a perfect example of quality localization as it stays true to Coke’s core brand message of joy, refreshment, and sharing with friends.  
    • Braniff International Airlines’ slogan “Fly in leather,” referring to their leather seats, translated into “Fly naked” in Spanish. This might appeal to some, but we’d suggest something else when approaching the powerful Spanish-speaking market. 
    • Mercedes-Benz: China. Known for its sleek, expensive cars, Mercedes-Benz stood to make huge profits in China under the name Benz.  They made a mistake though, because “Benz” sounds a lot like “ben si” in Chinese, which means “deadly foolish.”  That does not make a Mercedes-Benz sound classy or safe.  Later, they changed it to “Ben Chi,” which means “gallop” or “sprint.”   

Putting Your Right Word Forward When Localizing Your Brand

There are other examples of businesses succeeding or failing at winning over a multilingual market.  Successful brand localization needs planning, care, genuine interest in meeting the target market’s needs, and a local touch.

   That’s why our translation agency has a team to support your brand efforts. We are equipped with the valuable capabilities of research, developing a strategy and use of professional translators fluent not only in the source and target languages, but in the culture, desires, and habits of the market you are working on or trying to reach.

Here are some tips for the translation and localization of your brand:

  • Stay aware of your target market’s trends. Tastes can change in a day, so make sure to watch the influencers, listen to the market, and stay on top of industry news.
  • Meet your customers where they are, don’t wait for them to find you. How do they connect with each other?  What media do they like to use?  What search engines do they use?  What social media sites and apps do they prefer?  Find out, and translate your brand accordingly.   
  • Be open to change. Your localized brand might look much the same as it did, or it could be completely different.  You might need to use different colors- green is considered dignified and attractive in the Middle East, but using it in Indonesia would be taboo.  Like Coke, you might want to translate your brand’s name, or leave it as is.  Your translator will advise you as to whether your brand means something in the target language, or would be hard to pronounce for speakers of that language.   
  • Look at both sides of the aisle. While preparing to translate your brand, take a long look at what your brand’s fans say, and an equally long look at what your detractors say.  Being open to change pairs well with being open to criticism. 
  • Commit to your market. People know when a company doesn’t really care about them and isn’t putting in the effort to get close to them in a meaningful way. 
  • Write toward translation and localization. This means weeding out colloquialisms, jokes, and references that will not be understood in another language or culture.  Be sure that your tone is appropriate for the situation.  Write clearly and concisely to minimize mistakes, which will save time and money. 

There are specific practices that a professional translation company uses to achieve effective brand localization.  One of them includes development and implementation of a style guide.  The style guide can be best considered as a road map to translation and localization success for your brand.  A well-developed style guide sets standards that your company desires to maintain in your brand content on a global scale.  Elements that must be included in a style guide include the following-

Open Your Shop to the World through use of Localization and Translation Services

Effective translation and localization of your brand can mean successful expansion into new markets.  With the help a professional translation company like JR Language, you can be sure that your brand translation and localization is in the skilled hands of professional translators, linguist, engineers, and project managers who specialize in providing quality advertising translation services that will effectively bring your brand’s unique message and experience to a global front.   While some new technologies present cheaper and faster options for faster localization and translation, they may not be the most effective solutions for brand localization projects on a global scale.  

Always consider your brand’s value and image when it comes to assessing the cost of translation services! The cost of translation services gives your brand the opportunity to be accessible to the world in other languages. In investing in translation services, you also show respect for your audience by offering quality translated and localized websites, videos and other marketing pieces.  If your website is poorly translated or does not make sense to people, that communication opportunity gets lost. Would you buy from or trust a brand whose content is poorly written in English?

It’s important to also keep in mind that translating a brand doesn’t just mean translating the marketing materials.  Doing business in another language or nation requires translation of legal documents including licenses, patents, formation documents, and other legal texts.  Forms, surveys, and Human Resources material will also need translation, if the company has employees working in those places. For your brand localization and legal translation needs, JR Language will partner with you in your journey around the world.





Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.