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Translation and Multilingual DTP: Are You Paying Attention To Your Packaging?

Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 11:51 am

Competing in a global economy and trying to reach other markets is exciting, and brings other activities to your marketing effort. You can charm customers by translating your products packaging, but in doing so you will need to incorporate other steps to ensure that you are doing it right. If you do not take the time to address important issues, instead of reaching potential customers, you will turn them off.

Recently, I went to the local hardware store to buy a replacement for my kitchen sink faucet. While trying to find the right faucet, one of the boxes caught my attention. Not because of its great design or the fact that it was the replacement I was looking for, but because it had a word in Spanish that I didn’t understand. They had used “acobado” for “acabado”; an obvious misspelling in Spanish.

This shocked me because they are one of the leading companies for faucets and are well-known for the quality of their products. I was puzzled by the contradiction. They didn’t reflect the same quality in their packaging with poor translation and errors in the DTP. Their mistakes can be used as a guide for the elements you need to take into consideration while doing translation and Multilingual DTP:

  • Check and update your TM’s: Be careful with your translation memories; if they have an error it can be repeated several times.

  • Be consistent: Maintain order in the languages used in the packaging.
  1. a. Do not switch the order – From the beginning the language order on the packaging was: EN-SP-FR and, suddenly they switched it to: EN-FR-SP. Eyes get used to seeing things a certain way and that error can complicate the instructions. Be careful!
  2. b. Do not mix the languages – They introduced a French and an English word on a Spanish instruction.

  • Always proofread:  Especially after incorporating the translation into the design of your packaging. With this step, you will avoid errors that can be introduced by the designers while typesetting the translation. Proofreading is paramount with multilingual DTP after translation.
  • Use the right people: Creating packaging in multiple languages requires more attention to detail. Use designers who know the languages or have your products proofread by someone who does.

Going global is fun and exciting but you need to do it with the appropriate resources and the right process in place. Two basic components for success are:

  1. Creating a quality product
  2. Respecting and taking into consideration your target audience

When it comes to globalization, respecting your target customer’s language is critical to their understanding of your product and service offering.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.