Taking your Copywriting Global

 

Creating a great ad campaign and other materials to promote your business, isn’t easy.  Adapting this material to foreign audiences is even harder.  Whether you’re preparing an international advertising campaign or trying to reach the diverse US market, you’ll need an experienced transcreator – that is, a translator who’s a whiz at localization (adapting material to a particular market).

Here are a few other essentials that will keep your brand’s message from getting lost in translation:

– Research.  Not all markets and audiences are the same.  Find out what appeals to yours, by getting to know it a bit.  You can start by simply searching for a term like “advertising for [your target market]”.  Content specialist Alison O’Byrne also suggests visiting the top websites in your market.  Notice things like their look, tone, and what seem to be popular needs.  This can help you determine advertising strategies.

Know how your audience talks.  Even the same language can vary from place to place.  For example, if you’re selling hot dogs in France, you can simply call them “hot dogs”. But if you’re selling the same product in French-speaking Canada, you’d better be sure to call them chiens chauds.

– Understand what – and how –  to celebrate.  If your ad campaign, product or service is tied to a certain holiday or season, make sure it’s relevant to each overseas market you’re trying to conquer. And bear in mind that knowing what people celebrate is only half the battle; you also have to know how they do it.  For example, Christmas crackers are an iconic part of the holiday in many English households. But an American would probably have no idea what they are. Climate is another important detail to keep in mind.  It’s probably not a good idea to advertise a Christmas sweater sale in Australia, where the holiday falls during the warmest season of the year.

– Be flexible.  Even if you love your company’s slogan, be prepared to say goodbye. When you’re reaching out to international markets, you may not be able to directly translate it, for either cultural, or vocabulary-related reasons.

– Don’t shy away from social media.  Social media is becoming an increasingly popular way to advertise.  For many major international brands, it’s almost expected.  The reason?  It allows you to reach out to clients and potential clients, and it’s also cost-effective -especially if one of your posts, conversations, or other exchanges, goes viral.  But each market has its own subtleties and unspoken rules.  A great transcreator should be able to create social media content that will speak to locals.

 – Use native speakers for feedback…  Once your material is written, consider running it by some native speakers to see if they’ll spot mistakes, or, more importantly, if they’ll react differently than expected.  You can ask native speakers you might know, or place an ad to form a focus group.  If you’re on a shoestring budget, reach out to students online, offering academic credit or a good addition to their resume.

-…but rely on accredited translators and transcreators.  Getting a sense of how your ad will work in a local market is invaluable, but so is having solid material in the first place. A professional specialized agency like aiaTranslations will be able to navigate both language and culture, ensuring that your message is truly translated – in all senses of the word – for your target markets.

by Alysa Salzberg

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