Translation of Advertisements

August 29th, 2009

The usual advertising framework of many a multinational company—especially those originating from France—is mostly focused on marketing and communication strategies. More to the point, it's not necessarily a given for a large enterprise to hire freelance translation services or professional translation agencies when preparing their international commercials and promotions. Some companies actually insist that localization isn't necessarily the be-all, end-all answer to global advertising. The Two Approaches to International Promotions On that note, there are two approaches that a company can use to advertise in a foreign market: global standardization (promotes universal messages that can be understood by all creeds and cultures), and local adaptation (wherein the messages themselves are adapted into the native language and socio-political environment of the target market). The real question here is whether or not a company should opt to adapt global standardization or local adaptation when it comes to advertising their products and services to other countries. Global Standardization For many businessmen, a sound marketing plan consists of using a uniform advertising strategy in all targeted countries for the purpose of financial prudence and efficient resource allocation, so localization can actually be disadvantageous in that regard. The advantage of globally standardizing a company's international promotions roots from the economies of scale produced because of a standardized, homogenous, and unified marketing campaign. Simply put, you only need to hire a human translation expert to straightforwardly translate your existing campaign, and voila! You're done. To wit:

  • Standardizing consumer behaviors in many countries has been proven to be effective and beneficial to companies in the long run because it induces the cultural homogenization phenomenon.
  • Employing global standardization will assist companies in ushering the arrival of new categories of customers on the international level; i.e., they'll be able to create new transnational markets.
  • Globalization has long ago been underway thanks to pop music and television; the existence of popular culture, movie stars, celebrities, supermodels, and many more demonstrates that international icons and themes need not be limited to a given locale.
  • The number of wonderful concepts and ideas in the field of marketing and promotion is limited, so it's easier for companies to stick to a standardized strategy instead of going back to the drawing board every time they enter a new foreign market.
  • Eschewing culture and localization studies and hiring translation services to merely convert their existing message into another language has become a viable option nowadays.

Local Adaptation On the other hand, a company usually takes a huge gamble whenever it forces a domestic advertising campaign into the throats of its foreign audience. Local culture should not be underestimated as a relevant and important factor in a corporation's promotional tactics. Indeed, quite a number of past faux pas and gaffes have brought entire conglomerates to their knees time and time again. Therefore, the extra cost and effort needed to localize an advertising campaign may actually be worth it, especially in nations where tradition remains very crucial to everyday life. Moreover, through the localization approach, a professional translation firm performing both machine and human translation services can play a significant part in catering to the target audience's wants and needs. As such, a localizing translator must first pay careful attention to the following components of a local environment:

  • The socio-cultural factor that includes ethical norms, rules of conduct, social and commercial norms, mores, local peculiarities stemming from religion, native etiquette, and so on. In other words, this component deals with the main features of the target society and culture.
  • The politico-legal component that's composed of the laws related to information and certain products like alcohol and cigarettes, restrictions enforced on advertisements, the stage of opening onto the world, and the unique particulars of your target market's political system.

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