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How can companies avoid falling into the trap of creating an advert or campaign that doesn’t translate well or is culturally insensitive?

When a company creates an advertising campaign, it must work in all countries it will be broadcasted to so it’s correctly understood and has the intended impact.

That involves working with local linguists with relevant sector-specific expertise to make sure that every single word or implied notion is understood as intended, does not offend, or look ill-informed.

There have been countless examples of companies not doing this, which should convince anyone how important it is to make sure that every adaptation is up to the highest standard it can be.

Once upon a time, Coors advertising team came up with the phrase ‘Turn it Loose’ to appeal to people to have a good time and drink their beverage.

However it was not the loose they intended as when it was directly translated to Spanish, it became ‘diarrhoea’. No one wants a beer to do that to them.

Occasionally, issues can arise when no thought is given to how a campaign may be perceived by the audience in relation to current events.

KFC’s ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ tagline is clearly very memorable, but could have come across as incredibly tactless had it not been removed so quickly at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The team behind the iconic phrase blurred it out so as not to encourage people to lick their fingers when the virus was spreading so rapidly around the globe.

Another company that could have avoided a public ‘roasting’ by investing properly in its translation strategy is one of the biggest in the world – Amazon.

The online selling site launched in Sweden recently but many were quick to spot that their translations were not thought out.

Many seem to think they were adapted from English to Swedish using only machine translation considering the many mistakes made.

These mistranslations will have caused countless hours of reworking the website by the Amazon team, which need not have happened had they had local linguists work alongside them.

So how do you avoid going down the same road as these big brands?

Working with native linguists will always help. There is no one better to tell you if a campaign will work than someone who is experienced with branding as well based in the market.

Codex Global offers a wide range of services that are designed to overcome the linguistic and cultural differences that can pose risk to brands looking to increase their global presence.

Cultural consultations, market insights, transcreation, multilingual keyword research and brand management are just a few examples of services that can help brands ensure that their messaging is sensitive to the local climate and makes the right impact.

If you’d like to find out how Codex Global can help your brand, contact the team at info@codexglobal.net

November 23rd, 2020

Posted In: Localisation

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