Global brands need to promote themselves in different markets and sometimes the same campaign that’s translated in every language they need to address audiences seems like a great idea. But good translations – when good means you use the correct equivalent in a given language – is not enough to effectively communicate brand values, a campaign’s quirky message or a product’s benefits.
The next step to render a campaign local and to make it work for a certain culture is to adapt it. Translate, then adapt. It’s a two step process, but the latter seems to be forgotten way too often. Sometimes it’s budgetary constraints, sometimes it’s because people think it would sound cool and trendy, other times it’s just because people lack the experience of localizing global campaigns.
Words can often fool you. They sound and look close enough, the even express the correct meaning. But how different cultures use them in day to day expressions and phrases is worlds apart from one country to another. There’s a very good example for that and I have written about it in Romanian as well. Legendary vs. Legendar. The first word is in English, the second is its Romanian counterpart. They are spelled almost identically, they sound quite similar. The meaning is close. But Romanian usage of legendary is not the same. Surprisingly or not, very few things are legendary to us.
So remember, no matter how smart, cool or trendy a certain idea or message sounds in the language of origin, do your best to also adapt it after translating it!