Marketers Should not Skimp on Translation Budgets
English Translation: Come Alive With Pepsi!
Chinese Translation: Pepsi Bring Your Ancestors Back From The Dead!Not the same thing, really, now is it?
HSBC spent $10 million changing it’s branding from “Assume Nothing” to “The world’s private bank” after the slogan “assume nothing” was translated in many countries as “Do Nothing”.
Really. Not the same thing, now is it?
When professional translators set to work, they have an intimate knowledge with the target language (as well as the language they are translating from). They understand that they are not translating words. They are translating what the words are about. They are translating ideas.
A recent article by professional translator Kevin Hendzel made the analogy between translating and rock climbing: Rock climbers often feel like grabbing more tightly to the rock when they are unsure, but this is a dangerous manoeuvre. Counter intuitive but safer is to lean away from the rock with your upper body. Similarly, often leaning away from word-to-word translations results in a better translation.
Swedish Vacuums Suck, Apparently
“Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux”What? It rhymes, doesn’t it?
We’re a little unsure how companies as large as these would think skimping on translation is ever a good idea.
But then again, why pay for a professional translation when Google Translate does it for free, right?
Now, to end on a positive note, in 1994, in order to appeal to the Hispanic market in California, the California Milk Processing Board created its first Hispanic advertising campaign.
Understanding that “Got Milk” wouldn’t translate well to the Hispanic market, not only because the direct translation would be awkward, but also because Hispanic women did not find running out of beans, rice or milk funny.
The Hispanic campaign was centered around the slogan “Y Usted, Les dio suficiente leche hoy?” (Did you give them enough milk today?) with the tagline: “Familia, Amor, y Leche” (Family, Love, and Milk).
This ensured that the intended market understood the intended message. The additional time and effort it took to create a campaign that was targeted to the audience made all the difference.
Share these around, not only for the laughs, but also the important message that listening to your audience and being culturally sensitive matters. Thank you, and have an awesome day!