Watch yourself from making marketing translation mistakes

Everybody loves a pun or a jingle, something that makes a brand stick in your mind. But when it comes to spreading your brand worldwide, that same clever little play-on-words probably isn’t going to work across the globe.

The How Not-To Guide: Marketing Translation Mistakes — Pleinairmoab, Inc.

Why you shouldn’t Rely on Google Translate

Although online translation tools, such as Google Translate, can be great for getting a rough understanding of a foreign text, they struggle with more complex play-on-words. Which means that the results can be pretty embarrassing and certainly not what the CEO of a company would knowingly want to broadcast.

So how can you make brand marketing effective in all languages and remembered for the right reasons rather than the wrong ones? First of all, you should focus on the content. Don’t try to wing it with it a diploma in Spanish. Clever marketing is as much about language knowledge as marketing expertise, so when going global you should leave it to the professionals.

Make a Catchy Slogan

The second important question is layout and appearance. Think about how your slogan will look in another language and culture. This can also apply to the colors used – although orange is Holland’s national color, it may not be the best option for other countries.

Learn from the Experience of Others

So, if we haven’t made it clear how important it is to use the professionals, here’s a couple of fun examples of marketing translation mistakes. This is what happens when companies forget to check their brand names globally:

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market to promote the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope”, the shirts said “I Saw the Potato”.

KFC‘s famous “finger lickin’ good” tagline had a whole other meaning in the Chinese market, where it was translated as “eat your fingers off”.

Pepsi‘s “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation” was translated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead” in Chinese.

Localization agencies like us here at Pleinairmoab can offer you marketing ideas with local linguistic and cultural expertise to avoid little mistakes like these ones.