Why Localization Matters - Your Brand and Translations


In today’s marketing landscape, the importance of a strong brand cannot be understated. How you differentiate your brand in markets both foreign and domestic can be the difference between success and failure.


Establish Your Brand Voice

Branding is an important part of any business. It includes your logo, color and font choices, the types of images and words you use. A large part of branding is your brand voice – the way you communicate to the public and your target audience.

Is your company serious and direct? Fun and quirky? How does your audience like to be spoken to? A corporate law firm will have a very different brand voice than a children’s toy company. Are there words and phrases you like to use? Any that you absolutely avoid?

By clarifying your brand voice, you ensure that your marketing efforts are consistent. This builds trust with your audience and that ultimately leads to sales. Best practices recommend creating a brand voice guideline document for use in all your marketing efforts.

Translation and Your Brand

Once you have established guidelines for your brand voice, share them with your translation agency. Be very clear on the type of language, tone and attitude you require. Do you prefer formal or informal language?

Work closely with your translators to ensure that your brand language – name, tagline, and regularly used phrases, accurately translate both in content and cultural context.

In certain languages, for example, if there is not a word that will work as a substitute for a company or product name the word may be transliterated (sounded out) – but be careful, the sounds of your brand name could end up as something quite unintentional, as explained in an earlier article.

We recommend that you establish separate, localized brand guidelines for each language/market and include the correctly translated company, brand, and product names, commonly used words, phrases etc. that you have established need to be expressed in a particular way. This will help ensure consistency across all channels.

Customer Service Translations

You have established your brand voice and are presenting your company to a worldwide audience but don’t forget your customer service. On an ongoing basis, how they communicate with your customers can leave a lasting impression and so you want to ensure the messaging used is consistent with your brand guidelines.

You may feel the only ways to do this are to either scale up your customer service team to ensure you have an internal resource for every language you serve or work with an agency offering human customer service translations. How else can you get those specific demands you’ve laid out?

A customer service machine translation tool like Transfluent’s Zendesk app can meet these demands by creating a custom library of phrases, translations and style that meets the demands of your brand guidelines. The translations it generates then take those into account, so it’s possible to maintain consistent messaging even with an automated translation service.

Translations That Account For Local Needs

Idioms, colloquialisms and brand names are not the only things that can present a challenge to translators. Will the foreign market relate to your style in the same way as customers will at home?

In certain countries, it is important to use particular forms of pronouns when speaking to a female audience regarding women’s issues. To do so in the incorrect context is insulting. To fail to do so in the correct context, equally so.

More than that, the attitudes around your industry may vary between regions. The United States, for example, values fitness, independence, and competition. Health and fitness brands often use images of men and women in a gym or working out wearing clothing that covers very little. Other parts of the world find those images objectionable. The “just do it” attitude of a company like Nike may not translate in a region that values community and reflection over competition and self-improvement.

It may take time to adapt your marketing strategy and brand voice to a particular market, but the results are well worth it.

Working with a translation agency like Transfluent, you can avoid pitfalls and strengthen your presence in foreign markets by ensuring your communications are consistent, correctly positioned and on-brand.

 Let's get started!


Image source: Jason Rosewell via Unsplash

Share on social media
Jenni Ahlapuro

Jenni Ahlapuro

Jenni is a home yogi, unicorn lover and the Marketing & Communications Director at Transfluent.