Brand Name Translation: Tips on Avoiding Translation Mistakes
Taking your business across the border is exciting, and most companies know they need to translate marketing materials into other languages. However, working internationally also requires brand name translation. Not investing in brand name translation is one of the biggest marketing mistakes. It is essential that a brand translates its name and tagline to succeed in a new market and appeal to its new customer base.
You might be confused about why brand name translation is crucial, and you’re not alone. Many companies believe it is just a translation of words into the language their new market speaks to capture the customer base, but this isn’t the case. This article discusses this issue thoroughly by examining key points necessary for brand awareness and avoiding translation mistakes.
What is Brand Name Translation?
Brand name translation is a method to transform your product portfolio from one language to another by keeping the brand’s original content. This process is considered when a company expands its business from the local to the international market.
The first thing to consider when you translate brand names is understanding the meaning of the brand name in other languages. To avoid marketing translation mistakes, you must ensure that it portrays a similar concept in another language. If you have a brand name that implies a similar concept in all languages, there is no need to alter it, or you may wish to perform a literal translation.
On the other hand, words that mean different things in other languages (known as lexical cognates) can be a nightmare for brand name translation. For example, the word “Mist” in English means humidity, while it means “Manure” in German. A British company selling essential oil diffusers with a brand name like “In The Mist” isn’t going to have quite the same impact in the German market.
Although this seems simple enough to get right, companies often make marketing translation mistakes while translating their brand names as they cannot understand other marketplaces’ language and cultural factors comprehensively enough. Therefore, it is essential to do thorough research and consider investing in professional brand name translation services.
How Can you Achieve it?
Translating your product portfolio and brand names into something favourable and in-line with the global marketplace is essential. You can hire a brand name translation agency to alter your branding if it has a different concept in another language. A translation agency provides its expertise in creative translation by modifying brand names, product portfolios, and your overall corporate image.
In the translation process, the marketing team comprehensively analyses the market and prepares a report to present a clear picture of the brand alteration. Your translators should pay attention to cultural values customers hold when buying a new product – alongside a deep delve into the language and literal meaning – when they translate brand names. This cultural factor in brand name translation should encourage the audience to buy your products.
If you don’t want to hire a translation agency, businesses can analyse the trends in the market themselves and pay attention to what their ideal customers like. If your customers prefer original brand names that portray your company image, then there is no need to change them. In this case, you can also do a creative translation (transcreation) of your brand that provides similar meaning but in a creative way better attuned to your new audience.
Similarly, if the customers are interested in product names written in their languages, you should advise your marketing team to work on the translation process. You should adopt a literal translation process to achieve this kind of scenario, but be careful to avoid marketing translation mistakes and never do a word-for-word translation. You need to ensure that the meaning is maintained.
Why do Companies make Marketing Translation Mistakes?
Brand name translation is not just translating your brand or product names into another language. Most companies fail to comprehend the cultural factors behind the translation process. Moreover, businesses do not consider the basic principles and techniques needed to translate brand names effectively. As a result, they badly failed to capture the customers’ attention.
To avoid marketing translation mistakes, you must follow four crucial principles of the translation process, or chances of a poor brand’s image will be inevitable. Here is a closer look at these four principles of brand name translation:
- Brand names should advise the customers to buy the company’s products through an introduction in their languages. In this case, you can use creative and literal translation methods to convey your product message.
- Brand name translation should focus on sales. The amelioration process has no value if the company does not imply product sales in its brand name. It is a common problem for companies to translate brand names without focusing on the sale of products.
- Brand names should always keep the original aesthetic value. This principle is based on creative translation, which means creativity in the brand names. You should consider an artistic factor, too, when doing a creative translation of your brand name into a new language.
- Brand name translation should be according to customers’ cultural beliefs, buying behaviour, psychological factors, and local traditions. The most important principle for changing the brand name must be considered for the business expansion process.
A translation agency can be perfect if your company wants to avoid being involved in the research process. A translation agency provides expertise in both research and planning applications to comprehend customers’ interests and needs related to the brand name.
Examples of Brand Translation Mistakes
If the companies do not consider the first principle above, there will be adverse consequences when they try to translate brand names and taglines. For example, KFC launched their popular fast-food chain in Beijing and poorly translated their infamous product slogan, “Finger Licking Good”, into a cannibalistic message. This negatively impacted their sales and their brand in the Chinese market!
The translation of product names is also vital. For example, In the 1970s, American Motor was among the manufacturers that made translation mistakes. American Motor changed its mid-size car name into the Spanish word “Matador.” It later turned out that matador meant killer in the Spanish language. This translation disaster hurt the company’s sales in the Spanish market.
Other examples of marketing translation mistakes include American car manufacturing giant Ford. They launched their product slogan into the Belgium market and wanted to present that “every car has a high-quality body”. However, it translated that “every car has a high-quality corpse”—not quite the brand name translation quite wanted!
Renaissance Translations’ Creative Brand Translation
Brand name translation is crucial when a company expands its business into an internal market. This article highlighted the critical factors involved in the process. It has also mentioned vital principles that should be considered before changing the brand or product name. Following these principles will prevent marketing translation mistakes when taking your business overseas.
For further reassurance that you will translate brand names accurately and effectively, hire a brand name translation agency. Renaissance Translations is a leading language partner that has worked with many top brands worldwide. We offer professional translation or transcreation services, and a highly creative translator works on content translation.
Don’t hesitate to contact our project managers today if you want to discuss your creative brand name translation. Our network comprises 5,000+ linguists specialising in a range of languages and industries, and we are members of the Association of Translation Companies in England. We can help you translate brand names effectively and help you tap into whichever international market you have in your sights.