Brand Translation: Between Literal Translation And Creative Translation
When you name a brand, you must ensure that it will translate well between international markets. Various types of professional translation may apply including literal translation and creative translation. You must choose the translation that works best for your company to ensure it will convey the desired meaning to your target audience.
This article will look at brand translation and how it applies in literal translation and creative translation applications.
Creative Translation vs. Literal Translation
Literal translation is the more straightforward of the two. It takes the content and translates it into another language word for word. It is the simplest form of translation and it’s often integrated into machine translation.
There are some benefits that come with literal translation. These include the following:
- Allowing translators to translate quickly speeding up project turnaround.
- Making the content easy to understand when translated.
- Using literal translation means important pieces of information are less likely to be excluded.
Literal translation is good for some documents, step by step instructions and the types of content that tend to be dry and impersonal. However, it is not great for translating idioms, slang, or popular sayings. When it is applied to certain types of content, it can lead to embarrassing errors.
On the other hand, creative translation, or transcreation is a more human translation. It doesn’t just ensure that the phrase makes sense in a linguistic and grammatical sense. It also must ensure that it works well in the context of communication.
Creative translation also comes with its share of advantages. These include the following:
- Considering the context of the message making it more effective.
- Properly translating idioms, sayings, and slang to avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
- Taking the target audience into account making the content culturally relevant.
While creative translation has its advantages, only professional translators with great knowledge of the culture of the target audience can perform well. Therefore, it is exclusive to human translation only, not machine translation. It is also more expensive and time consuming than literal translation.
What is the Best Method for Brand Translation?
So, what is the best method for brand translation, literal translation, or creative translation? When you compare the two, creative translation, the more human translation of the two, takes the cake.
Brand translation is typically performed via creative translation or phonetic translation. Phonetic translation or transliteration essentially keeps the brand name the same. In other words, it sounds almost the same in different languages.
Creative translation is a more human translation that puts the brand name in context. It ensures that it will be understood across cultures. It is not always the best method, but it works well in several applications.
There are many reasons why you will want to choose the proper method of brand translation for your company. If the name has a negative connotation, the brand could be in trouble. And if the brand tries to correct the mistake, it will be a long and costly procedure. It will take an entire rebranding process that will be expensive and may alienate existing customers. And even after rebranding is performed, people can still associate the brand with its old name permanently ruining its reputation.
Companies that have made Brand Translation errors
Many companies have made brand translation errors including major ones like Coca-Cola, IKEA and Mercedes Benz. Coca-Cola, for example, chose machine translation as their professional translation of choice. Unfortunately, they found that their name meant something like ‘bite the wax tadpole’ in Chinese.
The company has since integrated a phonetically transliterated approach that combines creative and phonetic translation, and the name now translates as ‘happiness in mouth’ or ‘tasty fun’ in Chinese. Much better!
The Bing search engine learned from the mistakes of the brands that proceeded them. When the Microsoft company used literal translation, they found that some of their characters had negative associations translating the name to ‘illness’ and ‘disease’. But with creative translation, it worked well across a variety of international markets.
What are the key factors to consider in coming up with a brand name that works well across platforms?
Here are some factors to consider when coming up with a brand name that works well in any professional translation application.
- Easy to Spell and Pronounce: A brand name that’s simple to spell and pronounce will be easy for people of all dialects to recognise.
- Holds Up Well Across Cultural Barriers: Before deciding on a name, it is a good idea to run it through various human translation and machine translation applications. This is to ensure it does not have any negative connotations in certain languages.
- Trademark and Legislation: Check the brand name availability to ensure you don’t come across any trademark or legal issues. If you try to use an existing name, it could lead to considerable costs and hassles.
How Renaissance Translations Can Help with Your Brand Translation Process
Getting your brand name right the first time is so important. That’s why it is advisable to take it to a professional translation services provider before making it public. If you are looking for a reliable professional translation agency, we are here to help.
Renaissance Translations offers professional translation services in any language. We provide literal translation, creative translation, human translation, machine translation and more. Our mission is to improve communications across diverse audiences focusing on a variety of media including print, online, audio and video.
Brand translation is so important. Don’t trust it to just anyone. Get in touch today for professional translation services you can rely on.