For ambitious companies, the ability to become a global business has become easier now than ever before. With increased connectivity and globalization, more and more brands are becoming international. Advertising is a key part of this! Today we are going to explore the theme of translating adverts. We’ll look at the potential issues it can cause, and the techniques needed to accurately translate adverts! Also we’ll look the importance of advertising!

The Potential Pitfalls for Translating Adverts

Like with all translation, there is always a big potential for error. A few careless mistakes can make a big difference in a text. However, when it comes to translating adverts, the margin for error is even smaller. Adverts generally contain little written text. Any language that is present is chosen very carefully! Making sure that you effectively translate it requires an expert eye. Not only does it need to replicate the original meaning, but also any imagery of meaning it invokes.

Adverts often pair the verbal and the non-verbal. Text is often used to enhance the imagery to which it accompanies. When translating these across, care also needs to be taken with the images used. What can be totally innocuous in one language can cause offense in another. For example, some hand gestures have totally different meanings across cultures.

Context is Key!

An important concept of translation for jobs such as adverts is ‘localization’. Localization is the process of adapting something so that it seems natural in the target market. Apart from the language its written in, this can include modifying currencies, units of measurement or the formatting for dates or phone numbers. It makes people feel as though it has been made for them, and thus they will react better to it. The most difficult part of this is making the content suit local preferences. Therefore, attention should be paid to the context:

  • Socio-historical context. Each country remembers history in a different way. Furthermore, each society experiences different trends. Therefore, some references or jokes may not be understood in a different language.
  • Linguistic context. The choice of language used is important. Some idioms or slogans may not make sense when directly translated. For example, in 1987 KFC’s famous “It’s finger-lickin’ good!” slogan was translated into Chinese as “We’ll Eat Your Fingers Off!”. A lack of understanding of the linguistic context can be embarrassing for the company!

Translation vs Transcreation

An important concept for translating adverts is transcreation. Transcreation is the concept in translation of, instead of focusing on the exact replication of the content, adapting it so that it evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications as the original. It requires someone to be an expert in both languages, but can lead to far more appealing adverts!

Since adverts often look to create an emotional impact in the reader to make their advert memorable, transcreation is important!

We hope you found this article on translating adverts interesting. If you’d like to take your advertising global, then consider visiting us at iTrad Traducciones. Our team of experienced translators come fully sworn, as well as carrying the ISO 19001 and UNE-EN 17100:2015 standard guarantees. They are all experts in their own field, assuring careful quality no matter what the subject. If you’d like to find out more, don’t hesitate to visit us at iTrad Traducciones or email us at!

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