A commonly used anglicism for the adequacy of products in foreign markets is localization. This process implies the adaptation of a good or service to be accepted in a specific geographic location, according to the uses and customs of the communities that live there.
An example of this would be the different flavors of Kit-Kat chocolate in Japan, such as the flavor of Green Tea or Sweet Red Beans. However, the success of this popular brand of sweets did not lie only in the adaptation of its product to the palate of the Japanese people, but also in the understanding of their language.
Kit-Kat’s marketing team realized that their brand name is pronounced in Japanese as “kitto katto” (キットカット), which sounds a lot like “kitto katsu” (きっと勝つ), which translated into Japanese means “We will win for sure.”
Thanks to their knowledge of the language, they were capable to generate a promotional campaign that has been effective so far; such activity consisted of focusing marketing efforts towards the concept of obtaining good results, for example, parents give them to their student children to inspire them for successfully pass their exams, also they are given to friends and relatives to wish them good luck.
Although in this case Kit-Kat had a golden opportunity due to the similarity of the japanese language with its brand, what happens when the target market and the language are not known for the marketing team?
Well, the answer to that question meant the HBSC banking group an investment of $10M USD for a re-branding campaign. The reason? Its 2009 slogan “Assume Nothing.” which was meant to exemplify that the bank was transparent in its financial operations, was mistranslated globally as “Do Nothing.” This caused a reaction in which their clients thought that the bank’s financial managers would not be held responsible for their actions, whatever they were.
This was a perfect example that translation in marketing is not just about changing words from one language to another, but about providing a professional translation that understands the value proposition of a company and can represent it with the right words depending on the context of the language and the target market.
Now a mistake directly related to language misunderstanding; the Parker professional pen brand wanted to enter the Mexican market with a very attractive slogan: “It wonk leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” However, their fatal flaw resided in their translation efforts, since their poor understanding of the Spanish language led them to translate the word “embarrass” as “embarazar” (getting pregnant); thus, its slogan was translated into Spanish as “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.” Not Parker’s greatest move, that’s for sure.
At Australis, we always emphasize that translation and localization must be carried out by certified experts who know both the language to be translated and the target market to be reached.
If the previous examples still do not convince you of the importance of specialized translation services, a study by the company Common Senses Advisory reveals the following:
- 40% of consumers would not buy products in languages other than their native ones.
- 65% prefer multimedia content in their native language (despite content being shown in another language that they are equally fluent in)
- 73% are interested in reviews of products or services in their native language.
Therefore, if you are willing to invest in marketing and your target audience includes people of other nationalities and languages other than your own, your best choice is to approach an agency specialized in translations to avoid any kind of misunderstanding.
If you want to adapt your current marketing strategy, your social media content, your website, and even legal documents to another language, Australis is your most reliable option. Don’t forget to request a quote today. We hope to translate for you soon.