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Is Translating Marketing Material Essential?

When you think about marketing, you think about creativity and the clever use of language to engage audiences. If you don’t use the right words in the right way, you’ll struggle to connect with your audience – let alone catch their attention. Put simply, without the right approach to marketing, your business will struggle to succeed.

When you’re thinking about expanding into international markets, using language properly is an even bigger consideration. You need to make sure you’re putting the right message across for your brand, whilst at the same time making sure that it resonates with those holding different beliefs and belonging to different cultures. When it comes to translating marketing material, it takes much more than a word for word translation, and if you’re not careful the whole meaning can become lost. Make sure you don’t make a faux pas, or offend the market you’re hoping to launch into using the advice in this post.

What makes the translation of marketing material so important?

Creating high levels of brand awareness comes down to strong and consistent marketing and branding and the only way you can do this across different markets is to translate your marketing material into the local language. However, in doing so it can be easy to lose the feel and creativity of your content; this is why you should be sure to use a translator who is an expert in marketing and PR translations – it will help you to keep your creative flair!

It’s important that your potential customers not only have a good understanding of your product, but also your brand identity. If your marketing material isn’t translated effectively, your customers will struggle to form this bond and level of understanding with your business. That being said, it’s key to strike the balance between being culturally appropriate and relevant, whilst still keeping your branding, tone of voice and message consistent with the businesses as a whole.

An experienced marketing translator, like those in our team at Freeman Williams, focuses on meaning, brand values and tone of voice, not just the actual words. We understand that producing a literal translation can result in utterly meaningless marketing material. Instead, we interpret the meaning of your content, so that it works in different languages, and is culturally appropriate; helping you to appeal to your potential customers in any market!

Key things to consider

Some of the key things to bear in mind when translating marketing material are as follows:


One of the most memorable things about a brand is when they do something to make you laugh. We’ve seen many tongue in cheek campaigns across the years, however, what is classed as funny in one culture can actually be offensive in another. Compare the UK and US sense of humour for example – despite having so many similarities, we don’t always perceive the same things to be funny.

Metaphors & Idioms

Writers use these linguistic techniques to make content more engaging and snappy. However, as there is not always a direct translation, they can easily become meaningless in another language. Here, we would use a technique called transcreation to transfer the message into a translation which has the same intent, but in a way that makes sense, and is culturally appropriate for the market.

Logos, Slogans & Catchphrases

It can be extremely difficult to translate and localise a company’s slogan or logo whilst keeping it consistent with their brand identity. Whilst some organisations may decide to keep it the same, if you choose not too then, much like working with metaphors and idioms, this will require the art of transcreation.


Traditions, religions and cultural beliefs need to be carefully considered. This starts with brand names, logos and slogans and should cascade down into marketing materials and campaigns. You might remember in 2018 when H&M was pulled up for being culturally inappropriate, styling an African-American child in a jumper with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”, causing much public upset.

Colours & Imagery

Colours often form part of a brand identity, however, if you’re really looking to appeal to different cultures you may have to consider changing yours. Colours resonate with different meanings and feelings in different places. For example, in many cultures yellow is associated with happiness and optimism, whereas in Germany it can represent envy, creating a very different mood and feel.

Don’t let your marketing material get lost in translation, get in touch with our team of translation specialists who will help you to get your message across in any language.

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“Freeman Williams has provided important translation services to our company since 2012. Working primarily on a regular business publication for one of our Formula One clients, Freeman Williams has been a trusted partner, always delivering on time, to tight deadlines, and with utmost professionalism and attention to detail – precisely the sort of traits required for the fast paced nature of our work.”

Head of PR and Communications, Sports Activation Agency

“Our company has worked with Freeman Williams for many years and they are an important and valued supplier to the business. They have completed numerous translations of differing technical complexity, across multiple languages, and we have always found them to be professional, responsive and dedicated to providing an excellent service. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.”

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“We need a translation service we can trust, which can operate quickly, accurately and flexibly and has no problem dealing with technical material. Freeman Williams delivers all this – the friendly approach is a bonus.”

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“Working with Freeman Williams is a refreshing change, a company with the same ethos as our own, nothing seems to be too much trouble and they always go the extra mile. We have successfully worked with them for many years on various multi-lingual publications for our clients in the fields of bitumen production and construction machinery. The quality of the translations is excellent and professionalism of the company is refreshing.”

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