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What is advertiseing translation?

September 14 , 2021

What is advertisement translation?

by Target Language Translation Services

- September 14 2021

advertisement translation

Translation is not simply a matter of finding other words with similar meaning, but of finding appropriate ways of saying things in another language. Translating is always meaning-based. It is the transfer of meaning instead of form from the source language to the target language.

International advertising is becoming more and more significant to brands in the global marketplace. Advertising translation connects brands with multilingual audiences. There are no second languages in marketing; brands need to reach every target audience, in their own native language, and establish an emotional response that inspires purchase decisions – either at present or in the foreseeable future.

A successful advertisement translation indicates that the target language has the same functions as original language does. So, the translation doesn’t have to be exactly the same, and above all, the translation must be flexible depend on the social and cultural background of the target language.

What is advertisement?

When it comes to translation, the close relationship between the verbal and non-verbal components of adverts cannot be ignored. Verbal elements comprise the brand name, payoff, slogan, body copy and so on. However, non-verbal include the audio, or visual, parts. These work together to get the message across, and combined they make up the creative concept behind the advert. Often, the way in which these elements interact is subtle which is always important to the success of a campaign.

The importance of speaking their language

The biggest mistake brands make with advertising translation is assuming the same message is going to elicit the same response in each market. For some brands, this can work relatively effectively when the overall brand or product image is similar in each market. For instance, luxury cars are aimed at high earners in every market so the images and emotions such brands play on are very similar. However, most brands have to work harder. For example, the likes of Sprite, Motorola, Nike and other big brands need to heavily adapt their messages for each target market. Generally speaking, the broader your collective target markets are, the more you will need to do this.

Steps of advertising translation

Advertising translation is a by-product of globally marketing, which means brands are handling a complex group of target audiences spread out across vast locations, cultures and language barriers – all of which need to be addressed in the translation process.

To achieve this, it is helpful to incorporate the following steps into the workflow:

Goal definition: Define the goal for each target audience and individual translation project.

Audience research: Before you begin translating your copy, decide who will be the most receptive audience for your message or product. Be as specific and thorough as possible when choosing which audiences to target.

Adaptation: While it might be tempting to translate one message for multiple audiences, there is every chance the original message will need to be adapted to match the specific needs and challenges of certain audiences.

Translation: With goals and messages defined, the translation process starts.

Review: Once the content is completely translated, the review and editing process make sure that everything is in order.

Delivery: The content is delivered on the right platforms and optimized accordingly.

Analytics: Once the campaign is launched, it is necessary to measure performance and optimize to achieve the best results.

The step process above is fairly typical for any kind of translation project, but the audience research and adaptation stages are particularly important. As with any marketing campaign, it is necessary to ensure the messages are as relevant and compelling as possible to every defined audience.

Tips for advertising translation

Expand your options

There are numerous methods to reach international audiences, so expand advertising translation materials to cover new and varied channels of communication. Print advertising and press releases are solid standbys, but translating website content and publishing press releases or blogging about a product in other languages can be an immediate way to reach thousands of far-flung readers. There are some effective newer forms of media in advertising translation plans: starting a profile on social networking sites like Twitter or Instagram specifically catering to speakers of another language or launching an email marketing campaign.

Focus on localization

In the marketing industry, localization is the adaptation of all elements — from design to cultural references — for a specific audience. Even if two groups speak the same language, they might require different translations for advertising. Ads for a “pushchair” in the UK will make American readers confused unless the word is changed to “stroller”. Localization can solve these issues, from common words to date formats and measurement conversions.

Consider the whole package

There’s more to translation for advertising than just the text. Remember that graphics, layout, and design can be just as important to grabbing the attention of an international audience.

You might have a very powerful message that has been adapted to the new target audience making for a punchy strapline, but what if it doesn’t match the visual imagery originally thought to accompany the ad? The result is that the strong potential of both the image and the strapline will get completely lost. In short, the creative idea behind the advert will not be translated successfully.

Keep an open mind

It’s vital to maintain a degree of consistency throughout any marketing campaign – that’s what makes brand, company, or product recognizable in any language. But remember that what works in one language may not always be right in another. Keep target audience at the forefront of mind in any advertising translation project. Staying open to new ideas will make sure the message isn’t lost in translation.

Some successful advertisement translation examples


Good to the last drop. 滴滴香浓,意犹未尽。


Feel the new space. 感受新境界。


No business too small, no problem too big. 没有不做的小生意,没有解决不了的大问题。

Some examples translation fails in advertising


Chinese translated “Finger Licking Good” (KFC) into a somewhat cannibalistic message.


Nokia may not be the crème de la crème anymore when it comes to mobile phones but back in the day their launch of the ‘Lumia’ phone line made quite the impression in Spanish speaking countries. Lumia can be translated to prostitute in Spanish.

Mc Donald’s

Mc Donald’s Big Mac was initially supposed to be launched as "Gros Mec", which actually means "big pimp".


Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name "Bensi", which means "rush to die" in Chinese.

If you wish to prevent translation errors, it is best to leave it in the hands of a trained expert. If you prefer to manage different languages internally, you could outsource the translations to a local office. This way, you prevent translation errors as well as contextual errors. While translating every small bit can seem like a hassle, it can pay off big time.

At Target Language Translation Services, our experienced translators are fluent in not only the source and target languages, but also industry terminology. What’s more, we offer localization services to keep your brand image and message consistent around the world. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on advertising translation for your company, contact us and start reaching a whole new market!

This article is reprinted from Creative Translation, Accredited Language and translate plus.

If there is a copyright, please inform us in time, we will delete it right the first time.

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