Why Is Translating Marketing Material Much More Than Just Using Google Translate

29th September 2021

Translating marketing materials is unfortunately much more time-consuming than simply copying and pasting content into Google Translate. With over 7,000 languages spoken across the world, it is important to understand how to communicate with a target audience. Your marketing material should be professionally translated if you are looking to deliver engaging campaigns. Let us investigate how to translate your marketing materials and marketing copy to effectively engage with its target audience. 

Marketing communications delivered in the correct language will engage an audience in a new territory. 53% of the BAME community are more likely to be persuaded to buy a product if it is communicated to them in their native language. But directly translating your marketing materials through free software will most likely see consumers take their money elsewhere as the content is unlikely to be relevant or correct. 

Google Translate

Google translate is great! But only for small pieces of translation, it directly translates and does not take phrases, idioms, and tone into account. When travelling if a quick translation of a sign or menu is needed, then the translation platform is excellent. But anything more is a no-go, especially if you are looking to connect with a wide audience.

Google Translate has enlisted the help of human volunteers to make the translations more accurate but is still a work in progress. Hopefully with the advancement of AI free translation services will improve but until that happens your brand will need to invest in professional translation services. 

Why Translating Marketing Materials Is Important 

The words your brand conveys are carefully chosen and this should not be surpassed as you translate it to reach a wider audience. 

Parker Pen mistranslated their campaigns when expanding into Mexico. Their message supposed to read “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. However direct translation left the campaign reading “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”, which was not the intended message at all. 

Another campaign fail that proves the importance of translation is when KFC took their famous slogan “finger licking good” to the Chinese market. It translated as “eat your fingers off.”

Understanding Translation and Transcreation 

Standard translation sees a document translated word for word. Acceptable for instructions or where brand voice isn’t too important. But is still not advised as words have different meanings in each language, and you may find yourself translating a simple instruction like ‘chop a carrot’ into ‘chop a coin’ or much worse. 

Localisation translation. Once a document has been translated it must be localised to correct the copy to include cultural aspects of translation. It alters the copy accordingly to fit the culture, for example, time, date, and currency must be in the correct format.

Transcreation is highly important as sometimes it is not possible to translate a slogan or phrase. So, a local translator is needed to come up with a new slogan based on the original brief within brand guidelines. With simple translations the emotive response your brand sets out to find is often lost, so transcreation aims to create emotions in a new language for your target audience. Transcreation is a form of translation with a creative license.

Other Factors To Consider When Translating Marketing Copy

Translating Takes Time!

Once you have had your marketing material correctly translated it must go through a series of reviews to ensure it is correctly received by the target audience. Whilst correct understanding of the material is key, getting the right emotional response that your original message looked to create is arguably more important. 

The process of translating material is not quick and sometimes an altogether new campaign is required. So, ensure your brand is allowing time and budget for translation as it is crucial to pay for a quality translating service or agency. 


Once the copy has been translated think about the changes that will need to be made to your designs. This can be across one campaign, a website, or brand image for the individual country. 

Many brands have different names across the globe to suit the culture, fast food restaurant KFC is known as PFC in Quebec Canada due to laws that insist the name of a business must be in the French language.

Another factor to consider when translating material is the difference in space that one language needs to say something over another. French, for example, takes up about 15% more space on the page when translated from English. This could affect the layout of a website altogether if more room is needed to convey a brand message.

Colours and symbols will need to be considered and changed if trying to reach China for example. The Chinese culture has strong views and differing connotations with colours compared to western cultures. The colours are assigned as lucky or unlucky so if you are trying to reach a Chinese market make sure your campaign’s colour choices fit with the culture. For example, in China white symbolises death which and is seen as an unlucky colour to be worn at funerals, which is the opposite in Europe.

Understanding cultural differences when marketing is important to avoid offending anyone or wasting money on campaigns that are not relevant to the audience your brand is trying to reach. Messages symbols, rituals, and colours as we discuss all have significantly different meanings and messages.

GottaBe! Can Help With Professional Marketing Translations

Here at GottaBe! Ethnic we can help your brand to translate your marketing materials and marketing copy so it effectively targets and reaches its intended target audience. Get in contact today to speak to one of our multicultural marketing specialists!

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