Advertising translation is the means of communication for a company exporting its products, and it requires a lot of research and testing to work out a brand or an advertising campaign that suits the target location. It is not just about translating content and tag lines; you need to adapt the whole advertising concept, taking into consideration the cultural context of the target country including the socio-cultural and politico-legal components. The first of these involves cultural attitudes and purchasing habits, while the second component is about the specific legislation that affects commercial promotion and the particularities of specific political systems. Localisation of advertising campaigns should be done by translators that are familiar with both components, and their considerations and suggestions should be based on empiric observations rather that preconceptions.
Advertising and marketing translators have become mediators between different cultures in their attempts to manage and conciliate cultural differences. The main issue is to be able to translate and localise a message without losing brand identity. This requires a deep analysis of the brand image and the existing communications strategies and marketing goals, as well as accurate target audience research. An effective marketing strategy should merge a centralist perspective with a local one.
Many businesses target languages instead of specific countries, and therefore develop marketing strategies for Spanish speaking audiences, French speaking audiences, etc. without considering regional varieties and particular cultural identities. Languages and dialects are ways of establishing and displaying group identity. To successfully approach specific segment markets requires a deep understanding of their habits and ways of communicating.
Certainly there are many companies that prefer the implementation of global marketing strategies in order to maintain a consistent brand image, and in many cases this scheme has been successful. Nonetheless, it has also experienced failures. The implementation of marketing strategies that do not take into consideration the differences between consumer needs and socio-commercial environments could lead to failure, because they would hardly engage an unknown audience. Marketers that are in favour of global advertising argue that demographic segmentation is more effective that geographic segmentation when attempting to identifying prospective customers. They state, for instance, that teenagers from countries across the world behave in a similar way. In the other hand, the supports of marketing localisation point out that human needs and wants may be universal, but their expression is defined by specific cultural environments. People think global but act locally.
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