When translating online content it is always important to ensure that your brand’s message is preserved and your content remains clear and concise through the process. The method of localisation helps with delivering your brand’s message into the target language that includes all of the subtle nuances and colloquial terms that come naturally to native speakers; this enables your website to be understood with a natural flow in the language. If a translation is done incorrectly or in a tone that is not familiar to the customer this will lead to confusion and as a result will develop will disconnect between the brand message and its consumers.
When translating marketing materials or any other business documents it is always important to look out for any tweaks that can be made to your original text that can help your message come across more effectively for a particular local culture. There are some examples of where brands have had to make certain alterations for different cultures to make their message clear for natives; for example with the well-known brand Danone, the original spelling is used in Europe and in Canada compared to the spelling difference in the States where it changes to Dannon. This is an example of a brand’s name change to make it more accessible for customers however, a perfect example of a time when a brand did not research their market and its local culture is seen with a television commercial for an American-made underarm deodorant that ran on Japanese television. The commercial showed an animated octopus applying deodorant under each of its eight arms. The ad was a failure because the producers failed to realise that the octopus, as viewed from Japanese culture, doesn’t have arms – it has legs.
In Taiwan, the brand Coca Cola invested millions when it rendered the companies name on thousands of signs and billboards around the country only to find out that the characters used to sound out the name phonetically –‘‘Ke-Kou-Ko-Le’’-could either mean either of two things: ‘‘A Female Horse Stuffed with Wax’’ or the more profound ‘‘Bite the Wax Tadpole.’’ Scores of frantic advertisers scrambled in Atlanta to research more than 40,000 Chinese characters to find the most accurate phonetic equivalent. They finally came to ‘’Ko-Kou-Ko-Le,’’ which loosely translates to a much more benign ‘‘Happiness in Your Mouth.’’ It is with these examples that we can see the instances where knowing the local culture and country help with conveying your message.
DCU Language Services
At DCU Language Services you can trust that our certified translations are produced by expert linguists who possess high standards in their chosen languages and who hold key skills in localisation ensuring that all material translated is understood in a clear and concise way.
 White, M. (2009). A Short Course in International Marketing Blunders. California: World Trade Press. 36.