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As international marketing has become increasingly prevalent in today’s global market, the need for advertising translation has predictably followed suit. To do so successfully, brands must consider both the verbal and non-verbal components of their campaigns - also known as advertising localisation, where a combination of linguistics and cultural transfer are used to effectively relay the brand’s message. When translating advertisements, it is important to focus on the overall feeling, tone, and message, rather than a literal translation. This is also known as creative translation, or transcreation, and addresses cultural nuances that would otherwise be lost while still staying on brand. It requires trained linguists that are also fluent in the local culture of your target market, and typically starts with a brainstorming session to come up with ways to localise each aspect of the source material. The cost of transcreation depends on the complexity of the campaign and is determined on a case by case basis.

When it comes to extensive, non-creative work, translation memory (TM) may be sufficient. This serves as a centralised linguistic database that continuously stores human translations that can be reused for future texts. Each translation memory is limited to two languages, the source text and its translated counterpart, usually consisting of sentences, paragraphs, lists, and tables. An extensive, up-to-date translation memory saves time and money, as translators can search the database for content rather than starting from scratch. TM can be built by accumulating translations over time, or a more time and cost-effective method may be through subscription to a translation memory database - this consists of previously translated content from which translators can export vocabulary, phrases, and sentences to be adapted and matched in style to the source text.

Translation memory has a number of benefits. Having ready to use translations can result in considerable savings, as translations are generally priced at cost-per-word. By using TM, translators will review the final output and make corrections or style adjustments as needed, rather than having to adapt full translations. This also minimises turnaround time for content. The highest added value of TM is achieved when organisations grant all language providers and translators in the organisation access to the same translation memory database, such as a multi-tenant translation memory and glossary in the cloud. This ensures the content is consistent and current regardless of the translator, as changes are updated in real time. It is also universal and can be used with various types of content, such as document, website, or software localisation.

The TM tool starts by analysing and comparing the source file to those in the TM database. If there is no match for the language pair, a new TM will be created. If one exists, segments of the source file will be compared and separated based on a percentage match. The team of translators will then decide which sections can be fully or partially used depending on the authenticity of the translations, and in which cases a completely new translation is required. Technical texts are particularly suited to TM, as repetitions are common. Marketing texts, on the other hand, lean towards excluding repetition. TM can still come in handy when parts of the text, such as the slogan, are interwoven throughout the material.

Technical translations

Technical translators specialise in the translation of texts in technical fields, such as IT, engineering, biochemistry, and medicine. Content can come in the form of manuals, detailed specifications, or legal extracts, among many others. A skilled technical translator must have excellent command of the terminology and writing conventions used in their field and employ tools such as technical dictionaries and glossaries to find the best match between the source and target. As technical copies do not require interpretation, they tend to be quite literal.

SEO translation and/or localisation may also be requisite for the brand to have a successful multilingual website. This is a tool for getting your website on the top of global search engine rankings, and ensures that consumers will find the site even when they are searching in their own language. SEO translation optimises elements such as key terms, titles, slogans, or any attributes that can improve the searchability of your webpage, while localisation elevates this by improving its cultural appeal and making the content more relatable. A combination of the two is usually ideal when expanding to international markets.

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