Translate your way to business success

If you are exporting or thinking of exporting, one of the basic first questions you need to ask is: “If they don’t understand me, how will they buy from me?”

If your website is in English and you are trying to sell into Asia, you should consider tailoring your website and marketing materials to address your audience.

According to Statista, 1.3 billion people speak Chinese, 437 million speak Spanish, 372 million speak English and 295 million speak Arabic. If your materials are only directed towards English speakers, then you could be missing a massive audience of non-English speakers.

Professional, meaningful translation which takes the culture and context into consideration is essential when attempting to break into a new market.

Some companies may rely on Google Translate to reduce cost. However, this can cost you more than you expect, given it is a word-for-word translation which does not take the context or culture into consideration, and could end up harming your brand more than you think.

Let’s look at some examples where translation and understanding of the culture in packaging and marketing was critical, and other examples where translation completely failed.

The picture below is an example of a translation failure. The Pepsi slogan, “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated into Taiwanese, became “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the grave”.

Major multinational corporations have realised that the ideal method to achieve their sales targets in China is to localise packaging and marketing. For example, Coca Cola translated its product name and changed the look of its packaging to appeal to Chinese consumers.

Unilever also changed its well-known brand OMO to appeal to the Chinese market by changing the colour of its washing powder packaging from white, the symbol of death in China, to the colour red, symbolising good luck. Unilever also translated the name Omo into Chinese.

Linguists who translate marketing materials must be creative and savvy, since marketing messages should evoke emotion in readers.

High quality marketing language appeals to buyers’ pain points (the problems they need solved), and if the messaging of a product or service can communicate “I understand you, I can help you!” it’s much more likely to be effective.

Business SA's translation service has worked with South Australian businesses and government bodies from different sectors and industry backgrounds to make sure their websites, marketing and sales material and packaging is translated accurately, taking context, the culture and industry needs into context.

Our team of translators and interpreters can translate more than 23 languages and dialects.

Click here to read testimonials from our clients.

To use our translation service, contact our Trade team on or phone (08) 8300 0093.

Business SA is also holding an information session on how to make the most of international opportunities. If you’d like to know more on our Become an Expert Exporter event, please click here 

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