Multilingual brand management – when translation alone isn’t enough

In a globalised industry, marketers need to consider many factors to get multilingual brand management right. Ofer Tirosh writes about website localisation and offers tips to ensure content is culturally and linguistically relevant. 

When many people think of expanding into a new market, they think of translating their content and calling it a day. But working a brand into multiple languages outside the Australian market requires more than just translation. You have to remember website localisation, keeping messages culturally sensitive, making sure your product fits local regulations and other aspects of marketing localisation work. In short, you’ll need an experienced translation company on hand. Below, we’ll go over ways you can fit multilingual brand management into your schedule, like keeping up with the latest marketing news, writing with a global audience in mind and finding the right localization services.

Tools for keeping up on marketing news in a multilingual world

One of the best ways to tackle multilingual brand management is to keep yourself informed about the latest marketing news from all over the world. To organise your time, keep up on marketing news by creating organised feeds that allow you to access the news on your terms. That way, when you have time between projects or meetings, you can browse these sources without feeling like they are taking over your life. A few tools for managing marketing news feeds include:

  • Feedly: This popular, free RSS feed helps you categorise and organise news headlines from all over the world. You can set up the feed based on certain topics so that you’re getting articles based on the marketing news you want to follow. For instance, you might set it to give you website localisation tips or strategies. 
  • Flipboard: This website allows you to filter content like marketing news, photos or videos into a personal magazine format.
  • Pocket: Our phones can be addictive. One in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take time away from their phone. If you easily get trapped in endless scrolling and reading because of all the topics you’re afraid you’ll miss, try this app that helps you save content to read later, even without an internet connection. 

Writing with your translation company in mind 

When creating marketing messages, blog posts and other brand messages, it’s important to keep in mind that you are writing for multiple audiences. Doing so can make the process of using a translation company much easier, since the language you use will be more streamlined to fit into different cultures and areas. There are several ways to make sure language is a better fit for a multilingual environment:

  • Avoid the use of culturally specific phrases or too much figurative language. One main example is the use of idioms, which are phrases where the meaning cannot be derived from the individual words. Meaning comes from cultural context, so these phrases are often almost impossible to translate. A common example is, “When pigs fly.” 
  • You should also avoid local references that lose meaning outside of one country or region. One example is using a famous personality to promote your brand. Consumers in other countries might not know what TV shows or films the celebrity even featured in. In that case, you’d have to completely redo that ad to localise it for other audiences.     
  • When talking about certain traditions, keep in mind all the audiences that you will be releasing your messages to. For instance, certain regions celebrate holidays differently.  
  • Finally, do your best to educate yourself on local customs and uncover language that might appear offensive in other cultures. For instance, certain cultures have different standards for gender pronouns.    

To help keep track of your multilingual writing goals outside the Australian market, you can make use of different writing tools. Tools such as Grammarly can help you keep track of different styles of English by changing the language preference settings.  

Other tools, such as Evernote and Trello, can help you organize ideas and keep notes. That can be a big help when you’re working to keep certain style guidelines in mind for global audiences.   

Website localisation and other localisation needs

It’s important to keep localisation in mind, especially when it comes to website localisation. Over 1.8 billion people buy goods online worldwide, so it’s important to make sure a website is easy for everyone to use. 

How is localisation done? Localisation can update currency symbols, phone numbers and other formats to ensure they are in line with local standards. It can make sure messages are culturally sensitive. A website localisation strategy might also address factors such as the layout, so that it  works with the new language or update imagery, such as using photos with new models who fit local demographics – all of the key elements of website localisation that will result in a site feeling like it was written just for the intended audience. Localisation can also make sure the product or message fits in with local regulations, such as cookie notifications for website localisation. 

How do you manage localisation? With how much localisation handles, you might want to consider outsourcing this part of the process to a translation company that handles localisation. An experienced translation company should have experts who know both the target languages and the nuances of cultures you want to reach.

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes, a translation company with a focus on internationalisation and globalisation using language and localisation.

Photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo on Unsplash.