Taking your text global: 3 things to know

For businesses looking to go global, there’s so much big-picture work to do that it would be easy to overlook the seemingly small detail of getting text for new target markets just right. But this small detail is exceptionally important: if the text is wrong, messages can fall flat and fail to resonate – or, in the worst case scenario, cause a business to end up the subject of ridicule.

So what can businesses do to give their text the best chance of connecting with their new market?

1. Be aware that not all concepts translate between languages (or really, cultures)

We see a lot of businesses which have had their original materials translated directly into English in order to break into an English-speaking market. Sometimes this can work; often, it doesn’t (after all, not all concepts translate in all languages).

2. If you’re going down the translation route, use only native speakers of the target language

The number one rule of translation? You should only translate into your native language. Don’t be tempted to use the services of a translator who isn’t a native speaker of the language spoken in your target market.

3. Consult an expert proofer in your target market

Whether you opt for 1) or 2), it’s well worth making the invaluable investment in having your materials proofed by someone based in the market you’re seeking to enter. They’ll be able to identify anything that sounds plain wrong or unnatural, and present appropriate alternatives that give you the best chance of engaging with your new audience.


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