Creative Texts for Multi-Language Markets

March 23, 2024

Nitin is the CEO of with 20+ years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising. Previously, he was a partner at McKinsey & Co and MD at Accenture, where he has led 20+ marketing transformations.

In today's global market, it's crucial to create content that not only translates across languages but also resonates with different cultures. Here's a quick rundown:

  • The Challenge: Direct translation often fails because it doesn't capture cultural nuances or local sayings. Maintaining a consistent brand voice and avoiding cultural missteps are also significant hurdles.
  • Strategies for Success: Engage in extensive market research, develop a transcreation strategy, employ native marketers, and continuously optimize based on performance data.
  • The Path Forward: Examples from IKEA, Netflix, and Nike show the importance and benefits of culturally adapted content.

This article dives into the complexities of creating engaging, culturally connected content for multi-language markets, offering practical strategies for success.

Lost in Translation: The Pitfalls of Direct Translation

When you translate words exactly as they are, often they don't make sense or lose their punch because:

  • Sayings don't work the same in every language (like "break a leg" in English means good luck).

  • Words don’t always match up perfectly across languages ("love" in English vs Mandarin Chinese can mean different things).

  • The way sentences are built can change the message.

This can make your brand look silly or confusing by:

  • Losing the feeling or impact
  • Sounding weird
  • Saying something you didn’t mean to

We need to change the message to fit better with each language.

When Brand Voice Gets Lost Across Languages

It's tough to keep your brand sounding the same in different languages because:

  • Each language has its own way of showing personality.
  • Keeping slogans or jokes while translating can be hard.

You have to figure out what makes your brand special and make sure that shows up, no matter the language.

Cultural Blindspots that Backfire

Not paying attention to local culture can lead to big mistakes. Companies have messed up by:

  • Using names that are rude in the local language.
  • Using symbols that mean something bad locally.
  • Getting local traditions wrong.

This can hurt your brand’s image and sales. You need to really understand the local culture to avoid these mistakes. Working with people from the area can help a lot.

In short, making content for different languages means you have to be careful with both words and culture. But if you can keep your brand's heart while fitting in locally, you can connect with people all over the world.

Strategies for Success

To make sure your content works well in different countries, it's important to really understand the local culture and what people like or dislike. Here's how you can do that:

Conduct Extensive Market Research

It's super helpful to talk directly to people in your target markets. You can use surveys, group discussions, or one-on-one chats to get a sense of how they think and what matters to them. This helps you figure out the best way to talk to them in your ads or website content. Also, looking at data about what they buy or watch can guide you on where to focus your efforts.

Develop a Transcreation Content Strategy

Once you know more about your audience, you can start making content that fits their culture but still feels like your brand. This means planning out your main messages but letting local teams tweak them so they make sense locally. Giving them a guide on your brand's style but letting them adjust things to fit better is a good balance.

Employ Native Marketers and Transcreators

Having team members from the places you're targeting is really useful. They know their culture inside out and can make sure your content doesn't just translate well, but also feels right. They're good at picking the right words, images, and even jokes that work in their culture.

Continuously Optimize Based on Performance Data

After you start putting out your content, keep an eye on how it's doing. See what people like and don't like, and use that info to make your content even better. This means trying out different versions and seeing what sticks, always aiming to connect better with your audience.

Using tools like Google and Facebook ads localization, WordPress Multilingual Plugin, and localization management software can help in adapting your content across markets. Also, translators like Google Translate, DeepL Translator, or Amazon Translate can assist in initial translations, but remember, the real magic happens when local experts tweak your content to make it culturally relevant.


The Path Forward

: Embracing Multilingual Content Evolution

In our world today, businesses can reach out to people everywhere thanks to technology. But to really connect with people from different places, companies need to make sure their messages fit the local culture. This means not just translating words, but also making sure the content speaks to what's important to people there.

Let's look at some examples of companies that did a great job:

  • IKEA - They changed their famous catalog for different countries, keeping their brand's feel but adding products that people in those places would find useful. This helped them increase their sales by 50% in those areas.
  • Netflix - They made 80% of their shows watchable in 28 different languages and started making shows in other languages too. This helped them grow their number of subscribers to 183 million by 2022.
  • Nike - In the Middle East, Nike's campaign that focused on football and including everyone really hit home. This approach helped them grow their sales by 36% in that region.

These examples show that understanding and respecting different cultures can really pay off. By taking the time to learn what matters to people in different places, trying out different ways to talk to them, and seeing what works best, companies can make real connections with new customers.

Moving forward, it's clear that making content that fits well with different cultures isn't just a nice thing to do; it's necessary. Companies that take the time to do this well will see the benefits. Now is the time to make sure your content is ready for the global stage.

What is a famous quote about multilingualism?

Here are some quotes that show how knowing more languages opens up our world:

  • "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." - Ludwig Wittgenstein. This means if you know more languages, you understand more about the world.

  • "A different language is a different vision of life." - Federico Fellini. Every language gives us a new way to see life.

  • "You can never understand one language until you understand at least two." This tells us that learning a new language helps us understand our own language better.

How do you create bilingual content?

To make content in two languages:

  • Pick the languages your audience speaks.
  • Use professional translators who know the cultural nuances. Start with computer translations like Google Translate or DeepL Translator, but always have a human check the work.
  • Make sure your website or content is set up for SEO in both languages.
  • Adjust your content so it makes sense and connects with people in different cultures.
  • Keep checking how your content is doing and make changes based on what your audience likes.
  • Talk and engage with people who speak both languages.

What is multilingual text?

Multilingual text is content that can change languages easily. If someone switches the language setting, the text changes too. This makes it easy for people to use websites or apps in their own language without needing different versions.

What is a word that exists in every language?

The word "huh" is the same in all languages. It's a simple sound we make when we're confused, asking a question, or surprised. This shows that even though languages can be very different, some things are the same everywhere.

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