Joanna Tarasiewicz
January 03, 2023

How to Prepare for Marketing Translation: Tips That Work Every Time

team working on i.e marketing translationPreparing a successful marketing campaign isn't a piece of cake, you know that and we know that.


Just like a perfect marketing campaign, marketing translation also needs proper preparation in order to bring the desired results.

We at ATL know that some clients would like to simply press the translate button and watch the magic happen. Marketing translation agencies are here to make that as real as possible.

Throughout the last 15 years of working with clients specializing in various industries, we have come across many scenarios based on our clients' needs when it comes to translating their marketing content.

You are unique and your marketing content needs an individual approach. There is no doubt about that! But there are steps to take before starting your marketing content translation.

This article explains how to prepare for marketing translation in order to easily connect with your international audience and allow a smooth translation process.
Learn how to prepare for it in order to avoid delays, overspending, and unnecessary headaches.


1. Prioritize Content for Translation



prioritize content for translation



If one of your questions regarding marketing translation is about where to start, you are in the right place.


You don't have to translate everything at once. Start with the basics and then move on to the next parts of your marketing content. Decide which elements of your marketing campaign should be on the top priority translation list.

Website Translation

It’s good to start with home page translation.


Your website is your e-business card, make sure it can be understood by your international clients in their native language. This increases your web traffic as well as gives you more visibility on the local markets.






Related content: 10 Best Practices in Website Localization





It’s also good to translate product descriptions and the About page. You can skip translating your Blog for now, however at some point it may also be a good idea to localize it.


Printable Material Translation

During an exhibition or other events, you can't expect much interest if you don't have a translated company brochure, poster, and leaflets.






Related content: 10 Signs That Indicate Bad Marketing Translation Services






Marketing Communication (marcomm) Translation

It's good to start with standard response emails introducing your company. You will be surprised how well properly translated marketing campaigns perform.
Later on, you can add translation of your newsletter, promotions, special deals, etc.

By translating your e-communication, you work on keeping your e-mails from being lost in the spam folder.


2. Choose the Languages for Translation


choose languages for translation

Whichever market you choose, remember that you aren't selling to the country. You are selling to people. What languages do these people speak?






Related content: 15 Languages for Translation That You Should Know About





Remember that there are countries that use more than one official language. This is the case with Switzerland, where there are four official languages. In order to reach the Swiss audience, you have to translate your content into German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Using this knowledge to properly adapt your marketing materials will give you a competitive advantage. 


3. Prepare Your Backend for Localization


preparing website backend for translation


For starters, make sure your backend is ready for adding new language versions to your website.

Your content needs to be ready for translation into languages that use special characters. These include letters with diacritic marks, used for example in Spanish and German, or logograms that are used instead of letters, for example in Chinese.

Making sure that the chosen encoding supports local special characters brings you closer to material that reads well and is free from random incomprehensible sequences of symbols displayed on your website.






Related content: 15 Simple Ways to Kill Your Multilingual Website





If you are going to use a calendar, make sure to allow for the use of localized time and date format when switching to local language versions. Also, don't forget time and date format in your marketing campaigns, because the date 02-08-2021 in most European countries means August 2nd, not February 8th.

Last but not least, decide how you wish to assign your content for translation.


Do you want to manually export the content to files and import it back after the final version is ready? Managing versions, updates, email attachments - if this is the way you roll, then this is how you should do it.

Perhaps you are more in the market for a smooth and effortless process, implementing integrations between your website, your content management system (or at least content repository), and the translation software.



Let's talk about translation software, also called CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools. Translation software is used by localization professionals in order to provide better quality, faster translations for lower prices.

Translation professionals understand tight localization budgets and concerns regarding the quality of translations into languages that you don't speak. That is why they have developed technology to support your global expansion with even better results.






Related content: Top 10 Translation Tools: A Complete Review





In short, CAT tools divide the whole content into smaller pieces called segments and store these segments together with their approved translations in Translation Memories (TMs).


There is one Translation Memory created for each language pair. For example, you will have one TM for English - Japanese translation and another one for the same text translated into Spanish.

The stored translated segments are reused whenever exactly the same or at least highly similar segment is being translated further along in the project. It can be the same web page or a similar text concerning two product descriptions.

This allows consistent translations that won't mislead your audience, but it also allows you to benefit from translation discounts.






Related content: How to Really Save on Translation and Localization





Integrating the systems reduces all the effort connected with file exchange. It provides a smooth process and allows you to immediately see the progress of your localization projects.


4. Check Your Content for Localization Obstacles




eliminate localization obstacles from your content for translation



In order for your marketing campaign to be easy and sometimes even possible to be translated at all, you need to follow the rules of internationalization. Take a look at some basic aspects of internationalization.


Numbers play a very important role in many cultures. Friday the 13th is said to be an unlucky day for most Western cultures. But there are places where number 13 is associated with good luck.






Related content: 3 Scenarios of How Wrong Your Website Translation Can Go and Why






A marketing campaign offering a 4% discount in China may not make the clients there very enthusiastic. The reason is that the number 4 is perceived as unlucky in China. Making it 3,89% should work much better because of their lucky numbers: 8 and 9.



Remember to convert prices into the currency of your buyers, as many of them will prefer to make a purchase on a website where the price of the product is in their currency.



buyers'  purchasing preferences

Measuring Systems

There will be content that describes your product in a matter of size, for example. Don't overlook buyers who use the metric system. Include size in centimeters and weight in kilograms for them. And this is not just a courtesy to the user, it is a legal requirement!

International vs. Local Holidays

If you are thinking about having a special marketing campaign to celebrate the Mother' Day in the country you target, make sure you know exactly when it is. Is it on 9th May, 22nd March, or 26th May or on a completely different day? Make sure the dates are right.

There are different dates and names for holidays known to us as Christmas. Also, New Year's is celebrated at a different date in China.  Make sure your marketing content includes the right holiday dates and names.

Adjust Your Message to the Local Culture

Whatever you sell, make sure that you communicate in a culturally appropriate way with your international audience. Going global means adapting your content or products to cultural and social requirements.






Related content: 10 Ways to Make Your Multilingual Marketing Content Fail You





Choose the accurate tone of voice to be used. An improper balance between formal and more colloquial language can be a deal-breaker..

Adjust Your Visuals in Marketing Content for Translation

Your graphics, layout, and design are just as important as the written content. Properly localized banners, slogans, videos, and even symbols will have a huge impact on your local marketing campaigns.

Graphics used in your marketing content provide context as well as support your message to the reader. Make sure you have various visuals prepared for global use.






Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation





Graphics can use symbols that are familiar to people living in one culture, but they may not be understood by people living in other.

What you need to do is to provide detailed reference material to the localization team. The professional translators and graphic designers will take it from there. When your brand's tone of voice is clear to the translation professionals, it will be much easier for them to put your message into the right words accompanied by the appropriate visuals.

When it comes to your video content, just choose the solution that is suitable for your needs. You can decide to add translated captions to the videos on your website, but if you are thinking about a commercial broadcasted in the local television, it is best to invest in dubbing or voice over.


5. Ensure Enough Space for the Translated Text

check space for translated text on a multilingual website


You need to be aware of the fact that some languages take up more space than English. For example, French can take between 15% to 20% more space than English.

Consider this while designing your website, the space for website navigation, and buttons. In order to avoid shrinking the font size to an unreadable size, remember to keep in mind the available space.

Your content placement on the website or on a leaflet or poster also matters and differs with regard to local audiences. Most people read in an F-shaped pattern. This means that the most important information should be placed on the top left side, given people from the West read from left to right.


When providing the Arabic version of your marketing material, bear in mind that the most important information should be placed on the right.

There are different page sizes used outside of the USA. All of these aspects affect implementing the printable elements of your multilingual marketing content.

There will be fonts that are not suitable for languages with special characters, especially for central Europe. Be ready to change the font. If you design your own unique font, be sure to add all sorts of diacritic marks and other special characters used in these languages.



6. Select the Right Marketing Translation Agency



select the right professional translation service


Is your localization budget around 10% of your total marketing budget, or less? You can still by all means afford a proper marketing translation service. But use your budget wisely.






Related content: 7 Tips to Avoid Wasting Your Translation Budget





Beware of companies that provide the cheapest quote. Sometimes their offers lack important services that need to be purchased separately like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) localization.

SEO localization is a service that can help your multilingual website reach your global audience. Working with international keywords that will help your clients find you on the Internet requires a specific know-how and experience, but it also requires time for research.






Related content: A Quick Introduction to SEO Localization





Some characteristic features of your product may not resonate well with the local audience and therefore these keywords need to be replaced with appropriate local terms that will bring traffic to your website.

The lowest rate often results in poor quality resources. This may lead not only to poor translation style, but in the worst cases, your multilingual marketing content may contain grammar or spelling errors, or even mistranslations.


Last but not least, low rates can mean lack of transcreation services. Transcreation is the highest level of marketing translation. It's the form of translation closest to copywriting, and naturally the most expensive. Whenever you launch a new international product, you need a professionally localized marketing campaign.

Prepare for Marketing Translation and Reach Your Global Audiences at Scale

Translating your website content and managing marketing campaigns in new languages can be an immediate way of reaching international readers, who can become your new clients.






Related content: How to Boost the Translation Into Multiple Languages at Once





But remember that what works in one language may not always be right in another. That is why you need to prepare for marketing translation and choose the translation company that will speed up your global expansion, rather than slow it down.

Don't neglect the newest forms of media, meaning social media, while planning your marketing campaigns. This means updates and continuous localization. Choose a translation company that is able to assist you on that, too.


Integrate your system with translation management software for the most convenient means of content exchange and project overview.

Would you like to know more or to have your marketing campaign reviewed for possible translation obstacles? Don't hesitate, contact us.


Recommended articles:

Marketing Translation Playbook [E-book]

A Lack of Translation Integration With Your System: Trouble Alert

5 Ways That Translation Companies Cause You to Overspend