You’ve probably chosen your brand name wisely and carefully enough for it to convey your corporate identity, appeal to your target audience and be easily identified in the market. So, at the same time, when thinking about opening-up to foreign markets, it’s useful to choose just as wisely how one wants to appear and be identified.
To Translate or not to Translate? This is the Question
Firstly, when translating between similar languages, there are a few things to consider. For example, maintaining the original name in the new target market could be a good move because the audience may see it as something new and intriguing, exotic, interesting and, therefore, it may create value. On the other hand, if the words exist in the target language and have a different meaning from the intended one, it may trigger ambiguity and misunderstanding. It’s important, therefore, to have extended knowledge of both the source culture and the target culture.
Different Writing Systems
There are a few strategies one can adopt if the source language and the target language don’t share the same writing system – like Chinese and French, or Arabic and English: in some cases, linguists may keep the brand name in the source language and position a transliteration in brackets right after it, to provide the user with a reading guide. In other scenarios, translators may want to provide a literal translation and position it right after the official name -in this case, however, we may run the same risk listed above: if the translated version happens to be connected to taboo topics, it’ll cause serious damage to the image of the company in that specific market. Once again, it’s important to research facts about the target language and culture.
Adapting your Brand to the Audience
This final case would involve what experts call transcreation. Taking translation a step forward, some companies may decide they want to recreate their brand identity to appeal to the target market and make the audience identify more closely with the brand. This case involves deep diving in the target culture to translate the corporate values in a localized and contingent manner to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding. This way not only your brand will be welcome in the foreign market, but it’ll seem local among other ones.
Langpros employs some of the best transcreators and multiligual copywriters. We take pride in helping companies go global while preserving their brand identity.