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Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Importance of Nuance and Native Knowledge in Professional Corporate Translations

Last updated Saturday, May 13, 2023 13:02 ET , Source: Absolute Translations

Many organisations do not realise how nuanced language differentials are, and assume that one word means the same in any language – which is far from correct.

London, UK, 05/13/2023 / SubmitMyPR /


The Importance of Nuance and Native Knowledge in Professional Corporate Translations
The Importance of Nuance and Native Knowledge in Professional Corporate Translations

In professional corporate translation, even the most basic oversights can be disastrous, causing international mergers to fail, offending new customer demographics, or presenting an unprofessional, low-quality brand to a new jurisdiction.

The primary challenge is that many organisations do not realise how nuanced language differentials are and assume that one word means the same in any language – which is far from correct.

Even a document, marketing campaign or brochure that appears technically accurate could convey a tone, inference or euphemism that causes a negative impact, so appreciating the value of native knowledge is fundamental.

Case Studies: When Business Translation Goes Wrong

It is often easiest to use real-world examples to showcase how even huge brands we would assume use highly skilled translators can make serious errors. Cutting corners is never a viable strategy, as the below occurrences illustrate.

  • In 2019 Coca-Cola unveiled an ad campaign in New Zealand that used an incorrect Māori translation. The wording stated, 'hello death' rather than 'hello mate', causing extreme offence.
  • Mercedes Benz used a translation that loosely means ‘Bensi’ in English when entering the Chinese market. This word refers to 'rushing to die', which was equally unpopular and considered a cultural mark of disrespect.
  • Telecoms brand Orange failed to consult a native speaker when launching in Northern Ireland and retained its tagline, stating that the future was orange. Had they researched the demographic, they would have realised that Orange is short for the Orange Order, a Protestant union, leading to outrage and anger in the Catholic population.

These situations show why, regardless of the technical accuracy of a translation, a lack of cultural knowledge, understanding or awareness of controversies can render a well-planned and executed business campaign damaging – when a professional translator could have instantly pointed out the obvious flaw.

The latter is a perfect example of where a word with no negative connotations repeated in a new country speaking the same language could construe something with political and religious intent and how a certified translation service can prevent corporations from making heavily expensive mistakes that lead to long-term damage.

Translation is a technical, creative, and professional skill. Before any business invests in advertising, marketing, and production in an overseas market, it should consult a fluent business translation service with proficient knowledge of the intended market.

How Semantics Impact Corporate Cross-Border Translation

Semantics are just as important as grammar and spelling; if a company would not consider publishing anything with a clear misspelling, they should put the same level of quality assurance into translation services.

In many cases, these errors are due to a reliance on automated translations or a general fluency in the language, which does not present the same skill set and professional expertise a translator can provide.

Localising text is a separate process from translation, where a translator or team will investigate the meaning, purpose, and intention of any text rather than simply translating it from one language or one dialect into another.

Even where logical semantics are correctly interpreted, it is very easy to mistranslate lexical semantics, where the meaning of words changes due to other words placed in the same sentence. Many countries also have multiple dialects and variants, or more than one official language, in which case every language translation should be analysed for effectiveness and accuracy before release.

Countries including Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa, and India are multilingual. Other nations, such as The Philippines, have far greater linguistic diversity, with eight major dialects.

By assuming one translation will be suitable, companies and brands could be alienating large volumes of the consumer population they hope to engage with, diluting potential market share and minimising the returns they might achieve on a globalisation or localisation strategy.

Bridging Global Corporate Communications Through Translation

The opposite effect occurs when a company invests in business opportunities with a diligent approach to grasping the idiosyncrasies of culture and language, demonstrating respect, research and thought in learning how to bridge gaps, appreciate nuance, and adapt their branding to cater to cultural references.

Translators work to replicate a text for any industry to induce the same response and deliver the same tone but provide an appropriate context – rather than translate every individual word.

Attention to detail is essential to ensuring a translation is consistent with the style and tone of voice but is adjusted as necessary to achieve the same outcomes within the target location.

This applies throughout corporate translations, from mass marketing to cross-border supply contracts and sourcing agreements, to submitting tenders for larger infrastructure projects.

Total quality management is an established process used across the professional translation sector, where technical translation services, native speakers and specialists in specific industries or legal aspects of your text work together to ensure they are confident that the finished translation is appropriate on each level.

The Commercial Advantage of Culturally Sensitive Translation Services

When companies truly engage and work alongside talented native-speaking translators, often with the knowledge of the regulatory and corporate environment they wish to enter, it can open new opportunities for success.

Understanding localised and demographic trends, business affairs and perceptions can be invaluable in assessing the right ways to secure a positive response or evolve product offerings and other campaigns to tap into growing areas of demand.

There are also more subtle connotations that native translators will flag, such as using the colour purple, which can signify mourning or death in South America and Italy, and adding branding with red in South Africa, which is taken to mean bloodshed.

Images should also be chosen with care, since, for example, a culinary dish featuring bacon would be offensive in an Islam country, and certain clothing items are considered inappropriate in Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, where social norms and religions mean a graphic suited to European markets would have a very different reception.

All these factors compound the importance of professional translation and understanding the nuances, culturally offensive expressions and technical details that can impact messaging or cause reputational damage.

Read more about Absolute Translations - International Translations Company, Absolute Translations, Reconfirms ISO 17100 Registration

About Absolute Translations

Absolute Translations understands the importance of quality and reliability and this comes at the forefront of our translation services. Our many years of experience have made it possible for us to work with some of the most talented professional translators as well as leading global brands around the world in more than 200 languages, with business translation services from our London, UK and European offices.

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Source Company: https://www.absolutetranslations.com/


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