Advertising is a world of fascinating imagery and skillfully crafted phrases. Ask any expert and they will say that writing an attractive copy for this marketing material is probably one of the toughest thing to do. Every word and every syllable has to be perfect and chiseled with utmost care to meet the expectations of the brand. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and one needs to be very careful to make sure that all the bases are covered, else one may end up botching things up to the point of joke. For instance, in the early 1970s the Scandinavian electronics company decided to take its popular phrase, ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux,’ to America. In an alien land, the word ‘sucks’ had an offensive connotation which exposed the company to huge embarrassment. Pepsi also had to face similar blemish when it brought its famous slogan, “Come alive! You’re in Pepsi generation,” to China. The slogan was loosely translated into, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead,” in Chinese and the soft drink giant became a butt of joke in the country.
So why is ad translation so difficult? Experts are of the opinion that it is because of the three most compelling traps that are inherent to this type of translation. Let’s take a look at each one of them in detail-
Mottos are often linked to the culture and successfully translating them into a language that embraces a different culture can be very tricky. For instance, the motto ‘Fidelitate Coniuncti,’ which is referred to as ‘Loyalty Blinds Us’ in Canada, can be interpreted as ‘Loyalty to Blind Us’ in Arab nations.
Translating wordplay is even more challenging than the first case and this mainly because the issues involved in decoding the hidden meanings of cleverly crafted references that comes to play while using wordplay. Even native speakers often struggle to understand the meaning, so how can we expect a person from a different culture to ‘consíguelo’, which means ‘get it’ in Spanish?
Chanting slogans may be a powerful way of exhibiting emotions; but, most of slogans fall flat translated into different languages. For instance consider the slogan, ‘We shall prevail against all odds.’ If not given adequate care, it can be translated into something like, ‘We shall continue not supporting every challenges,’ which will definitely not engender the same kind of emotions as the original slogan.
Ad translations are very tricky and you need to hire the services of specialist to stay clear of the traps mentioned above. Outsource Translation is one of the leading translation company in the world with profound experience in handling some of hardest ad translation projects around the globe. Given our experience we know what it takes to skillfully decode and interpret mottos, word play and slogans in a different languages. Outsource all your ad translation needs to experts and keep all your worries about quality at bay.