In 2009, renowned banking service provider HDFC had to carry out a mega rebranding campaign to scrap its half-decade-old tag line – “Assume Nothing”? All went well for the bank, till the tag was brought overseas, where, when loosely translated, it stood as “Do Nothing.” To stop sending the wrong message, the bank had to rechristen its tag line to a more translation-friendly one – “The world’s private bank,”. The entire exercise cost the bank around $10 million. Similarly, Scandinavian vacuum maker Electrolux’s tagline found itself in an embarrassing situation by assuming that its tagline “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” will highlight the vacuum’s prowess. The Swedish company went the whole hog trying to drive the message home, but ended up tickling American bones
Well, these are some of the epic marketing blunders committed by two of the world’s leading companies. These glaring mistakes teach us two things. The first is just because a product campaign excelled in one part of the globe, it does not guarantee that the campaign will transcend and recreate the same magic in other parts of the globe. And the other is, word-for-word translation cannot serve as an ideal marketing solution.
Why Word-by-Word Translation Doesn’t Work
Marketing translations are quite lateral and need a certain degree of specialized attention for success. It should be borne in mind that simple word-by-word translation is not good enough to preserve the intricacies, wordplay or jests that bring marketing copies to life. Marketing translations need to be handled by teams which are competent and culturally aware. Such teams can recreate a message in authentic ways, ensuring that the messaging takes off with respect to the foreign audience. In other words, these needs can be met only by a specialized outsourced translation service provider.
Conclusion – Outsourcing all the way
In an age where companies have to deal with customers from all corners of the globe, content has emerged as the undisputed king. It helps to connect with people, and build strong rapport with them. However, such connections can only be established when the translated content effectively takes into account the various complexities related to culture, tone and style. Outsourcing your marketing translations can guarantee you all of this and more.