Have you witnessed two brands with similar offerings enter a new global market space simultaneously, and see one brand excel while the other struggles? To reach the target market, a message must appeal to and connect with the audience. The missing piece for the unsuccessful brand may very well be a failure to create a strong linguistic voice in translated content.
As a part of your overall global voice, your linguistic voice develops through an intentional approach to localization. With translation services, localization uses regional interpretations focused on context and cultural language understanding. This is key to successful and effective global communication. The combination of a strong linguistic voice with technical accuracy in translation puts your brand in the position to excel.
What is a strong linguistic voice?
A linguistic approach to translation understands the intersection between words, grammar, context, cultural relevance, and brand image. The goal of linguistics in translation is to craft content specifically for the local audience to absorb and take the desired action. The use of a team approach to translation with the incorporation of professional, industry-specific linguists aids in the creation of a strong linguistic voice.
For example, your website must adapt to meet the legal requirements, appropriate visuals, colloquialisms, and other details to reach the target market within the specific country or state. Linguistics drives the outcome of solid communication with each target market, whatever your goal might be, from employee training to lead generation through social media and beyond.
What are the benefits of linguistics in translation services?
Incorporating linguistics into your translation and language services benefits everyone who interacts with your content. Whether the content is external-facing, like marketing, or internal-facing, like work instructions or “how-to” videos, approach each project with the end goal of clear and successful communication of the message while maintaining a solid brand image and accuracy of the content.
A strong linguistic voice avoids disconnection between the brand and the target market. For example, an e-learning website that works well for the U.S. market needs linguistic consideration and adjustment to meet the needs of an audience in Brazil. More than translating the words into Portuguese, the visuals, cultural adaptation, and specific topics or examples must also go through translation for applicable communication. For example, references to typical holiday celebrations in the U.S., like Thanksgiving, might need to be transformed into references to Carnival, which is the biggest major holiday in Brazil.
The use of localization through linguistics also increases engagement. The audience can’t connect with a message that’s not targeted to their specific needs. Not only that, but your brand image could suffer if the message creates offense. For example, as of the posting of this blog, Muslims around the world are currently observing Ramadan by (among other things) fasting from sunrise to sunset. Advertisements for restaurants and food products targeting predominantly Muslim nations may need to be adapted to show people eating and drinking at night. Developing a strong understanding of the local relevance of the content throughout all phases of the translation project will effectively maximize your engagement.
Overall, a strong linguistic voice creates better quality communication through content. This means your message reaches the intended audience in a format, including visuals, words, and context, that is absorbed correctly.
How do you create a strong linguistic voice?
Develop a Language Team
A strong approach to translation starts with finding the right language team. This includes linguists, translators, project managers, technical experts, and other key players. The team method produces content that is both technically accurate and embodies localization from every angle. Uniquely develop each project team to meet your individual needs and goals. Without linguistic insight, a technically accurate message won’t translate culturally. The use of a language team ensures full spectrum accuracy and effectiveness.
Focus on Context Throughout the Translation Process
The context of the message is the most critical piece during the translation process. Even during the technical translation from one language to another, the local context for the message must be central to the content goals. Otherwise, disconnection or ineffective communication occurs, derailing the end goal of the content. The context includes the type of content, such as website, social media, printed material, video scripts, and product descriptions. With the context of the type of content in combination with the context of the audience, a strong linguistic voice emerges.
Localize and Customize with a Consistent Brand Image
This step is one of the most challenging parts of the translation process because it requires expert knowledge of the subject matter or message, the local language and culture, and the desired brand image. Your global brand image must be adaptable yet consistent. While these two things may sound like they stand in opposition, quality translation expresses both adaptability and consistency through the integration of steps one and two. The right team with a focus on context integrates consistency of your brand while adapting to the communication needs of the audience.
Avoid Mistakes and Miscommunications
At its heart, the aim of quality translation is the desire to avoid offensive, irrelevant, and inaccurate messaging, accomplished by a focus on linguistics so that the translated content has the local target market always at the forefront. Approach effective marketing tools, like humor or storytelling, with care so that the audience understands the joke or story without insult or missing the point. When done well, mistakes and miscommunications are not only avoided, but engagement and brand loyalty develop.
Implement and Maintain a Strong Linguistic Voice
Get your linguistic voice right from the start across all your language-related initiatives through a partnership with Vocalink Global.
At Vocalink, we offer translation services focused on localization through the incorporation of linguistics. We work in partnership to establish a strong brand identity, local relevance, and effective content with the creation of a strong linguistic voice. Implement and maintain a solid foundation in each new market you enter. Contact us today to discuss your global marketing strategy to begin your journey into the global marketplace with localization translations.