Lost in translation: The moment marketing loses control

Global businesses need global brand consistency, yet all too often they lose control when marketing materials are sent to local offices for translation. The materials may have been painstakingly crafted at a UK HQ and be perfectly in keeping with brand guidelines, but when handed over to localized marketing teams to enlist translators, centralized oversight can be lost.

20 global offices can mean 20 different translation partners and multiple in-house people being involved. On top of translation partners, local designers are often used to make languages fit. If we take China, which is the UK manufacturing industry’s 6th biggest export destination (£9.5bn) as an example: Chinese is a very efficient language and requires much less space than other languages. This means that alterations are often needed to make text fit designs!

Global companies are faced with a large number of partners to manage and coordinate. If we add localized print partners to the equation, we can see the scale of the problem. With each variable comes a degree of separation and further loss of control. It’s not surprising that printing itself accounts for just 15% of the total cost of the print process and admin accounts for a staggering 60%.

It’s not uncommon for marketers to assume that because English is so widely spoken that translations are not needed at all in some regions. This may be true for the UK’s biggest manufacturing export consumers the United States, however for the likes of Germany, France, the Netherlands and so on, accurately translated and tailored materials are vitally important in appealing to local audiences. Plus, English is not as universal as some may think. In Russia for example, English is not widely spoken, even in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Nowhere is accurate translation more vital than the manufacturing industry, where detail (and attention to detail) is of absolute paramount importance. One only needs to look at the UK’s biggest export markets (automotive, medication and aerospace to name a few) to appreciate that even the slightest mistranslation or mistaken product description can be highly problematic.

The answer lies in consolidation of partners. We advocate focusing on working with one translation agency which is an expert across languages. Likewise, we recommend choosing a lead design agency to streamline processes. This approach requires an organizational behavioural change and is not always easy, but the results can make it very worthwhile.

It’s not just about the technical accuracy of translations, brands need to speak with the same tone of voice. For marketers who don’t speak the language, ensuring processes are in place to spot technical mistakes can be difficult enough, but ensuring tone of voice consistency can be near impossible. That’s where the benefit of a trusted lead translator really shines through.

For sharing files, or keeping files in one library, an effective Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution can ensure everyone is given access to shared resources. The Gelato Globe platform enables local teams to modify text within pre-approved materials, ensuring brand consistency and making sure the text is appropriate for local markets, while giving complete oversight to a centralized team. Everything is recorded in one place.

When it comes to print, the platform intelligently allocates print jobs to high quality print houses through the Gelato Network, meaning that prints are produced as close to the delivery address as possible and delivered quickly.

As everything is handled in one system, brand consistency is maintained and huge efficiencies are gained!