Lingua Translations 80 x 60

The language pitfalls associated with product branding

Advertising has become such a vital part of society and as any Marketing guru will tell you, particularly in today’s increasingly ‘consumer driven’ society, advertising is a whole new language to learn and you have to get it just so in order to secure a return on your investments.

How does a company make itself or its product known to consumers? A suitably eye-catching billboard placed in just the right location along a popular commuting route; snappy, memorable (often for all the wrong reasons) television adverts; glossy, full-page pictures of a product in a relevant magazine? All of these and many more, not forgetting the numerous pop-ups, spam emails and social media flaunting that the revolution of internet technology has brought with it, are the ways in which you can be sure of reaching your target audience these days. Lamguage puns and witty remarks make an advert stick in a person’s mind but what about when the branding does not fit in with the culture to which  it is being promoted? A tiny error in branding judgement can have terrible consequences for a marketing campaign, as many companies have found out to their detriment.

It seems with the amount of portals available to a business, through which drawing in customers should be a doddle, but unfortunately, as ever, it is not just about quantity but rather quality is of major importance when considering how best to promote a new product or venture. As Adam Roberts discussed in his leader on the debate over naming the 2010s: businesses know all too well that if you “slip up with branding, giggling consumers are unlikely to part with their money, however attractive your latest product might otherwise be. Pity carmakers, for example, who are compelled to dream up new names for their many models. The Dodge Swinger (launched in 1969) surely appealed only to a few broad-minded buyers. Spanish speakers were never keen on Mazda’s Laputa (“the whore” on wheels).”

It is so easy to make a mistake with language when it comes to branding. Cultural awareness is a pivotal part of any marketing campaign. How can a business expect to thrive abroad if the name of the product or even the company reminds native speakers of an entirely different product or has negative connotations in the language? Copy written for company websites; POS for retail; advertising campaign materials, all are considered so important when they are initially drafted up. Time and effort is spent pouring over the same documents through late nights and hectic business meetings, all to ensure that the consumer will see something they like and want to investigate it further. Yet, when it comes to expanding into foreign markets, whether for the first time or repeatedly, companies make the mistake of not ensuring they thoroughly research the branding ideas. This is when it is important to look to language and culture professionals to ensure the right choices are made.

For more information on localisation, translation and the many other language services that we offer, please visit our website

1 Visit today

About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

disney-institute-lingua-translations 178 × 75
amazon-lingua-translations 120 × 28
procter-gamble - Lingua Translations 114 × 92
london-partners-lingua-translations 154 × 101
Swansea City | Lingua Translations 154 x 146
Man City | Lingua Translations 154 × 154
FC_Barcelona_(crest) 154 × 156
Star_Wars_Logo.svg_-1 1280 × 773
FiFA | lingua Translations 154 × 86
The-Score 812 × 420
M & S 271 × 186
Costco & Lingua Translations 1024 × 682

International Mother Language Day!

Wednesday 21st February, the world celebrates International Mother Language Day. Originating from protests to promote multilingualism in Bangladesh in 1952, the day is celebrated annually on this date. Language Movement Day is already a national day in Bangladesh which remembers the protests and sacrifices made by Students to protect the Bengali (also known as Bangla) language, …

Read More

International Business Award 2018

We are so excited to be nominated for the ‘International Business’ category at the 2018 Swansea Bay Business Awards. The awards ceremony, which will be held on Friday 23 February at the Brangwyn Hall, celebrates the best business successes in the Swansea Bay region, which of course – includes your friendly, local (international) translation company, …

Read More
Get a quote today