As Spanish becomes one of the fastest growing languages in the country — increased by 233% from 1980 to 2013, according to Pew Research Center – it is no surprise that brands are increasingly using Spanish in their ads and other communications. As much as we would all love to do a quick copy and paste of our copywriter’s clever ad into Google Translate, translating copy is a complex challenge. Here are three important considerations to keep in mind.
Direct translations ≠ cohesive translations
Reasons Google Translate’s effectiveness varies can come down to differing sentence structures, word meanings, and the fact that most single words in English translate to phrases in Spanish.
While it’s a useful place to start, it’s rarely the end all be all. Take extra steps and do some digging to ensure your translation flows, is easy to read and understand, and most importantly, that it relays the same message as in English – even if it’s not a word for word translation.
Character count limits can be extra challenging
Character count limitations in social media and different types of ad units across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are certainly the bane of existence for every copywriter who has had to crunch their flowing prose to fit their seemingly arbitrary parameters. But that pain is typically compounded when it has to be translated in Spanish. The phenomenon of expansion and contraction in translations is very prevalent in English to Spanish and vice versa. According to Transfluent.com, a Spanish-language equivalent to a 300-word English document will be about 50 to 100 words longer.
All this is to say when translating to Spanish, it’s important to note you will likely have to rework and condense information to relay the same message and stay within the allowable character counts.
Consistent brand voice is still a ‘must’ in Spanish
A consistent brand voice is a ‘must-have’ in all brand communications and that also applies to translated content. It’s important to consider the same factors and let the brand voice guide you in crafting a good translation.
If a brand plans to consistently use Spanish language content in their ads, it may be best to consider developing Spanish ad guidelines, regardless if there is a designated translator or a bilingual copywriter.
As brands look for new ways to connect with their consumers, reaching them in a familiar language may be the key to creating a life-long customer. Keeping these few considerations in mind can be the difference in helping your brand successfully master Spanish ads and stand out.