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A Five-Step Guide to Take Your Campaign Global

by Dina Paglia  |  
February 23, 2010

Don't Translate, Transcreate.

Nearly every marketer is familiar with some of the more infamous global marketing translation gaffes, from "Got Milk?" (rendered as "Are you lactating?" in Spanish) to the slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi generation," translated into Chinese as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave."

Those are, of course, a couple of extreme and highly visible cases. But small errors in the translation of marketing materials—brochures, ad campaigns, websites—occur every day as companies make the move into the global marketplace and promote their products and services in local languages.

How can you ensure that your translated campaign carries the impact of the original? And, looking even further back, how do you avoid the enormous cost (new creative, photography, design) of having to launch a new marketing campaign for each local market?

Enter marketing "transcreation," the process of linguistic and cultural translation that helps companies avoid potential problems from the very beginning. It is a method of naming products and working with catchphrases and idioms across multiple language markets while also maintaining brand and message consistency.

Here is a five-step guide of how to take your marketing campaign to a global audience:

1. Assess your campaign and content

Evaluate the goals of the campaign. If it's already live in a market, take a close look at the concepts, graphics, and headlines to assess their cultural relevance and appropriateness in the target market.

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Dina Paglia is a client development manager at Acclaro (, an independent marketing translation and localization firm. Reach her via or, for marketing translation tips, Twitter (@acclaro_inc).

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