Linguistic Assessment and Brand Research

Prestige Network Blog, Services, Top Tips, Transcreation, Translation

Launching a brand, tagline, trademarks and new products into overseas markets requires careful research to ensure that your message is on-brand, the names are not similar to offensive words, and translate correctly into the languages that you wish to use (and preferably a few extra). You’ve spent a lot of time, thought and money already on your branding, so you need to trust the linguistic screening to experts too, and not just to someone in your office who speaks the language quite well.

Questions to ask when assessing your product / brand name

  • Are you seeking a ‘global’ brand name that can be used across all of the desired territories?
  • Or are you considering using distinct brand names in different territories depending on the viability of that name?

To get the best international product / brand name

Your translation team needs to understand:

  • Brand concept – what was the thinking behind your initial choices of names, brand positioning, and who is your target market.
  • The language – both written and spoken. Does the name have any negative connotations or read or sound similar to anything that does? Are you losing brand message with this particular translation? Are there competitors who have similar names which could pose an issue? Is it easy to pronounce?
  • Culture – are your chosen names, designs and colours appropriate to your proposed territories? Will the message be received by the same target customer? Gender and age for your customer may be completely different in other countries and so a cultural check is also really important.

When choosing names for your new product

  • Assess the name / word as a whole
  • Analyse the broken apart components of the name / word

The analysis should focus on the following criteria:

  • Literal translation (if there is any)
  • Connotations that may be synonymous with these words
  • Whether pronunciation of the word is problematic

Consider all the languages that you will need to cover

…including ones on the distant horizon. A check-through now for any language which you do not subsequently use, will be much more cost-effective and less disruptive than a rethink in the long run.

Examples of bad brand name / tagline translation

  • Electrolux used to market its vacuum cleaners with the tag line: ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux’ which was unsuccessful in the US.
  • Braniff International airline translated a slogan promoting its fine leather seats ‘Fly in Leather’ into Spanish, which was interpreted as ‘Fly Naked’ in Mexico.
  • HSBC spent millions of dollars on a doomed marketing campaign. ‘Assume Nothing’ was translated in many countries as ‘Do Nothing’. HSBC later spent $10 million to change its tagline to “The world’s private bank”.

Mistakes such as these can cost a company its reputation and damage the brand.

How to choose a translation agency

To ensure that you do not fall into the same trap, you need to use a reputable translation agency for linguistic screening, and one with many years of experience. Choose one who has proven quality assurance processes with accreditations such as ISO 9001 : 2015.

You have invested significantly and need to ensure that your marketing collateral remains safe and confidential until launch. Opt for an agency who will agree to Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreements, that their staff are who they say they are, and who have ISO Certification. An agency such as Prestige Network.

Contact us now to discuss your brand translation requirements.