Translating Digital Marketing Content

For about two years, I’ve been working as a translator and as a reviser of marketing material for companies of all sizes, mostly from English into Portuguese. Some colleagues understand and classify this type of translation as a different field of specialization called transcreation. Others say it´s just translation. The truth of the matter is that we must be a bit more creative than usual and convey not only the message, but the impact it has on the public, using idioms and proper syntax. And this is not easy. In this post, I’d like to share two thoughts on this.

Firstly, in my opinion, in order to deliver quality marketing translations, we have to be constantly reading good magazines in the field and reviewing the latest, most relevant advertising in the target country. But more often than not, the quality of the text in Brazilian magazines and ads is not of a high-level. As a result, to improve our text we should rely on our best writers, no matter what the genre is: novels, articles, short stories, poetry, or plays. And marketing translators should start to think about becoming good marketers as well to deliver top-notch translations in this field.

Secondly, we should be aware that some verbs (mainly in the imperative form) and expressions that marketers typically use in English don’t sound good or natural when translated literally into Portuguese. If you don’t search for creative solutions, your text will smell like translation. I see this mostly in my job as a reviser. And as translators, we must develop the ability to detect the pitfalls and avoid them. I’ve made a small list of tricky yet appealing English verbs and expressions, and would like to share it with you in a series of posts. Here is the first verb on my list.

Drive. Definition (entry #8) in the Oxford Dictionary: cause something to make progress, drive something to influence something or cause it to make progress. Examples: drive success, drive unique experience, drive growth.

Translators almost always translate this verb as ‘impulsionar’. This Portuguese verb is being used more than ever. Nothing against it, but as far as I’m aware, we don’t say ‘impulsionar’ very often. So why use it all the time when it comes to writing digital content?

Sometimes a different solution conveys the message more naturally: ‘oferecer experiências’ instead of ‘impulsionar experiências’, and ‘oferecer/entregar melhores serviços’ or ‘aperfeiçoar/atualizar/modernizar os serviços’ instead of ‘impulsionar melhores serviços’. Sometimes it is better to step back from the source and think in the target language. Example: ‘to create experiences that drive more impact for customers’: ‘criar experiências de maior impacto sobre os clientes’ instead of ‘criar experiências que impulsionam mais impacto sobre os clientes’.

The next tricky verb on my list is to get. If you have any suggestions for verbs that should be added, please leave your comment. Thank you for reading and speak soon!

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

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