Three Spanish Translation Mistakes Your Brand Can’t Afford to Make

Category: Language

Looking at Latin American Spanish for your next product launch? It’s a great choice, but there are some specific challenges that can make or break your entry into this very diverse market. As we wrote about in The Varieties of Spanish, sealing cultural gaps can make all the difference when it comes to securing your business’ success.

Avoid assumptions at all costs

Never take anything for granted. Just because a slogan or the name of the product sounds cool in one Spanish variety (or even in English), it does not mean that it will in all others. Before launching your product, it is always a good idea to have the name professionally tested; with local feedback from different cultural background experts, you can make sure what you have in mind is what the Latin American customer will perceive too. There are several options to get this done: in-country focus groups, reliable business partners, or your language translation company can all take care of this for you.

Do your homework

It is no secret that market research is a must when you want your product to cross the border and travel long distances…both physically and culturally. Trying to market a product that is a huge success at home but of little relevance to a particular region is a recipe for disaster. Did you know, for example, that until quite recently many companies in Chile would not allow women to wear trousers to work? Luckily, dress codes have become more flexible, but even so, you still don’t find bright colors in women’s business wardrobes, as style in Chile is still pretty conservative in comparison to other Latin American countries, and the best color choices are still blue or gray.

A picture is worth….

When marketing your product, you probably put together a nice set of pictures or images too. Because form is just as important as content to Latin Americans, nonverbal language might be a bit more important than in the US. Just as Latin American people are known to be warm and even keep shorter distances when standing in front of each other to talk, chances are they will be more likely to be appealed by an image that somehow reaches out to their emotions too. So, remember that images are also something you might want to localize and even change completely. Chances are if the way you sell your product is considered to be cold, so will your product.

With a little bit of forethought, you can make sure your Latin American Spanish launch is successful on all fronts.