Localize your content instead of translating it
Have you read content that feels forced and strange? Chances are it's a translation. Therefore, if you plan to translate your content, consider localizing it instead.
As an agency that works in Canada and Georgia, we often receive content translation requests. Our experiences taught us a few lessons we'd like to share with you.
Straightforward translations are Frankensteins in the translated language.
Every language makes me not only talk but also think and feel differently. How's that? Even though I speak English, Georgian, German, and Russian, I am not a linguist, and I can't answer this question with absolute certainty. However, I believe its rules and embedded ways of thinking determine that. For instance, where English speakers see blue, Georgian speakers may see either Tsisferi (light blue) or Lurji (dark blue), similar to how we differentiate between red and pink.
In German and Georgian languages, there are a multitude of verbs you can choose from because each verb can have various prefixes and suffixes that either change the meaning or connotation slightly. For example, in Georgian, there's not only one way of saying 'davkharje' (I spent). By adding the prefix 'shemo-' the verb can turn into accidental spending - 'shemomekharja'. This is a great way to say money is gone, and it's not our fault, all with just one word. Now, in English, you'd be forced either to admit you spent the money or to explain what exactly had happened.
Also, words have not only meanings but also connotations. Nations put their soul in their language. Georgians often say you're as many people as many languages you speak, and I agree with that. So if you are translating text from the original that hasn't considered all the available possibilities in the translated language, you are limiting yourself. The result of a straightforward translation is often an awkward text.
Further, not all nations follow the same thought process and communicate the same way. That's why we end up with two different blog posts on the same topic when writing in two languages. Therefore, www.georgia.khatia.ca has its own life independent from what happens here at www.khatia.ca.
People in different countries react to the same content differently.
People who travel a lot know that people not only speak differently, but they also perceive the world differently, have different values, belief systems, and undergo distinct trends. For example, having a 0.5% fat label on a product’s packaging will be viewed in Georgia by most people as a negative characteristic, while in Western countries, the same message will attract more buyers. Therefore, if you aim to persuade your target audience, you might need to rethink your strategy and messaging.
Provide a creative brief and ask our team to create content instead of translating it.
So what's the right thing to do? Provide us with your creative brief that clarifies your target audience and your aim. We'll work with the raw information you provide to create the right content.
Localize or globalize?
There's no one size fits all—without knowing all the circumstances, the question can't be answered definitively. The right answer may differ among companies and content types, such as legal documents, marketing communication, brand information, and technical instructions.
Whatever solution your company chooses, in any case, it's better to create content instead of translating it.