Translating Taglines

Such is the case  of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign  and the “Got Milk” commercials. In the last example the literal translation into Spanish would send a completely different message and a quite offensive one,  and therefore the translated tagline is Toma Leche. (Drink Milk).  There are countless examples of how many of these taglines  do not only get butchered but truly get lost in the translation process and for those there are plenty of blog posts on that subject.  It is then that companies decide to stick to the original and only translated the copy of the ad alone.

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How to Reach the Hispanic Market.

When you are trying to reach one of the fastest growing groups in the US and  one with a growing purchasing power that will near 1.5 trillion by 2015, the Hispanic population cannot be blanketed together but rather targeted  and catered  to as a “group within  a group”.  The only similarities that  binds these groups together are  language and family. For this reason, even with the commonality of language there are  cultural differences in language  that can make some references offensive or  even misunderstood. In a Nielsen study on Hispanic consumer behavior, The Hispanic Market Imperative ,  the growing Hispanic population although acculturating to the  American lifestyle, are  not  assimilating to it. Given that large part of this Latino population is young and fully bilingual, they still find it important to keep the  link to their culture and heritage.  For this reason, cultural relevancy is  of prime importance to this group. Furthermore, the study also found that Hispanics tend to  respond to ads  that are  not  only culturally relevant but also  speak their language and  target their need, a factor  particularly important when you are writing  marketing copy targeted  to  specific individual tastes and cultures.  These differences may seem simple yet they could not be farther from the truth.  As you read in a later post, when you translate taglines for example, the meaning not only gets ‘lost in translation” their result may be truly disastrous. The added value then as a translator would not only be bilingual  but also bicultural in order to grasp  the nuances of the language  the cultural relevance needed to  bring the message across. (Even bicultural these practices are a truly difficult task).  Although  marketers are taking note of  this idea, it still  does not resonate  with many and still  tend to  use the one size fits all approach. Yet there have been other advertisements  that are prime examples  of Hispanic Branding that I have included in a future post of the same name.

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