Balancing style & accuracy in technical marketing translation

Posted: 11 Sep 2023

The main goal of a quality translation is to convey the meaning of the source text into a specific language. Translation accuracy is essential, but if you don’t speak the language, how can you tell if your translation is correct? Besides knowing the correct vocabulary, grammar and terminology, the translation needs to flow and make sense in a cultural context. This is particularly true when it comes to marketing – you’re promoting your brand, and its reputation is on the line. In this article, we’ll help you strike the perfect balance between style and accuracy in translation.

Why Accuracy in Translation is Important

We’ve all come across translated sales literature or instruction manuals, which are far from quality translations. Either the translations lack fluency, they don’t read well or the terminology used is just downright odd! 

We’re sure you’ve seen countless articles listing the ‘Top 10 bad translations’ and various cultural blunders. But in all seriousness, it’s detrimental for a company’s image to feature on ‘funniest translation’ lists. After all, poor translations mean poor sales! 

Avoiding these issues is more crucial when translating technical marketing content. It’s essential to strike a balance between accurately translated technical terminology and the more stylistic approach needed for marketing purposes.

At Comtec, we’ve got years of experience in handling these complex technical and marketing projects. Take, for example, the marketing materials we’ve translated for luxury automotive brands like Aston Martin and Jaguar. Automotive brochures, manuals and website articles all contain a large number of technical terms to be translated. It’s more important to pitch them to the customer rather than engineers or industry professionals. 

Marketing materials also need to reflect the luxury nature of the brand. That’s why we use an engaging, promotional style to successfully sell the product(s) to customers. For Aston Martin, we translate their luxury brand literature into five key languages – French, German, Italian, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. We must strike the right balance between technical accuracy and creative flair to stay true to the brand and drive sales in each market. Read on to find out how we create marketing translations that are accurate yet engaging.


How to Balance Style and Accuracy in Translation 

Getting the terminology right

Technical and marketing texts require very different skill sets. For technical translation projects, we always look for native speakers, but we also choose linguists with real-life technical industry experience or related qualifications. As technical experts, they are complete perfectionists when translating technical terms accurately and consistently (you don’t want to confuse customers by using different terms for the same product or part within the same brochure!). And, of course, they will spot any technical errors that could mislead readers.

Developing engaging translated copy

Our marketing translators have an eye for style. With natural creative flair, they know exactly how to translate and develop appropriate and engaging copy for overseas customers that also stays true to the original. While machine translation is ideal for fast translations aimed at a broad audience, strategically targeted communications and advertising benefit from a human – and more creative – touch. 

Marketing translators need to have a good understanding of the target market (they translate only into their mother tongue) and the relevant sector or brand to help promote the product as effectively as possible.

Technical accuracy versus marketing style

Accuracy in translating marketing materials full of technical terms can present a bit of a challenge: you don’t want a technically correct manual that reads awkwardly, nor do you want a creatively written brochure or website that’s completely inaccurate.

Our solution? It’s all about teamwork

Selecting the right linguists for technical marketing translation is essential from the get-go. You will rarely find a translator with extensive industry-specific technical knowledge and creative marketing flair. So to make sure we deliver perfectly translated content, we combine the two into one mighty translation team:

  1. A specialist technical translator to deliver an accurate and consistent initial translation of the document(s) at hand.
  2. A creative marketing translator to fully proofread and refine the translation(s) to deliver copy that’s accessible, fluent, effective and engaging for customers.

They both have a strong foundation in grammar, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions to accurately interpret the original text. But the marketing translator has the skills and creativity to reflect a brand’s unique voice and tone. Between the two translators, we maintain the same technical terms, style, personality, brand identity and translation quality in the marketing materials. This attention to detail ensures consistency and brand recognition across different markets.

We’ve used this tried and tested method for years, with excellent results. It’s why major technical brands like Aston Martin and Delphi look to us for support with their international marketing campaigns.

More tips on ensuring top-quality translation

Our approach is not just about picking the right team of translators. Here are six more steps we take to deliver the perfect translation:

  1. Content review

    Understanding is key, so we make sure to review any existing approved translations or reference material to stick closely to our client’s requirements.

  2. Marketing localisation brief

    We supply our clients with a localisation brief to complete, with any additional requests or preferences they want us to adhere to.

  3. Glossary of key terms

    Developing a translated glossary of key technical terms is a sure-fire way to deliver consistent translations.

  4. Sample translations

    Sending a sample translation to the client right at the beginning of the project helps us to get feedback early in the process.

  5. Translation memory

    We use translation memory software to store and re-use all translated content – this ensures our projects are accurate, consistent and cost-effective.

  6. Target market review

    We provide all translations in an easily editable format to capture feedback from our clients and their target markets. We then incorporate any preferential changes post-review directly into our translation memories.

An accurate translation ensures that the intended message, ideas and emotions of the original text are preserved without distortion or misinterpretation. You should be clear about the purpose of your technical marketing copy. Once you’re clear on your marketing objectives, it will be easier to follow the steps above to ensure a high-quality translation.

We love sharing our knowledge and expertise on this, and many other language, culture, translation, and localisation-related subjects. Please do get in touch, our friendly team is always very happy to help.

Call us on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email