Striking the perfect balance of style and accuracy in technical marketing translation projects

We’ve all come across translated sales literature or instruction manuals in the past, in which the translations don’t exactly read fluently or the terminology used is just downright odd! I’m sure you will have seen well-known examples from the many lists of the top 10 bad translations that can be found online. 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 such issues is all the more crucial when translating technical marketing content, where 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 amount of technical terms that need to be translated. They need to be understood and pitched at the customer – not necessarily an engineer or industry professional. Not just that, they also need to reflect the luxury nature of the brand. This means they need to be written in an engaging, promotional style in order to successfully sell the product(s) to customers. For Aston Martin we translate their luxury brand literature into 5 key languages – French, German, Italian, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. It’s essential that we strike the right balance between technical accuracy and creative flair to stay true to the brand and drive sales in each market. Here’s how we do it…

Getting the terminology right

Technical and marketing texts require very different skillsets. 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. Marketing translators need to have a good understanding of the target market (they translate only into their mother tongue) and the sector or brand involved to help promote the product as effectively as possible.

Technical accuracy versus marketing style

So, 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 creatively written brochure or website that’s completely inaccurate.

Our solution? It’s all about teamwork

When it comes to technical marketing translation, selecting the right linguists from the get-go is essential. It’s rare that you will find a translator with extensive industry-specific technical know-how 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.

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

Our approach is not just about picking the right team of translators. Here are 6 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 also supply our client with a 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.

If you need support with your technical and marketing communications, why not get in touch with us at Comtec? Call +44 (0)1926 335 681 or email:

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