Translating for luxury brands can present very unique challenges.

Translating copy for luxury brands presents companies with very unique challenges. Keeping the core brand identity and reputation intact while also reaching international audiences with engaging and relevant marketing communications is not always easy.

Many luxury brands are seeing growth in overseas markets as demand for luxury goods in countries such as China remains high. In fact, around half of the world’s spending on luxury brands comes from the expanding Chinese middle classes. Japan and the US follow closely behind, and other regions also saw growth in the luxury sector in 2014.

Translating for luxury brands

When it comes to translating marketing material for luxury products, an element of “transcreation” is often needed. This is the term used to describe the process of creating brand content in another language. Here it differs from standard translation and localisation services as linguists have creative licence to move away from the original source text and develop uniquely tailored and culturally appropriate marketing copy for the target market(s) in question.

There are several factors to consider when translating marketing material for the luxury sector into other languages. First off is the importance of consistency in the use of style and terminology across the brand’s international profile. Brand identity is important to all businesses, but no more so than in the luxury goods sector.

The second consideration is your “new” target audience. The demographic and therefore buying patterns and reasons for buying your luxury products may be different to your domestic customers. Your translations should reflect this. One example is Comtec’s client Aston Martin, who export over 70% of their luxury cars. Translated brochures, advertising, websites, tag lines and other marketing material all need to address the target audience, whilst retaining the Aston Martin’s core brand proposition. This is where transcreation comes in.

Transcreation = No Compromise on Brand Identity

We’ve highlighted before (see our post How to Bounce Back from Bad Translations) the problems experienced by some companies when translations haven’t taken into account cultural differences, or have employed literal translations. The challenge for the luxury brand is to keep the existing brand message and impact, but translate it in the most appropriate way for the target audience.

With Aston Martin we engaged local market reviewers in the translation process to ensure that all material reflected the core brand message, which also needed to be sensitive to cultural differences. There was also a real need to ensure that there was no opportunity for misinterpretation. For example, attributes that you might use to describe your product in one language may not translate so well in another, and therefore a more appropriate description is needed.

Brand reputation

Having carefully built up your brand identity and reputation in one language or region, you won’t want to risk damaging it by misunderstandings in another, so putting in place a clear strategy for translation is essential. To find out how we did this for Aston Martin download our case study from our Resources Page to discover more details of the processes involved in translating for the luxury goods sector.

If you have any questions about translating brochures, websites and other marketing or advertising material please get in contact. We’re always happy to have an informal chat about your requirements and offer advice on the translation process. Call +44 (0)1926 335 681 or email

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