1) Target countries for your company’s marketing strategy
Spanish is spoken by more than 500 million people worldwide. It is the second language in terms of number of native speakers and it is considered the second most widely spoken language in international communication.
Given the magnitude of the Spanish-speaking market, before translating texts or videos, it is important to consider the specific countries and target audiences of your products and services.
Spanish is the official language in 22 countries, each with its own culture and, consequently, linguistic characteristics.
Therefore, when translating content, it is important not to generalize the language and neglect its essential characteristics when expressing and representing the culture.
Before translating or localizing content, the company must always consider the target market for its product or service and pay close attention to the specific diversifications of each location.
2) Tone and target audience of your internationalization
Once the target countries have been established, it is equally important to determine the tone of your text or video.
Do you need it to be formal or informal? Or just a little formal? What communication style does your company want to establish with its Spanish-speaking audiences? Communicate it to your staff and your translation provider, to make sure that everyone follows the same guidelines. Provide examples and interact to guarantee these guidelines are clearly understood by the people responsible for translation/localization.
Moreover, the translation team must know the kind of target audience of the translation. Will they be employees, providers, or customers in general? Who will be your target reader? Make this clear to your translation team.
3) Knowledge/specialization area of your content
One of the main characteristics of a good translation team is their expertise and extensive knowledge in the field of the translation. The ability to speak and write in a language, in this case Spanish, does not necessarily mean you are always familiar with the terminology and the best ways of expressing yourself on a specific subject.
For example, you must identify the subject area of the text to be translated – is it IT, marketing, legal, commercial, life sciences, or something else entirely? Knowing the specific subject is key to assembling an effective translation team for your goals.
4) Type of translation service required
Does your company need to translate one or more texts? Does it need a multi-language blog? Is there video content for subtitling and/or voiceover that needs to be adapted to each target country?
The answers to these questions and the frequency of your demands will help you choose the type of service you need. You must also confirm this decision with your translation provider so they can help you define and receive the best service for your requirements.
Examples of translation services:
- Translation or technical translation: usually assigned to a team that can quickly and seamlessly meet the demands of different sized projects and deadlines. These teams mostly include a project manager and several professional language experts who are responsible for different tasks and quality control methods throughout the translation project.
- Custom machine translation followed by professional editing: Although similar to the previous service, this option helps reduce costs since one or more of the project steps is performed using automatic translation, ideally parameterized and personalized for each client. Once the text has been machine translated, it must be edited by a professional language expert.
- Translation/Localization of blogs and websites: Blog and website translation is a form of technical translation, only with a different form of exchange and delivery of the translated texts. For example, this content can be translated using integrated interfaces between the client’s blog (via WordPress, etc.) and the language service provider.
- Software translation/localization: applications must also be translated and localized for the target audiences. Usually, this service involves software content translation or localization (menus, messages, instructions), translation of documentation and, in some cases, system testing from the user’s point of view.
5) To use or not to use machine translation (automatic translation) followed by professional editing
One of the services shown above includes machine translation. This service was featured separately because it requires careful consideration by the company that needs translation services.
Machine translation is a trend that is here to stay, but it must be used with caution and discretion. It can help reduce the cost and turnaround of each project, but it may also result in loss of quality, meaning, and even the ideal tone and style for the target audiences. If you choose this service, make sure the translation team understands your expectations and applies strict quality control checks to make sure that “cheaper” does not equal “inferior.”
6) Defining glossaries/expectations with your translation team
Another critical factor is defining the glossary or terminology, which is applicable to the vast majority of translation services.
This requirement is even more challenging with Spanish since it is spoken in so many countries.
Below, we have listed some examples of non-technical terminology variations between countries to illustrate this challenge:
‘Santa Claus’ is known as ‘Papá Noel’ in Colombia, ‘Santa Claus’ in Mexico and Central America, and ‘Viejito Pascuero’ in Chile.
Likewise, the word ‘popcorn’ has many equivalents in Spanish-speaking countries. It is known as ‘rositas’ in Cuba, ‘pipoca’ in Bolivia, ‘pó’ in Uruguay, ‘cabritas’ in Chile, ‘cotufa’ in Venezuela, ‘canchita’ in Peru, ‘crispetas’ in Colombia, ‘pochoclo’ in Argentina, and ‘palomitas’ in Mexico.
In technology, a ‘cell phone,’ for example, is called ‘teléfono móvil’ or simply ‘móvil’ in Spain, while in Latin America, it is almost always known as ‘teléfono celular’ or just ‘celular.’ A computer is called ‘computador’ or ‘computadora’ in Latin America and ‘ordenador’ in Spain, while a computer ‘mouse’ is also referred to as a ‘mouse’ in Latin America and a ‘ratón’ in Spain.
These are just some characteristic examples of the specific culture of each country that must be taken into consideration when translating content and preparing a glossary to be defined between client and service provider so that, over time, the terminology can be perfectly suited to all current and future materials.
7) View your service provider as a partner that will enable you to achieve your international marketing ROI and communication goals
Ideally, content should be translated and localized by specialized and dedicated professional language experts. These professionals can work in-house, that is, as part of your internal staff. However, these services can often be provided with greater efficiency, speed, and practicality by a professional team from a dedicated translation service provider. This way, your employees can fully focus on adding value to your company ‘s service or product offerings. Moreover, outsourcing translation services tends to provide you with increased flexibility, allowing your business to improve cost-effectiveness and gain scale (flexible team scaling, which increases or decreases as needed).
Your language service provider should help you achieve a return on investment (ROI) for your international marketing efforts much more efficiently. Zaum Langs is here to help. Talk to us and learn more about the clients we have helped internationalize, making their brands increasingly global.