It’s safe to say that any business owner or manager understands the importance of advertising. And in this day and age, some of the most effective marketing strategies involve the use of social media ads. But all the effort involved in creating those ads – not to mention the money you pay to have them displayed – will go to waste if your target audience doesn’t understand and/or relate to the ad. That’s why it’s so important to seek out the highest quality translation services available for your social media ads.

It’s important to remember that translating doesn’t just involve converting one language to another – it also means ensuring that your audience will be able to appreciate and relate to your message. Social media is a worldwide phenomenon, and there can be huge cultural differences from one country to another. If your marketing goal is to reach the broadest audience possible, you’ll need to make sure that your translator is also a localization expert. Put very simply, localization is the process of revising or altering content – including language, images and design – to be more appropriate for the potential customers you hope to reach. What may be entirely acceptable to viewers inside the US may be completely inappropriate – or worse, even offensive – to people from different cultures and other parts of the world. That’s why your translator should also be an expert in localization services.

Whatever you do, don’t rely on the accuracy of machine translation. While that technology may be adequate enough to translate a Facebook post from your second cousin, it is by no means capable of providing even a high quality literal translation of a business ad, much less provide any form of localization. And ignoring localization can produce nightmarish results. Many of us have heard horror stories about marketing strategies gone terribly wrong: the baby food company that didn’t realize people in African countries would see an infant on a product label and think the jar contained baby parts; advertising slogans that translated into either nonsensical or downright obscene phrases; colors or images that weren’t even allowed in another country due to censorship laws; and other mistakes too numerous to mention here. All of these examples should serve as excellent reminders of how crucial it is to find the right professional translator/localization expert for your social media ads, preferably one with the following expertise:

  • A fluency in the target language, including nuances of usage and popular jargon
  • An understanding of the censorship laws of the countries in which the ads will appear
  • An intimate knowledge of the culture of the target audience, including sensitivities that might exist due to history, religion, or politics
  • A knowledge of the product or service being sold and the demographics of the target customers

No matter which social media outlet you choose for your business ads – whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, or any of the other lesser known sites – take the time and the effort to find high quality translation/localization services. The best place to start your search is with a reputable translation company. They take the time to thoroughly vet all of their linguists, saving you the effort involved in trying to do that on your own. Talk to these language professionals about your target audience(s) and ask about the availability of a native speaker – preferably one who is not only fluent in the language, but also intimately familiar with the culture of your prospective customers. Social media can be a powerful advertising tool, so take the time to use it wisely and avoid the mistakes that other companies have made. Your business will be the beneficiary of the time and effort you invest!