Blog post dated Mar 20, 2019

Off Limits: Protected Brand Names and Terms in Your Translations

If you like German cars, have you ever heard of the "People's Car" brand?

Perhaps you can guess what we are hinting at: In the field of marketing, it is vital to convey the message in the way intended by the company. An essential part of this is to convey brands and product names correctly.

An Article by

Flurina Schwendimann
Freelance Translator

When products are internationalized, many contents are adapted, but the brands and product names are usually retained.

Names are part of a company's identity that customers identify with to different degrees. In the example at the outset, the brand referred to is "Volkswagen", which obviously should not be translated. Some brands are so famous that they even become generic: We drink Coke, we google on the Internet, and we fix things with super glue.

Tight Deadlines and High Quality: How Do These Parameters Add up?

Your company most likely has other product information that should not be translated, such as product names, numbers, or models that might originate from various databases (web shop, ERP system, PIM system, CMS, etc.).

The marketing industry is characterized by speed and rapid change, resulting in ever shorter time to market for new products and ever tighter translation deadlines.

Therefore, the objective of translation management systems (TMS) is to boost the translation output while maintaining a high quality standard. To achieve this, translations of sentences and specialized terminology can be stored in a TMS for later reuse. This repository helps translators to speed up their work.

Moreover, certain terms can be prevented from being translated from the outset. In the Across Language Server, this can be done with the help of "placeables".

The marketing industry is characterized by speed and rapid change, resulting in ever shorter time to market.

Placeables in the Across Language Server

Placeables contain information that is stored prior to a translation and is therefore tagged in the source text. The content of placeables cannot be edited; translators must simply insert them in the target text.

Placeables enable you to "protect", not only your brands and product names, but entire cross-references, page numbers, product numbers, keywords, Visual XML elements, or index entries of IDML documents. As there is no limit to the length of the regular expressions, i.e. the text contained in the placeable, you can even lock entire slogans for translation, if you wish to do so.

This functionality is also useful for the localization of apps for various operating systems (e.g. Android and Apple iOS), as all placeholders (e.g. %s, %d, %1$s, and %2$d) can be converted into placeables. Upon completion, they are converted back into the respective placeholders. This prevents errors from creeping into the translation, saving the hassle of time-consuming correction cycles.

During the final quality management check, it is made sure that all placeables have been used and have been inserted in the correct order.

An aspect that should not be underestimated is that placeables do not need to be paid for, as they are not included in the word count. Thus, the use of placeables represents a win-win situation: You save money, and the translator saves time, as he does not need to research whether a product name needs to be adapted or translated. Moreover, the quality of your translation gets better, as the translator will make fewer errors, e.g. when processing product numbers.

With the use of placeables you save money and the translator saves time, as he needs to research less.

Exceptions Confirm the Rule

Of course, there are exceptions, as brands sometimes need to be adapted to the target market under linguistic, legal, or cultural considerations.

For example, a popular deodorant is called Degree in the USA, Sure in the UK, Rexona in Germany, and Rexena in Japan. A brand that has a different name in most countries is the ice-cream brand Wall's. It is called Langnese in Germany, Eskimo in Austria, Frigo in Spain, Holanda in Mexico, and Ola in the Netherlands, to mention just a few examples.

If this applies to your company as well, you can store the terms in the various languages with the help of a terminology system. This increases the text consistency and reduces the translator's processing time. Further information on the subject of terminology management is available in our free white paper Terminology Workflows - Moving Toward Improved Consistency.

A terminology system increases the text consistency and reduces the translator's processing time.

If your company wants to enter a new market, the content should be adapted to the circumstances at the new destination. The article "Successful E-Commerce through Localization" draws attention to the aspects you should take into consideration when internationalizing your products.

Meanwhile, there are scores of software tools that assist writers, translators, and reviewers in working better and more productively. However, all these translation memories, terminology databases, quality management tools, authoring assistance tools, and other technical utilities will be of little use if the actual translator does not meet your quality standards.

To learn what to watch out for when searching for translators and how to find them, read our articles "The Right Translation Partner: Find Language Service Providers and Find Freelance Translators".