Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An advertising company gets it: Hispanic Marketing 101

Killian Advertising, a small advertising company from Chicago, has recently posted on their web site a white paper on marketing for the hispanic marker, Just Translate It? Hispanic Marketing 101.

According to Killian, rule number 1 is:
Advertising intended for Hispanic consumers should be written in Spanish, not translated to Spanish from English
By extension, this is true or advertising in other languages as well.

I believe this is substantially right: although it is possible to provide useful translations for advertising, these translations should only be used as a starting point for a good copywriter to re-create and adapt the campaign for the selected target market.


  1. The Hispanic Community is complex and deserve more respect in terms on communication channels. A simple translation is just a cookie-cutter and is not going to make the connection with the Hispanic Consumer.

  2. I actually firmly believe it is unethical to translate marketing copy. It's ok if someone wants to just get a sense of what it means, but completely unethical if the client believes the translated marketing copy will be useful as marketing copy. There are too many cultural differences. What sells to Finns (facts and data) is different from what sells to Americans (will make you feel good, rich, successful...). I actually tell clients point blank that I find it unethical to translate marketing copy and turn down the job.

  3. MKT translations are already so complicated in our own native language. It's really difficult to convey a message in other language. The language goes far beyond the grammar... It embodies the feeling, the spirit, the senses of a country, a culture. I translate technical texts from English into Portuguese and I can tell, this is not a task for beginners. If that is true for technical translations, then it is even truer for MKT. This is the kind of translation I don't think machine will be able to translate in the near future (or never)!


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