Voice Lessons: How to Strengthen Your Global Brand Voice
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Voice Lessons: How to Strengthen Your Global Brand Voice

Voice Lessons: How to Strengthen Your Global Brand Voice


Let’s assume you have a strong brand voice in your home market — one that’s designed and carefully managed to tell your target audiences, “Hey, we get you.” But does that tone come through in your marketing translations? If not, here are a few ways to tighten up your global brand voice.

Engaging a Brand Representative

Someone who deeply understands the nuances of your brand should review your transcreation vendor’s style guide and answer tough questions from creative linguists. Is the style formal or casual? Is it wistful, imaginative, or punny? Is it emotional or neutral? Ask your branding team for someone who understands the brand voice to help your vendor shape the direction provided to your marketing linguists.

Setting Up a Review Team

Good reviewers come from a number of key roles in your organization. Plan to set up a linguistic feedback loop assembling internal in-country stakeholders, community reviewers, external SMEs and others who might have a stake in the outcome. Since these stakeholders have different skills, knowledge, experiences, perspectives, and quality standards, they will all require training on how to review materials and structure their feedback appropriately.


Developing a Structured Feedback Form

A structured feedback form ensures marketing linguists and reviewers understand what “good” looks like — and helps reviewers provide details that illuminate the specific way a translation is “bad.” A good form transforms feedback into actionable and quantifiable issues, so you can monitor improvements over time.

Fleshing Out the Brand Style Guide

Keep adding “do” and “don’t” examples to your style guide based on what fails review as a violation of brand. Illustrating as much of the brand vision as possible will help transcreators craft the most appropriate style within the context and constraints of the target language.

Cleaning Up Your Translation Memories

The value of leveraging past translations will plummet if those translations are stale. Brands evolve; languages evolve; outdated translations are an albatross around your neck. Purge them. Here’s why, and here’s how.

Keep in Mind…

To adopt your brand voice, transcreators and marketing linguists need your full support.

  • Give it time. Learning brand voice is an interative process that will take transcreators and marketing linguists 2-4 weeks, depending on how good your style guide, glossaries, TMs and other reference materials are.
  • Understand the process. Ask your vendor about their process for ensuring projects adhere to brand voice and tone. Is there someone on the team scanning each project’s source content for cultural references that might go over the heads of a non-native speaker? Will they provide immersive brand training for any new resources?
  • Drive reviewer feedback. If your reviewers are too caught up in their day jobs to provide structured feedback, your brand voice will suffer. Whether you fight to prioritize their time or look for replacements who can be more involved, make sure your review team stays focused, motivated and engaged.