Marketing translation – Never two areas were as complementary and necessary as they are today, language and marketing.
In recent years, the fields of marketing and translation have experienced great interest from professionals and consumers, due to the arrival of television on demand, social networks and, in general, the force with which it has broken the digital realm in our lives.
In this context, people with training in languages and in marketing and communication have much to offer, because we combine commercial knowledge, that is, what tools and techniques are the best to sell in the digital environment, with excellent knowledge of our language, and marketing translation.
As a marketing translator, I have tried over the years to extract the best of these two disciplines. I would like to share my experience of marketing translation with an excerpt of an interview held on Buzzsprout in November 2019 about translation and marketing. Here it is…
What are you currently focusing on?
Currently, I dedicate 100% to digital marketing. As a freelance translator, I work on social networks, email marketing campaigns, social media ads, blogging for companies and SEO which I translate from English into French.
In addition, I always dedicate an important percentage of my time to training and updating, since the marketing translation sector is always constantly evolving and it is essential to be up to date.
What has led you to devote yourself to digital marketing from the linguistic field?
The truth is that, in my case, it has been a natural process, nothing premeditated. While it is true that I studied Translation and Interpretation of English and French, from the beginning I have been more linked to the business sector than to translation itself.
Throughout my professional career, I have worked for SMEs and also for large multinationals and all that experience has opened the way for me and clarified the ideas about what I want to do, what I like, what I do better and also, of course, where I don’t want to go back to.
In digital marketing, I really enjoy developing my creativity and it is also a very dynamic task, where every day is different. You can’t fall asleep on your laurels because you have to always be up to date. And that motivates me! On the other hand, working on my own has given me the flexibility I needed to spend time with my family. And, unlike other translation projects, where sometimes you get a subtitle project that you have to deliver in two weeks and you need to work day and night during that time to meet the deadlines, in marketing translation, projects are not as urgent. They are usually long-term jobs, with which I can make work and family much more compatible. That factor is my case has been decisive.
Do you combine marketing with translation or is it something you do sporadically?
No. Although I do a lot of English and French subtitles and dubbing, today I can say that I dedicate 100% of my time to digital marketing. However, digital marketing and translation, linguistics and communication are areas that go hand in hand. So many times, I translate web pages, translate content for blogs from English to French or correct texts that are going to be published, so I apply my linguistic and marketing knowledge in equal parts.
After all, the possibility of combining my two passions is fascinating and enriching.
What are the main challenges you encountered when you decided to start?
The challenges facing an entrepreneur are always the same, with the difference that not everyone has the same economic and family situation.
In my specific and particular case, undertaking marketing translation meant not having the stability of a job with a specific schedule and salary and looking for something better, more flexible and more motivating.
It is never easy to lose your comfort zone, especially when we have been taught that you have to aspire to have something fixed, whatever it is, whether you like it or not and try to retain it forever. However, experience has taught me that if we are going to have to work a lifetime, it is very hard to perform a position that you do not like or feel that your work will not have any progression in the next 30 years.
So, the biggest challenge was to visualize myself doing what I liked and go for it. I think you’ll always regret not having tried to do what you love, whatever it is.
What challenges do you think the translation sector faces today?
From my humble point of view, I believe that the greatest challenge is to get the work of a professional translator sufficiently valued, so that machines can never replace a job as complex as translation.
On the other hand, I believe that curricula for Degrees of Translation are totally outdated and disconnected from the real world that the translator will find at the end. It is an aspect that should be changed urgently. I believe that areas such as taxation, business administration, human resource management and even personal development or stress management should be reflected in some way in almost all studies.
Remember that we are in a globalized world, where you may study in Berlin, do internships in Tokyo and end up setting up a company in Bali. We need more training to get as far as we want.
What about challenges in marketing translation?
Digital marketing has numerous aspects and, in my opinion, there are two important challenges:
Create versatile, integrating and powerful tools that include all the work of marketing in one, to facilitate the work of professionals from a single platform. From where you can program, analyse, monitor and manage a multitude of platforms (websites, networks, blogs, e-commerce, advertising, translation, etc.). We are currently forced to have 200 applications and 500 programs to cover everything. And that makes the task difficult and affects productivity.
Humanize the world of marketing. By that, I mean stop thinking like machines and see the customer as a person. Empathize with him/her and avoid the dreaded bombing of campaigns we receive from some companies. It’s hard to set a limit, but I think we should make marketing a friend of the customer and not an enemy. In other words: ‘make as many marketing campaigns as you would like to receive as a customer.’
What added value can a translator bring to the field of digital marketing?
Very much. There are many professionals in the marketing translation sector who, for one reason or another, have moved to the digital marketing sector.
In my opinion, once a translator has been trained in this area and has even deepened in one of its areas (SEM, copywriting, SEO, web design, etc.), either with work experience or through a course specialization, your work can be very valuable for both a company and working as a freelancer.
We must bear in mind that translators specialized in marketing translation have a very deep knowledge of communication itself, as well as mastery of one or several foreign languages. If you combine this with any field of knowledge, the result will be truly exceptional. But in marketing, in addition, I think writing, communicating, expressing yourself, being able to convince and persuade, empathizing, generating emotions, these skills have an enormous value…
A translator trained in digital marketing will feel valued, versatile, useful and, above all, motivated, if he/she likes to overcome challenges and not stagnate.
What would you say to translation and interpreting students who are considering taking this path?
The truth is that I’ve been in this industry for 25+ years and I’ve found many translators along the way. Each and every one of us can have family, economic or health difficulties, but the limitations in the end are in oneself.
A translator who is completing his/her studies does not have to think that they should spend the rest of their life sitting by their computer translating because they have no other option (without belittling anyone who wants to do it). There are a lot of options beyond that. Either linking their translation skills to digital marketing or other sectors. I think growing is key.
And if a person feels motivated by advertising, communication or marketing, go for it! From my point of view, a translator has a lot of future in marketing translation and digital marketing, as long as he.she trains, is patient, constant, humble and gives himself/herself time to evolve. In my opinion, a translator can go as far as he/she wants. It only depends on their ambition, desire to learn and overcome challenges.