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How to Translate Marketing Content (2024 Guide)

how to translate marketing content by via olaussen

As a global marketer, you probably already know the drill: speak to your global audiences in their local languages, win their trust and loyalty. Of course, you will need to translate your marketing content while following a localization strategy.

However, marketing translation can be time-consuming and tedious. As a translator myself, I can tell you that I never want to see another email attachment with a title like “campaign_translation_v.13.xlsx” again.

The good news is that there are tools and techniques you can adopt to make the process more efficient and easier for everyone. This guide will address how you can do just that, with recommendations for which method your business should adopt depending on a few factors.


Common problems with translating marketing content

Manual translation workflow when translating marketing collateral

Your marketing collaterals may spread across many different file formats, depending on which content types make up your brand’s marketing mix. That can make things a little bit complicated.

For example, advertising copy for your website or social media may be saved as Word, HTML, or Excel files, while you may create your brochures and ebooks using InDesign. If you have ever made a marketing video, you probably would have saved closed captions as SRT subtitle files.

Let’s think about how most companies would translate their marketing content. The process would look a lot like this:

  1. Copying the source texts from the original files and pasting them into a Word or Excel document.
  2. Sending the new document to the translator.
  3. Receiving the translated document.
  4. Forwarding the document to proofreaders and editors.
  5. Revising the document based on comments from the editing team.
  6. Copying and pasting the translated segments back into the original file format.
  7. Re-doing the layout and formatting to fit the target language before publication.

A workflow like the one described above may be all well and good for a one-and-done translation.

But imagine that your company is in a phase of rapid growth. Naturally, the volume of your marketing content will continue to increase, and so will the number of your target markets.

In that case, continuing to rely on a manual translation process means your company is more likely to experience:

  • Errors or inconsistencies in style and voice
  • Lack of proper communication between team members
  • Delays in time to market
  • Difficulties tracking the progress of your localization projects
Manual translation workflow disadvantages

So, how can your business avoid falling into these traps? To figure that out, let’s look at some of the major ways companies approach marketing translation.


Four marketing translation methods

Ways to translate marketing content

It is entirely possible for companies to use a mix of in-house, outsourcing, and machine translation for their content localization needs, so you may look at this table and think - por qué no los dos? (Why not both?)

Above all, the point we want to make is that it doesn’t really matter whether you choose one or the other, or decide to go for a mix. Ultimately, your chances of success will depend on how you use those techniques to your advantage with a streamlined translation management process.

So while the ones listed here are not mutually exclusive and will ultimately depend on individual business needs, these are the pros and cons of four major marketing translation approaches:

Method Use Pros Cons
In-house translation The company relies on a team of in-house translators and/or copywriters for localization of marketing messages. - High quality
- Availability of staff
- Knowledge of and investment in the company
- Maintain consistency
- Limitations in available language pairs
Marketing translation services The company hires external translators and LSPs to handle the marketing translation process. - High quality
- Versatility in language pairs
- Outside expertise
- Expensive
- Less likely to maintain consistency in style and voice
- Difficult to manage and track progress
Online machine translation tool The company uses online machine translation solutions like Google Translate to translate the text, which is then proofread by a native speaker (optional). - Cheap and fast - Not very accurate - Direct translations of marketing messages
- The format of documents is not preserved
Professional translation tool The company uses a translation tool like Redokun that combines all parts of the marketing translation process in one dedicated platform. - High quality
- Cost-effective
- Easy to use
- Preserve file formatting
- Maintain consistency
- Increase efficiency
- Subscription-based
- Requires internet access

In the next sections, we will look at each method in detail, making recommendations for suitability based on purpose, audience, and timing.

Method 1: Put together an in-house translation team

Put together an in-house translation team

The rise of remote working has made it easier for companies to assemble virtual teams that work from anywhere. Since that widens the pool of available native speakers for hire, this is good news for companies that prefer to keep their translation and localization processes in-house.

Here are some reasons you might want to consider this option:

  • Easier to maintain consistency: No one knows the company’s products and services, market terminology or appropriate tone of voice better than the people working directly for your business. As a result, you run a smaller risk of errors and inconsistencies in copy (localized or otherwise) written by in-house staff. That means there is also no need to spend a lot of time bringing contractors up to speed on your style guide.
  • Faster translation turnaround: The translators work only for you instead of many other clients, which means they are more readily available to deliver the work quickly.
  • Better internal communication: For the same reasons above, inter-team communication also flows better with internal staff rather than with external contractors.
  • Vetted, high quality translations: Quality reviews of translated content will usually more seamless with internal staff, who you can vet during the hiring process. On the other hand, publicizing content created by external contractors carries more risk, as you don’t actually know the translators or the quality of their work.

Many businesses often struggle with managing their localization projects when each element of the workflow is either handled by different service providers, or spread out across multiple tools.

With an in-house localization team in place who create content, collaborate and communicate through a translation management system, your team can work smarter while you make sure to use existing resources to their full potential.

Who should use this method?
Having a dedicated in-house team will be useful for all businesses, no matter what stage they are at in the localization process. It might be particularly useful at the beginning, however, when your company is establishing its footing in critical markets.

Method 2: Hire professional marketing translation services

Hire professional marketing translation services

The internet is full of language service providers and independent translators you can hire when the need arises.

While freelancers may not know your company, they will be up to speed on industry best practices. Plus, multitalented contractors are a dime and dozen these days, so bonus points if you can find someone intimately familiar with the language and culture of the target market that can also write great copy.

There will be some risks involved with relying on external partners for your marketing localization needs, but you will also benefit from:

  • Access to language pairs: Your in-house team may already be proficient in the most common languages. However, for more elusive language pairs and when you just want to test out a campaign in a new market, it might be good to try out the resources of providers with more diverse foreign language skills.
  • Specalized marketing expertise: Whether you are looking for a translator, transcreator or a localization specialist with marketing expertise for the target country, the agency will be able to help you find the right person. Looking for an experienced consultant to advise on optimizing content for local search engines? Then this will be your best bet.
  • Ease of hiring: Language service providers will have a large pool of contractors and freelancers to choose from, which saves you from doing the legwork when it comes to recruiting and onboarding translators.

To start looking for a translator or language service provider, check out this resource: 40+ Places to Find a Translator

Who should use this method?
Outsourcing may be a good option for companies with sizeable localization budgets that either would like to break into multiple, smaller markets or just simply benefit from outside perspectives and expertise.

However, there may be issues with maintaining an efficient workflow and consistent tone of voice if most of your campaign materials are made by external vendors. To better manage the process, look into using a translation management software.

Method 3: Use an online machine translation tool

Use an online machine translation tool

Like it or not, artificial intelligence is getting smarter. Major technological advancements have made it possible to translate foreign language texts in seconds.

With simple tools that can even be stored in your browser, the process of understanding documents in other languages has become faster, smoother and more efficient.

So you may ask yourself, why would I pay a translator to work for hours on a text when I can just use an online tool that can do the same thing in seconds? Well, the answer is that it is not quite the same thing, especially not for marketing documents that require a little more care when it comes to crafting brand messages.

The way you communicate with potential customers speaks volumes about how trustworthy you are as a company. While AI and ML are great tools to use in a pinch, they can never replace a human touch.

With that in mind, there are some cases where online machine translation tools are appropriate for translating marketing materials, such as when:

  • You need to translate a text quickly for personal reading and understanding
  • You would like to save money on translations by having a native speaker proofread and post-edit the machine translated text
  • You only want to retain the direct meaning of the text, not have it localized
  • You would like to provide your translators with CAT tools that can help them when they are stuck
Who should use this method?
Machine translation is a good tool if you want to quickly understand a text in another language or provide a basis for your translators or native speaking copy writers to build off on when they provide the localized copy.

This should be for internal use only and is not recommended for use in the publication stage of marketing materials.

Method 4: Adopt a professional translation tool like Redokun

Translate marketing collateral with translation software

Using a translation management system is the most effective way to handle your localization processes. That goes whether you outsource, use in-house translators or post-edit machine translations. In fact, most professional translation tools worth their salt will let you do all of the above easily right in their platform.

To illustrate how a professional translation management system can help you, let’s think about the manual translation workflow I described earlier. What really happens is that you spent a lot of valuable time

  • Sending back-and-forth emails
  • Clicking on CTRL+C and CTRL+V
  • Scrolling in a spreadsheet to find that one segment that needs to be edited in cell J32
  • Going “wait, didn’t we translate that exact phrase X months ago?”
  • Searching all over your folders only to find, yes, that exact phrase in cell K55 of a long-lost Excel document

That’s just for one piece of marketing content in one language. Add more languages and content to that mix, and you have a recipe for confusion and inefficiency.

Moreover, it is not taking into account time spent carefully re-formatting the new document to fit the translated version. After all, your translators are translators, not designers. All they should have to do is translate, not fiddle endlessly with text boxes and font sizes.

On the other hand, a professional translation tool can help you:

  • Translate all kinds of file formats
  • Manage all your localization projects and team members in one place
  • Easily collaborate and communicate with colleagues
  • Combine human and artificial intelligence when translating
  • Maintain a consistent tone of voice and style with translation memories
  • Reduce opportunity costs as your team can work more efficiently, speeding up time to publication
  • Automatically retain the style and format of the original document

As you can see, there are some very good reasons why 88% of professional translators stated that they use CAT tools like Redokun for translation tasks.

Who should use this tool?
It is a no-brainer to say that efficiency will speed up your time-to-market, which is what any business wants, really. As you don’t want that to come at the cost of translation quality, professional translation tools are ideal to help you maintain efficiency and top-notch quality when translating marketing content.

That is why we would recommend this option for companies of any stage of their market expansion process, as it allows you to create a hybrid workflow that integrates all methods of marketing translation in an end-to-end solution.

Now with the many translation tools available on the market, which one should you go for?

Meet Redokun

Translate marketing content with translation software like Redokun

Redokun leverages the latest translation technology to help teams work smarter, not harder, on their localization projects.

That makes it an ideal solution for marketing translation because it provides a flexible and easy-to-use tool that is scalable to your business needs - whether big or small. As your multilingual marketing needs grow, it will help you manage your content translation workload without the need to spend a lot of time on manual tasks.

A closer look at some of our product features will tell you how that’s possible:

  • Project management tools: Organize your files, invite collaborators to tasks, notify them of updates, communicate between teams and keep track of progress all in one place.
  • Translation memory: As you progress with your localization projects in Redokun, the system creates a database of previous translations that automatically pop up as suggestions when your translators work. Not only does that increase their working efficiency, it helps you maintain a consistent tone across all marketing copy - and reduce costs in the process.
  • Pre-translation of documents: Redokun’s inbuilt machine translation features allows for instant suggestions that boost the productivity of your translators if they get stuck on texts.
  • Cloud-based tool: Redokun runs in your browser, so your collaborators will not have to download and install any extra software to start working. All they need is a browser and internet connection.
  • Easy implementation of revisions: Sometimes, last-minute revisions are made to marketing documents, which causes a headache for localization teams as the changes would need to be implemented across all ongoing translations. With Redokun, you can just upload the revised document in the source language. Translators working on your project would be notified immediately of newly added texts, speeding up time to completion without any setbacks.
  • Hybrid workflows: Redokun’s platform brings managers, in-house translators and external vendors together in one single virtual space. No need for endless email threads to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Versatile file compatibility: Redokun works with the most common file formats for marketing collateral, including InDesign, Word, Powerpoint and Excel files. You can simply upload the files to be translated and invite your team members to translate the text. The translator translates and Redokun does the rest. At the end, you have a final document ready for publication without having to lift a finger.

Want to give it a go, but not quite ready to commit yet? Try Redokun for free today!

Till next time,


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