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Why the retention of brand tone of voice is important in translation

Why the retention of brand tone of voice is important in translation [Photo: oaltindag/iStock]
in Retail and Ecommerce

There are many factors that go into the mix when it comes to creating the perfect brand identity and making sure that a company can grow in a consistent manner. One of the most important factors involved in this, however, is tone of voice. For any brand to truly make itself stand out in the world of business, regardless of sector, it's important that it can talk to its clients and consumers in a recognisable, consistent tone. 

Some of the biggest companies in the world have thrived on the back of this strategy, with firms like technology giant Apple and entertainment behemoth Disney able to get that tone just right. By having a consistent and instantly recognisable voice, these companies can connect with their audiences in the most effective way, which is important for brand advocacy and repeat custom. 

According to Big Lemon, tone of voice is the single most important factor in turning a business into a brand. It says that when it comes identifying with consumers, tone of voice takes people, their emotions and their personalities into account, and tells people in a plain and simple way "this is us, this is what we do". 

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles in the modern world of business is taking that brand and growing it on a global scale. With the accessibility the internet has given to consumers, and the fact it's easier than ever for people all over the world to connect with a brand, it's more important than ever that companies can click with people in a range of countries. And in the majority of cases, this will mean connecting with them in a range of languages. 

The challenge, then, comes with taking the original tone of voice the brand has fostered for itself and making that a consistent factor across its offering in a number of languages. It's no longer just enough to translate directly. In that translation process, it's easy for the company to lose its voice and get lost in the mix. 

So what does it take to translate a brand's tone of voice and ensure it keeps its identity even after translation?


Perhaps the most important factor in maintaining a brand's tone of voice is to have consistency in its translation. Of course, it may not be possible to maintain exactly the same tone when it comes to going from one language to another. There are some phrases and words that simply don't translate, and sentence structures that differ in ways that change how the brand feels it comes across. 

What is important, however, is that whatever translation work is carried out, is done in the same way time and again. If your company has had its content and website, as well as other services, translated once, that should be seen as your tone of voice in that language. And from that point on, it's vital that anything else translated follows that lead. 

By having consistency, even if the tone of voice you use is not quite the same as it was originally, it does allow you to have a brand identity in that new market, and this is important for consumer sentiment and advocacy. 


Of course, even if the brand's identity cannot be taken directly over from one language to another, it still matters. Your brand will have created that way of speaking to consumers for a reason, and you don't want to lose that entirely. 

This means that the quality of translator you choose to use is important to your brand. You want to work with someone who is not just well-versed in each language, but an expert, as well as having knowledge of your industry where possible. This allows them an understanding of what you were trying to say in the first place, as well as the right way to talk to your customers, and the best possible chance to get your tone of voice as close as possible to what you originally intended post-translation.

If you have that expertise to hand, it allows your brand to retain at least a part of your identity in another language, and you know that you are speaking to your customers in what is the closest possible way to what you originally intended. 

Brand tone of voice is more important now than it has ever been. Companies who understand the motivations of their consumers, as well as how to talk to them and connect with them most effectively are the most likely to find success, particularly in brand loyalty. When they want to take that to another language and market, it's therefore very important that the brand voice goes with them so they can have the same relationship they already enjoy with customers all over the world. 

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