How to Handle Social Media Translations
When a brand creates a social media post, it often needs tailoring to the different audiences, styles and requirements of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn; if the brand is operating internationally, that post can also need translating for various different territories.
Wherever your customers are in the world, you want to make them feel welcomed by your brand on social media, and encouraged to engage with your content. With this in mind, how can you navigate the world of social media translations effectively?
Translating Social Media: Key Considerations
Translators working with social media content need to provide a service that goes beyond simply translating copy. They need to make sure the audience will still get the intended experience from a post, ensuring it remains clear, flows well, conveys the same sense of humour, and encourages sharing or another form of conversion.
Translators also need to stay within the character limit for the platform, which means a certain level of social media marketing knowledge will be desirable.
Brands need to create separate pages on social media sites for each of the territories they operate in, so they can target and tailor their content accordingly. However, if a business is operating in a multilingual locale, such as a French-Canadian territory, they may want to include the translation within a post, where the character count allows.
Prioritising visual content can be an effective way for brands to save time and other resources where social media translations are concerned. Visual content is also proven to be more engaging, so the benefits of focusing on this can be two-fold. When repurposing video content, it’s important to make sure this is accompanied by translated subtitles.
The placing of emojis also needs to be carefully considered, making sure that their original intention continues to come across in a translated post.
Social Media Translation Pitfalls
Brands should avoid cutting corners when translating social media content. Here are a few pitfalls to be mindful of:
Know Where Your Audience Is
Facebook is an extremely popular platform in the West, but it’s actually banned in China, so it would be a waste of time and resources to translate your English language Facebook content into different Chinese dialects.
Instead, you need to go where your audience is, and tailor your social media content accordingly. WeChat, which is little known in the West, is one of China’s most popular social media apps, so you’d need to think about customising your content for this platform instead.
Hashtags can sometimes be difficult to read in their original language, and can occasionally unintentionally contain rude or offensive terms as a result of several words being joined together.
Bear in mind that this could also be an issue with translated content, so always check over and tailor your hashtags before scheduling or posting your content if necessary.
Automated translation tools such as Google Translate can be great for translating a single word, or for getting the general gist of what something in an unfamiliar language says, but they should never be used for translations that a brand intends to publish.
Using automated translation for a social media task such as community management could make your brand look somewhat robot-like, so make sure you’re investing in human translation that can help to keep your service personal and timely.
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing translation services to businesses for more than 17 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to give brands the linguistic and localisation support they need to break into new international markets and do it well. So if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with translations for social media, feel free to get in touch.