Translating Great English Copy into Chinese

Copywriting is an important part of your online and offline marketing strategies. As you expand your business into new markets you might need to translate your copy into different languages. With the Chinese market being so big and so close by I invited my friend Jasmine Yow to write a guest post about English – Chinese translation which might help Adelaide businesses. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with Jasmine! – Nick

With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) opening new doors for Australian companies to do business with China, good Chinese copywriting is becoming essential for businesses wanting to reach Chinese consumers.

Effective translation and localisation are keys to boosting brand awareness in the Chinese market.

Here’s two bilingual copywriting traps your company should be aware of:

English - Chinese Translation

#1: Doing a literal translation

You’ve spent a lot of money developing an excellent marketing campaign. Now just hire someone to translate it, and it’ll work equally well in Chinese, right? Wrong.

Coca-Cola’s brand name, when first marketed in China, was sometimes translated as “Bite The Wax Tadpole“. Not good! On the flip side, a list of well-translated Chinese brand names that have completely resonated with the public can be found here, courtesy of Business Insider.

Thinking of using Google Translate to produce business-critical content? Here are examples from personal experience of how things can go very wrong.

#2 Doing all your thinking in English

If you’re a business owner keen to work in the Australia-China space, it is helpful to engage a Chinese branding and marketing consultant early on to develop ideas that will work well in both languages.

Thinking about appealing to the sensibilities of two different audiences at the start will enable you to develop workable material with much more room for flexibility down the track.

Keeping these two tips in mind can save you a lot of angst.

Jasmine is an English/Chinese copywriter-translator, with a gift for distilling concepts and communicating creatively. Having lived and worked in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, she is passionate about connecting people across cultures and telling fresh stories across different mediums. She dances with words when her feet fail to take off.

Jasmine’s Links: Linkedin | Twitter | Facebook | Weibo | Wechat: +61430043215