Do you need an ‘Olá’ or an ‘Oi’? How to make sure you are really speaking to your target market.

Believe it or not, one of our most popular questions from clients is which languages they actually need to translate their materials into. This may seem obvious on the surface, but it can often bring up the least obvious of answers. Take a look at our top recommendations for getting your language choice right:

1. Check which languages are spoken in your target country.

Even if there is only one official language, there may be a number of co-official regional languages to consider, as in the case of Spain. You may be missing a trick if you are launching a marketing campaign in Spain and neglect to provide a translation in Catalan, for example, which is essential for capturing the imagination of a Catalan audience, particularly when considering that all important hub of Barcelona.

2. Don’t assume that a language is the same when it is spoken in different countries.

Take the example of European and Brazilian Portuguese. These dialects have so many grammatical and lexical differences that it is sometimes hard to remember they are even the same language. A European Portuguese speaker would instantly know if a text they were given was Brazilian Portuguese, and may not be too pleased if you made the assumption that ‘one size fits all’.

3. Learn the difference between written and spoken dialects.

Chinese languages can be particularly confusing in this respect, as there are numerous spoken dialects, but only 2 main written structures of either Simplified or Traditional characters. It just requires a bit of research into the locale you are targeting to know whether your text should be written in Simplified or Traditional Chinese. The general rule is simplified for China, Singapore and Malaysia and traditional for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, but there are yet still more dialects within each of these regions, so it’s useful to know whether your target audience is very specific or more wide-reaching.

If after all this you are still unsure of which languages you should be translating your material into, then please contact Web-Translations and we’d be glad to help you with your translation strategy.