Whether in websites, mobile apps or ads, even if you are targeting another English-speaking country, national usage can differ from yours. In Britain and South Africa, the above ad makes perfect sense. But in the US, the wording has a slightly different meaning. Be sure to ask your translation service to verify your message for the target country, even if you think it speaks the “same” language as you. Whether you are translating…

  • French for France or Canada;
  • Portuguese for Portugal or Brazil;
  • English for the UK, Australia, Anglophone Africa or the US;
  • Spanish for Spain, Mexico, Colombia or Argentina;
  • Chinese for China, Hong Kong or Taiwan …

word usage, pronouns and sentence structure can vary by country. You seek to be understood, not ridiculed, with your message.


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Useful Tip:

Many firms assume that an ad wording or brochure format from home will work abroad. But if your text is very tight on the page, it will not fit when it is prepared in French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Those languages require about 20% more words than English to express the same concept. A professional language service does have ways to make tight translations fit your English layout, if necessary. But a better solution might be to cut out some words entirely and redesign your site or promotion with benefits and images that appeal to the target country.