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Copy translation – localisation for the right impact

Your organisation has put time and money into producing marketing texts and you naturally want them to work just as well in translation. But translating advertising so it works effectively in a different language and a different culture can be a real challenge – not just for your chosen translation agency, but also for you as a client. With Exacta, you get all the support you need.

You will no doubt have invested considerable resources in the development of a successful marketing text, so when moving into a new language, you need to consider more than just getting a straightforward translation done. You most likely require a copy translation.

Can ads really be translated?

They certainly can, but be aware that the text may need adapting in a very different way to a regular translation – taking account of local conditions and cultural differences. Translating advertisements is all about transferring a message in an engaging way from one language to another, without necessarily following the exact words of the original text in every detail. In short, the translator is given a little more leeway than in a traditional translation.

How do you translate marketing texts with the same impact?

Translating marketing texts and ad campaigns can be the most challenging of assignments, because they can’t be translated word for word. Instead, the text has to be adapted to the new language and the recipients – your customers. Very few translators are able to detach themselves from the source text and think outside the box. Traces of the original sentence structure and wording can sometimes be evident in the translation. And often the text will need to be completely rewritten to work in its new market, moving beyond the realm of translation and into adaptation or localisation.

Of course the amount of localisation that the text requires varies from case to case. A basic rule of thumb is that the shorter a marketing text is, the more difficult it is to translate. Slightly longer brochure texts and online texts are usually fine to translate with only a few minor adaptations. Press releases, ads and short, punchy and inventive slogans often need more adaptation or rewriting for them to be effective. This is a skill that goes beyond ordinary translation.

The culture and the language also matter

If the translation is going into a language closely related to the source language, less adaptation is generally required, and conversely – if the language belongs to a completely different group, more adaptation will be needed due to the very different structures. Translations from Swedish to Arabic and Finnish thus need more adaptation than translations from Swedish to Norwegian and Danish, for example

What are the key considerations when translating marketing texts?

When translating marketing texts, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Give the translator as much background information as possible
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Who is the text aimed at? Is the message supported by visual material? Are there specific SEO words that the translator should try to include? How much freedom does the translator have? Background information and context help the translator to do a better job.

  • Copy translation in two or three stages can achieve better results
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A marketing text could be translated completely correctly, but still lack local linguistic finesse. With copy adaptation, a second writer works on the translation to polish it up so that it fits perfectly into its intended setting.

  • There are local rules and regulations on what marketing can contain
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This is particularly true for marketing aimed at children and ads for products such as alcohol and tobacco.

  • If your text is in InDesign
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If your text is in InDesign, the text can be exported into a format called IDML that the translator can work with.

  • If your text is in a PDF
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If your text is in a PDF, it will originally have been created in a different format, usually InDesign. If you can get hold of the original files, this is almost always better than converting a PDF into Word.

What Exacta has to offer

Copy translation for every industry

We’re able to provide marketing translations for just about every industry. With copy translations, the specialist terminology is usually easy to find. The tricky bit is translating the text so it sounds like an original.

Copy translation

If you don’t have a text in the language you want to communicate in – contact us for a copy translation that is expertly tailored to your target audience. A copy translator translates the source text but with a freer hand to get the message across.

Translation + editing

A translator translates the source text, and then one of our talented copywriters/editors refines the text to make it even more effective for the target audience.


Is your existing translated text not quite doing your marketing message justice? Contact Exacta for help with copy adaptation of your translated marketing texts. We’ll get an experienced local editor to work on the text so that it makes the right impact in your intended market.

Contact us

We have the knowledge, experience and contacts to successfully translate marketing and advertising material.

Contact Exacta Translations by phone on +46 8 22 00 44 or email when you need expressions that make the right impression.