09 April 2019
Target groups for translations

It’s really quite simple – you want some text translated from source language A to target language B within a specific amount of time. Surely that’s all the translator needs to know – or is it?

Find out why your target audience plays a crucial role in translations and discover the benefits of having a clearly defined target group.

Define your target group

You probably already know that trying to appeal to all your potential customers at once is almost impossible, which is why companies need different target groups. These groups can vary according to each company’s different products or services. Product A might be aimed at young people who appreciate quality but don’t want to spend too much, while product B is for wealthy customers who can afford to spend more and enjoy treating themselves now and then.

The truth is, if you use one single product or service to appeal to all your target groups, you won’t really reach any of them. However, by clearly defining your target customer group, you can align your offer to each specific group in the best way possible.

It’s exactly the same when it comes to written text. Ideally, text should be written with a specific person in mind. Your customer will notice if you’re talking to them directly or just trying to get as many new customers as possible.

Expensive products require a serious tone

Each target group should be reflected in the style of the text. Describing your products in highly sophisticated terms is pointless if your online fashion shop only sells unconventional clothing for young, alternative people, for example.

The linguistic style is dependent on the price category and the target audience. In many cultures, buyers expect a more formal language for higher-priced products and they attach importance to seriousness. When it comes to more expensive products, customers tend to err on the side of caution. You are far more likely to gain their trust when your corporate communication is error-free. This, in turn, will make it easier to persuade them to purchase those offers in the higher-priced segments.

Low-cost products call for a different tone

The cheaper a product or service is, the more relaxed the language can be. However, just because your products are in the lower price segment it doesn’t mean you can throw the spell checker out or translate your text using Google Translate, as this process is still more miss than hit.

This connection between the formality of your written communication and your price segment doesn’t need to be applied to every language community. Nor does it have to be used in an equally pronounced way every time.

Some people want to talk to vendors on the same level as they would a friend, even if they’re buying an expensive car. On the other hand, others prefer formal, distanced language, even for cheap offers.

Background knowledge about your target group

Defining an exact target group is important for understanding how to address your customer. Even more than that, if you want to win over a specific target customer group, it’s essential that they fully understand what you’re saying and feel like they’re being personally addressed.

You can use completely different terminology in a technical text for your colleagues than you would for a text aimed at those new to the subject. You also need to consider whether the language your text is being translated into is actually your target audience’s mother tongue.

Let’s say you want to send a report to colleagues in several different countries at once. The common language is English. The only issue is, some of the employees don’t speak English as their native language. In this case, it may be useful to use simpler English in the translation in order to reach everyone on the same level.

More adaptation than translation

The keyword here is adaptation. Professional translators don’t just convert text into the corresponding words of another language. They adapt it to the target audience to a certain extent as well.

An exact, literal translation doesn’t usually work when it comes to marketing. What you really need is a piece of text that has a similar effect in the target language as it did in the original text. For this reason, it’s important to consider the background knowledge of your target audience. In the translation, it’s sometimes a good idea to explain terms that the new audience might not understand.

Let’s look at a written advertisement to explore this point a bit further. It’s for a travel offer to a Spanish holiday destination. The article includes an enticing, beautiful picture with images of their clients sunbathing and enjoying Spanish culinary delicacies like tapas, paella and turrón...

On the whole, these dishes are known in a lot of other countries too. So, most of the terms won’t need any further explanation in countries such as Italy, Portugal or England. But what about potential travellers from China or Korea? To use the photo to attract customers from these areas as well, it can be helpful to pick up your customers at their current level of knowledge and lead them in the right direction.

Think about it first!

Each text is different and, depending on the target audience and the product or service, it may require a different approach to get the best possible response from the recipient. It is therefore important to have an exact picture in mind of the type of person you want to reach before you do anything else. This information will also help your translator to write text that will inspire customers who speak other languages.

So the question is... Who is your new product aimed at?

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