As a leading Translation Services in Bangkok, Thailand, we realize that both Thai and English people, like any two nationalities, are separated by more than just language.
There is an entire unique cultural background and history that each group of people inherits, which can come out of artistic traditions, religious sensibilities, political experiences and more. These sorts of intangible factors can color people’s perspectives and expectations in subtle ways, and can change how they experience a piece of art, a newspaper editorial, a work of literature or even an advertisement.
With so much time and research put into the creation and marketing of new products, it is a shame to see that often this entire effort can be made worthless by cutting corners at the last step of the process: The act of translating the product to foreign audiences. This is an issue that our Bangkok English to Thai translators face on a regular basis as companies try to ensure that they don’t make any cultural mistakes.
Examples of poor translation are legendary in the marketing industry, though the lessons to be learned aren’t just for marketers, but for anybody doing business or communicating potentially sensitive information in Thailand or overseas. A few of the more famous incidents include:
* The Scandinavian vacuum-cleaner company Electrolux marketed its products in the West with the slogan, “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux,” causing the wrong kind of audience reaction. More on this story here.
The Nike example is especially interesting. Its film crew didn’t understand what the Kenyan man wanted, and also didn’t understand what he thought about their product. The translation of words is always going to be the most visible challenge for anyone looking to communicate with people in other societies, but this linguistic challenge should be informed by a solid cultural understanding as much as possible. To that end, a competent translator is essential and we help Bangkok companies with Thai and English translations.
About the Author
Steve Callerame is an experienced copywriter and reputation manager in Bangkok. He’s been an user user of social media since day one and has over 20 years experience telling stories on social media for clients.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia.