Blog post

An open letter to luxury brands: are you really giving ALL your customers the diamond treatment?

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Your website is beautiful. The images and content have a wonderful synergy that elegantly conveys the essence of your brand. But only in English.

Since German is the main language that I deal with, let’s talk about that. Your website has a link that says “Deutsch”, but it might as well say: “Germans looking to buy a luxury item: click here for a slap in the face”. The German content is either non-existent, or nonsensical. How can it be that you have versions of the website for various languages, but none of the product descriptions have been translated? The content that has been translated, such as tab headings, appears to have been done by machine translation. This does not give the impression of competence and luxury that I believe you want to make.

Don’t you think that excellent localised content would be a great way to get customers to engage more with your website? You are a luxury brand, but you are reserving the luxury reading experience for your English-speaking customers.  People are now so used to having the information they want at their fingertips that if they do not find it where they expect to (on your website), they often leave and never come back. And believe me, they will find a brand that speaks their language. What a shame it won’t be yours!  Result: you lose the opportunity to tell a potential customer what your brand is all about.

Here’s the good news:

You can hire a translator to convey your brand message abroad. Not just any translator, though. You need someone who can give you a voice in another language. A voice that is still “you” even though the language is different. For that you need an expert. Machine translation simply will not do. You wouldn’t replace your charismatic, highly-trained, product-savvy in-store sales assistants with dreary dogsbodies, would you? No? Well, right now, that’s what you’re doing with your marketing content. Seriously, hire a translator. You won’t regret it.

About the author

Cassandra Scott is a translator for German to English and French to English, specialised in the fields of marketing and medicine.

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