How to Translate Your Logo for Marketing

Photo by Campaign Creators via Unsplash

The brand name and a logo are the first things that the customer sees when they enter your website, look at your ads, commercials, and product labels. No wonder most of the companies strive to make a logo catchy and attractive. However, translating your brand name for marketing may be a challenging task.

To meet those needs, one may choose the so-called “transcreation.” This term means not only translation but a re-creation of a brand’s name to introduce its original message to a new culture. A word that is perfectly normal in English may sound ridiculous, funny, or inappropriate in another language.

The brand may lose its original message and appeal after translation. In the meantime, if people cannot decode the brand logo, or find it offensive, they will never buy a brand.

This is why it is so important for brands to get their international business strategy right the first time, from the translation-related elements of that strategy to the more complex matter of transcreation. Let’s take a look at how these elements all fit together.

The Impact of Translation on Marketing

The impact of marketing on today’s society is enormous. We are surrounded by people, companies, and images who are trying to promote certain products and brands using many different methods, such as catchy logos, well-chosen words, and colorful photographs. In this context, translation plays a vital role, as most major brands are international and it is imperative that they promote their products to as many countries as possible.

Sure, marketing translation is difficult. We can say that this is the most difficult area of translation. Just as your advertising materials were carefully written and created by marketing and copywriting specialists, the successful translation of these materials into other languages requires the same degree of professionalism, creativity, and cultural sensitivity. Therefore, marketing translation metrics are difficult to establish. They depend on many factors that we will explain so that you can get a more general picture of this problem.

Suppose you are a customer who is looking for the perfect translation for marketing and advertising. You will need to choose carefully, making comparisons between different transfer rates. You will need to do a lot of research into the translation companies that you plan to use in order to make the best decision for your business. Marketing translation is not just an accurate translation of words, it requires additional efforts, creativity, culture, and marketing experts.

Here are some tips to help if you want to learn more about marketing services.


In the global economy, one of the most important marketing tools is localization, which is almost impossible without content translation. For example, if you sell in the Ukrainian market and want to expand your activities in Germany, you probably need to translate your content into German. In this case, the transfer rates will be higher because you need an additional service. Prices will vary depending on the complexity of the content. For those who are on a low budget, there are a few tips:

  • use clear language
  • avoid jargon, idioms, and metaphors
  • keep the structure clean and simple

However, these tips rarely apply to market campaigns that typically use a creative, catchy language. The truth is that advertising and localization are worth the investment because they are actually the future of your business. Marketing is one of the most important factors determining the success of a product, so attention to all the details is important.

Features to Consider Before Translating

Here are some areas which you should consider while translating your logo.

#1. Numbers

The numbers have different meanings around the world. For example, if your company’s logo includes the number four, consider making changes in your marketing campaign in Japan and China. In these countries, the word “four” sounds like “shi,” which stands for “death.” Because of this belief, the Japanese even do not include the number four in multi-story building numeration. Thus, the significance of numbers may be enormous.

#2. Names

Do not be afraid to change the name if it sounds inappropriate in the given country or circumstances. For example, certain colors may hold political or religious associations, or be a subject of superstitions. Before you approach a new market, be sure to consult Gengo, Transperfect, Translationreport, or TheWordPoint translation services to double-check your chosen name for the campaign. For instance, “Orange,” a European mobile company, changed its brand marketing logo because in Northern Ireland, the orange color and the company’s slogan associated with loyalist and Protestant causes.

#3. Sound

An example of a spelling change can be Glade, which altered its name for Brazil. In Portuguese, the people would read the company’s name as “glad.” So, change into “Gleid” was necessary to preserve the brand’s original sound. Also, mind that certain languages may not have the sounds which are natural to us. For example, the Japanese cannot tell apart “r” from “l,” as they both are a part of the same “letter.” Or, Slavic people find it hard to pronounce “th.” Be sure to adjust your brand name so it would sound natural in the target country.

#4. Color

We perceive colors naturally even before we read and recognize the logo. Red means energy and danger, blue is calm, and green is refreshing and eco-friendly. However, the colors mean different things in various parts of the world. Mainly, the color of the logo may decrease sales due to superstitions connected with it. For example, in China, the color green means disgrace, while in Iran, this color symbolizes joy and success. So, carefully research your target country’s color code before breaking into the market.

#5. Shapes

The same form may look different for many cultures. For instance, an American company RJMetrics faced difficulties when the buyers from the United Kingdom said its logo looked like underwear. The company had to redesign its logo, which proved to be a marketing success worldwide. The example of this company shows how important it is to check the cultural reception of your brand logo before entering the new market.

#6. Stay yourself

This advice may contradict all the said above. But still, if you change your brand drastically to follow someone’s expectations, you may fail to make your brand recognizable. The logo translation is always something of a compromise. An example may be Coca-Cola, which had to change its name for China, but preserved its logo colors and retained its “curvy” letters. This move made a brand the same recognizable and attractive for the customers.

Translation Logo Design
Photo by Marvin Meyer via Unsplash

Logo Design Tips

#1. Avoid over-simplification and abstractions

We often see updated icons and logos that are so abstract and simplified that they are no longer associated with the brand, product, or services that they should represent. Moreover, the previous options were quite relevant and recognizable in the eyes of the target audience.

#2. Even five-year-old should remember your logo

The simpler the logo, the better – no more than in two colors. It should be easy to remember and be effective both in an extremely small size (for example, for application icons), and in a very large one (for example, for billboards). Before you finish working on the logo, give it to 10 strangers for review for just a few seconds. Ideally, five-year-olds will be involved in this experiment. After that, ask them to close their eyes and draw a logo from memory. If the result will not even remotely resemble your logo, you need to simplify it.

#3. Use of Logo

Think about what the logo should tell about you and your business. Choose the appropriate colors, taking into account the characteristics of the target audience. Printing a multi-colored logo is more expensive, so if your marketing plan involves many exhibitions and mailing lists, consider using only one color. To demonstrate a brand name on the Internet, it is important to choose the right size for various formats. Experiment with the composition horizontally or vertically.

#4. Professionalism and less creativity

Get rid of anything that might not be clear to most people. Do not overdo it with creativity, so as not to cause confusion. Concentrate on the brand message and try to convey it as clearly as possible. A clean logo has no spots; it has the highest resolution and a harmonious combination of color and shape. A professional logo looks like it was created by a top designer, and not a person with little experience or budget. Do not skimp.

#5. Think about translations

Even though you do not plan to translate your logo and brand in all languages in the world at the very beginning, think about the future. Globalization makes many businesses spread all over the world or move their companies abroad. Translation means a lot as it helps brands to develop popularity and recognition abroad.

In short, there aren’t any set rules which guarantee your brand the marketing success. Rather, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of transforming your logo, color, image, and shapes. But mainly, cultural context matters. Researches of the country’s beliefs test-drive in the target language, and adherence with local tastes will benefit your localization strategy. Still, try to preserve your overall brand image so that people would recognize your product. Remember that translating logos requires marketing research and knowledge, so it’s better to use a professional translator’s help if you are unsure of your strategies. The many services will help you to have an accurate and high-quality translation.

About the Author!

Henry Mcdowell is a marketing and copywriting expert that knows two foreign languages. His highly popular blog posts have helped many people develop their business. Henry’s favorite types of activity are traveling and watching films in other languages.

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  1. Abhijit says

    Very nice to post and out of the box suggestions, I like the suggestion of getting remembered your logo by five year old.

  2. Kane William says


    What i think is logo is the face of any business and so on marketing logo plays a huge role, btw thanks for this in-detail guide on translate logo for marketing.

  3. Rian says

    Being a graphic design i can totally understand how this tips are important and why translate a logo for marketing is crucial part. Be it neat and clean, it should tell about your brand. That’s it. Btw nice guide. Loving your blogs.

  4. Jack will says

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post.

    Marketing is really important part of any business, well you shared this your experience.

    Thanks 🙂

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