Translating slogans

Translating slogans

How many famous slogans can you remember at the drop of a hat? One survey asked people to do this, and found that around half could recall a large number. Just Do It. It’s The Real Thing. Finger-Lickin’ Good. An effective slogan sticks in people’s minds and boosts name recognition.

Playing with words

If your slogan is to have the same impact in another language, there are several things the translator must bear in mind. It may be a tiny fragment of text, but it emphasises the USP of your business, it’s catchy and rhythmic, it can often be set to music, it arouses emotions, and it can be used time and again. It’s a tall order but, with a little time and effort and great copywriters, perfectly doable.

Rules are made to be broken

It’s important to be authentic when you translate slogans. Martijn Horvath, the speaker at one of our language evenings at Amsterdam’s Volkshotel, agrees. He came up with the legendary slogan used by the Dutch tax authority for many years: Leuker kunnen we het niet maken, wel makkelijker: We can’t make it nicer, but we can make it easier.

With the right approach, the translated slogan can pack just as much punch as the original. Take McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it”. A small German ad agency won an international award for its simple but effective translation: Ich liebe es. Nearly twenty years after we first heard the accompanying jingle, ‘ba da ba ba ba’, it’s still stuck in our heads (fortunately or unfortunately).

Translating slogans into multiple languages

How do you translate vielvielkoffein? It’s the German for ‘lots and lots of caffeine’, and it’s the slogan of offbeat German soft-drink brand fritz-kola. We helped them to produce French, Polish, Spanish, and Dutch versions that were just as catchy as the original. The fritz-kola team visited our office in Amsterdam to ensure we had a clear picture of their brand voice and local market. fritz-kola is all about rebellion, sustainability, and doing things your own way. As our project managers will tell you, our four transcreated versions were just as punchy and memorable as the original.

Got a clever slogan, and need a translation? We’d be happy to help. Ask for a quote below, or contact us here.

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