Call to action: Careful when translating your CTAs!

Attention lorsque vous traduisez votre CTA !
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The Call to action is one of the most important elements in business communication. It is a detail which, on many occasions, is the push that a consumer needs in order to purchase a product, subscribe to a channel, or carry out any other action. It usually involves short, direct phrases and often consists in compound expressions that have a single meaning. “Stop by for a visit!” or “Go for it, you can count on us!” might be some examples of sales pitches made. Now, translating these into other languages brings about an obvious challenge.

The difficulty of translating CTAs

We have seen that CTAs involve a few words with a complex meaning, that generally encourage some sort of action. The main problem is that they tend to use sayings or language that is not always as correct as you would find in a general text. A slightly more assertive and incisive tone is sought, more common expressions are used, which are often typical of a language, etc.

For example, the expression “let’s keep in touch” makes sense because of how we understand the use of the word “touch” in English. But this phrase used somewhere else might mean something completely different.

This is how automatic translations or those carried out by non-specialists can include mistakes or cause confusion. This creates a problematic text that the reader quickly identifies as being incorrect or poorly written. And from there, trust in the brand and company would decline. Therefore, the ideal situation would be to rely on a team of experts, where often the important thing is not translation, but instead, localization.

What is localization?

Localization is a process through which an idea is conveyed in an identical way from one culture to another. There are always differences between places. An obvious example is when we think about the Arab world and the consumption of pork. This meat is quite popular in our cuisine and culture but this is not the case for the Arab population for example. How absurd would it be for someone to say to an Arabic audience: “Come to our restaurant, you can really pig out!”

Details like this can make a text go unnoticed, or on the contrary, make it lose all of its persuasion power. Localization consists of conveying the values and ideas of a text to a different culture, and doing it in a way that uses the language in a respectful way, avoiding conflict on both sides.

The case of pork and the Arab world is just one of many examples we can use. Think about the importance of a Spanish omelet in Spain, for example. It is likely that people from Finland wouldn’t feel culturally represented by this. In the same way that “Uncle Sam” is something culturally related to the US, and “Nessie” is associated with the UK, other countries will have their own references, and it is important to find them.

The importance of sayings and expressions

CTAs are fundamental parts of a sales strategy for various reasons:

  • They tell the user what is expected of them. This could be to subscribe, buy a product, or carry out an action that interests us.
  • They reinforce an idea that benefits us. In the end, nobody is going to buy something just because a text tells them to. So, if the pitch has been persuasive and there is a real need from the user, it is likely that by insisting one last time, it gives them that final push that they need.
  • They break the monotony of the text. In more speech-like copies, adding an imperative usually reawakens the reader’s attention. Therefore, it favors a certain dynamism.

CTAs normally use idioms or expressions. You won’t find obvious things like “you should buy this now”. They’re usually appeals like: “Don’t miss this opportunity”. In other words, many idioms are used to give a little extra to the text. These kind of phrases, when translated, can lose meaning in other languages. For these kind of subtleties, ideally you want to rely on a team of experts who can correctly reflect ideas from the text to any language. This is so that the text can remain equally persuasive anywhere in the world.

In short, the call to action is one of the many parts of a text that requires localization, and therefore, expert skills behind it. It is a part of the text that is extremely persuasive, so it’s very practical to invest adequately in them. At blarlo we provide all the help you need with your translations.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French) Nederlands (Dutch) Deutsch (German)