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Social Media translation

Person on mobilePosting, blogging, sharing and liking on social media. We all do it. For fun. For work. At our desks. While out and about. But when it comes to social media translation to engage with your global audiences and reach new target markets, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid. Discover our pro tips below.

Be liked, go social!


Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter & Co. have become major communication channels for companies all around the globe. A smart, engaging and light-hearted way of reaching out to clients old and new, connecting with stakeholders and, quite simply, creating a buzz.

Share a video, write a post or comment one? No big deal. You do it daily. But what about your global presence? Not all your contacts speak that much English. And anyway, nothing breaks the ice like mother tongues.


A thought-out, tailored social media translation strategy can dramatically improve your rankings, boost your engagement rates and help you build your brand image. Thought-out, tailored – here’s the catch. Entering your posts in Google Translate won’t do the job.


There are quite a few criteria to take into account when it comes to social media translation. Here’s our checklist:


  • First, which social networks are the most relevant to your target markets? Research trendy hashtags and topics to find out. According to recent statistics, Facebook remains the world’s most popular platform in terms of active users. The world’s, that is, but not all countries’. China’s Weibo and Russia’s VK are two examples of popular regional outfits. And while Facebook may have the most users, Instagram boasts significantly higher interaction levels. Last but not least, if your activity is B2B, you might want to home in on LinkedIn.
  • Social media translations need to be breezy, idiomatic and catchy. Simple word-for-word translations are likely to miss the mark – or may even cause offence. And cultural sensitivities aren’t just a matter of words. An emoji that gets you likes in the US may raise eyebrows, if not hackles, in China. Local jargon can be tricky as well. Certain markets easily adopt English terms and hashtags, while others value their own terminology.
  • Add to that length restrictions. In Japanese, Korean and Chinese, for example, you can convey a lot of information in very little space. Other languages, alas, might prove more challenging in this respect. Based on our experience, a typical French, Spanish or Italian translation can be 15% to 30% longer than the English original – and German, Dutch or Russian may even reach 35%. Research media-specific character limits and try to keep your English texts somewhat below. Anyway, “short and sweet” usually works best.
  • Timing is another challenge posed by social media. With such a fast-moving communication channel, you can’t afford to sit around waiting as today’s hot item becomes yesterday’s news. As you approach potential translation partners, it may be worth clarifying expectations in this respect. Can they commit to prompt deliveries, same day if needed, for your time-sensitive content? Without compromising quality and without adding a hefty surcharge into the bargain?


CommunicationTo summarize, you’ll want dynamic, creative and marketing-savvy translators for your social media content. Fully conversant with your sector, they should be able to home in on the core of your message and re-express it in a culturally appropriate way – using just the right words, and no more than needed, to engage, create impact and sell. Add to that responsiveness and speed of turnaround.


At Sparkling Lengua, we have not one such translator, not two or three – but literally hundreds. For all the languages of this world you may need. Why not get in touch?