How do language service providers enable sport marketers and governing bodies to create accurate multilingual content?

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games isn’t that far away. And anyone interested in translation technology will be keen to see how new AI-driven translation tools will fare.

Another test for AI in the translation industry

Japan’s Institute of Information and Communications Technology is creating small translation devices for tourists, which will translate text in 31 languages, and speak and listen in 16.

Will they be accurate? We’ll have to wait and see. The presumption is that these tools will assist visitors to their transport points, stadiums and venues and popular tourist sites.

Anything else may be difficult to manage because the sports industry, like the legal and medical and technical sectors, has plenty of its own unique phrasing and terminologies.

International sports branding done right

The Nike swoosh or the Adidas trefoil need no translation as they’re instantly recognisable around the world. So when it comes to global sports marketing, big name brand campaigns live or die by the word.

Nike’s Chinese brand name ‘Nai Ke’ works well because it sounds the same in English and Chinese. And its literal translation is ‘Enduring and Preserving’ – which also works as a decent company culture and value.

Even the best can get it wrong sometimes

But marketing special edition lines is very different. When Nike released a pair of special edition trainers with ‘Fa’ on the left shoe (‘getting rich’) and ‘Fu’ (‘fortune arrives) on the right, all seemed well. Unfortunately, when you put them together ‘Fa’ and ‘Fu’ translates as ‘getting fat’.

In the mid-1990s Reebok created the Reebok Incubus – a running shoe designed specifically for women. An Incubus is a mythological demon from ancient folklore who ravishes women in their sleep.

Brands can never research their local markets thoroughly enough. All these types of errors could have been avoided.

Use professional translation services to avoid errors

One way around this problem is to use reserved words and glossaries.

A glossary is a company list of standard terms in a source language – words and phrases that must be treated by the translator and translation agency in a certain way.

A customer will be safe in the knowledge that ‘Just Do It’, for example, will never be mistranslated or translated differently. Applying glossary rules takes care of complicated industry-specific terminology and works across all documents and format types.

Technology to assist human translators

A glossary can be unlimited and is instantly made available to the translators. An LSP may be able to provide a customer glossary by analysing files and using custom-built tools to extract a list of your most commonly-used words.

Whatever the industry specialism, we can build you the right translation team to help achieve your global ambitions.

Use translations as a simple and cost-effective way to reach more customers and sell more of your products and services.

You can get a quote right now.

By Ben Whittacker-Cook