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  • Emily

Copywriting for a global market

The world is getting smaller.

In March 2019, Quantas premiered the longest non-stop passenger flight in the world, from London Heathrow to Perth, Australia.

While 17 hours might be a bit of a trek for a meeting, our passports are getting aired more often than ever as increasing numbers of projects that we work on are designed for European or even global roll-out.

So how does this affect what we produce?

Say what?

The English language is wonderfully rich with opportunity in how it can be used but my goodness, it can be complicated! Grammatical, spelling or pronunciation rules are almost defined by their exceptions, making it very difficult for non-native speakers to understand sometimes. Add to that the various English turns of phrase (there is a prime example!) that we all understand and love, and a beautifully written, warm and engaging piece can turn to literal nonsense when translated.

All about the people

One of the best things about travelling is experiencing different cultures and the people that keep those cultures alive. The challenge that this presents when copywriting is that what a pet owner in Spain cares deeply about, may not have any consequence for a pet owner in Japan. This makes it hard to make a piece resonate, as this depends heavily on communicating the ‘so what’s’ – the actual end-user benefits - of whatever it is that we are talking about.

Writing for a global audience is a very distinct copy writing skill – what you are writing still needs to be engaging and informative but there are many more criteria to meet than when writing in a single language, for a single market.

Here are the things that we try to bear in mind:

  • Avoid the use of colloquialisms, puns or play on words that won’t necessarily translate

  • Keep sentence structures simple. This can make the copy seem quite ‘choppy’ and robotic if not handled carefully

  • Keep titles and subtitles explanatory. This is not the time for clever use of words

  • Find a really good translator who you trust to understand nuance in English, so they are capable of translating the intended sentiment, even if the words don’t translate directly. Our experience is that translators who are native speakers of the 'translated-to' language but who have been immersed in English culture are best at this.


Need to talk to the world? We can help make sure your content speaks to the reader, wherever they are:

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