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Designing Bilingual Marketing Materials

Creating polished and effective foreign-language versions of ads, brochures and other marketing materials involves more than just skilled and culturally-sensitive translation of the copy.

After translation, all the copy should be checked by an experienced editor/copywriter without reference to the original, and anything that appears odd should be edited or rewritten so that it sits well with the rest of the text.

Having dealt with the copy, there are important issues with typography, page layout and graphic design. Written Japanese is typically compact compared to English, so there may be space issues when creating an English-language version of a Japanese original. Then there are typographic issues: Japanese can be written both horizontally and vertically, and from left to right and right to left, for example.

Being aware of the issues and taking the right decisions at each stage in the process is essential to avoid mistakes that could switch off customers and dent the image of your company.