Translating Your Script Into Another Language

When it comes to getting your message across in different languages, where do you start? If you don’t have a team of translators in-house, you’re going to need to go outside of your organization to find people who can do justice to your message.

Something to remember is that even though you might be able to speak a language, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the skill set required to translate from one language to another in words that the others will understand. Unless you are living and breathing the culture all the time, there may be slight nuances, colloquialisms or changes that you are not aware of in your target market’s local lexicon.

Also, not all concepts translate well (or at all) from one language to another. A good of example of this is the concept of a cornerstone. In cultures where materials used for housing are limited to mud, sticks or some other means of construction, it is logical to reason that if stone or brick is not being used for building purposes, this culture would have no reference point for building structures out of stone. To take this a step further, the idea of a cornerstone wouldn’t even exist in their minds. When trying to express a foreign concept to a culture, you need to find a similar word or concept that they already use. For example, the idea of a cornerstone might make more sense to your audience if it were described as a pillar; something functional that supports the overall structure as a cornerstone would, but is localized to their culture.

Localizing Your Script

You may also encounter geographic limits, meaning that the recording will only be used in a specific location. In that case, you’re going to want to make sure that whoever is writing and translating your copy is familiar with the language, culture and expectations of the intended audience.

Many people think that translating the script is enough but the truth is, localizing the script matters just as much as getting it in the right language or dialect of a language.

Sometimes people who speak the same language use different words for the same object, food or furnishing. Consider the difference between couch, sofa and chesterfield. These all refer to the same piece of furniture but may be called different names in different regions of a country. For some of us, the difference between soda and pop presents the perfect example.

While it may go without saying that localizing your script is important for accuracy, localizing the content will also avoid unintentional mishaps including inappropriate or even offensive words or words being used. As mentioned before when discussing translation, certain concepts or words do not exist from language to language. Localizing a script can help you to find common ground and better explain a concept.

If you need some help with this, know that localization is another aspect of project management that we can help you with at Just ask your account manager!