NEW YORK: Brands seeking to translate content into other languages might benefit from training their marketers to be more "global-friendly", a leading executive from Dell has argued.

Wayne Bourland, the technology company's director/global localization, discussed this topic on a webinar organised by Brand2Global.

His department works with 100 teams around the world, ensuring that Dell's marketing and ecommerce content is effectively translated into 28 different languages.

Some of the common challenges, he revealed, include capturing the essence of a US brand positioning in nations where it is not a good cultural fit, as well as dealing with copy which references American rules and regulations.

"We spend a little bit of time working with our upstream teams on how to be global-friendly," he said. (For more, including budget tips, read Warc's exclusive report: Making marketing work overseas: translation tips from Dell.)

"But, to be absolutely honest with you, I think we do a pretty bad job of doing that, primarily because we're supporting a hundred different teams that are creating marketing content all over the world [and] a lot of different ad agencies.

"We don't really have the ability to get into those teams as much as we would like, and in front of those teams as much as we would like, to influence the creative process … It needs to happen."

The problem, he suggested, partly results from the fact that members of in-house or agency teams often don't "have a good understanding" of other countries.

"Think about: you're a 25-year-old coming out of college, you've got your marketing degree and now you're writing this content for this large enterprise," said Bourland.

"You may not know really anything about the world outside the United States."

More broadly, he asserted that many brand custodians do not understand what is required to translate content so it matches the original engagement effect.

"You've got all of that time and dollars invested in creating that source English, and then you dump it all through the translation process," he said.

"And you think that two or three days later, you're going to get it back in 28 languages … and it's going to look just as brilliant as the stuff that came out of the ad agency. That's the wrong expectation."

Data sourced from Warc