Have you imported products or do you want to export your own products abroad? The first thing potential customers see when they walk past your product, scroll in your webshop or come into contact with it in another way is the product label. If they are not yet familiar with your brand or product, it will be the very first thing on which to base their opinion regarding your product. What better reason to ensure that your label is in excellent order.

Labels are crucial to every brand. In addition to being your first and perhaps most important means of communication with your customers, it’s also important that your company complies with local legislation. How do you ensure that your labels have at least the same appeal when you have them translated? And how do you ensure that everything complies with the regulations — whether you have your label translated into French, German or any other language? We’ve got the best tips for you! Very useful, as a smooth launch with a good label will save you time and money. You don’t want your label translated too quickly or carelessly.

Start with a good time schedule

Well begun is half done and that also applies here. Translation agencies that are keen on quality base the work on a maximum number of words per day. Translators have the same issues as other people; after a certain number of words, their concentration and precision drop. How many words exactly depends on, among other things, the difficulty level of your text. But, regardless of the translation, good work takes time. So start your preparations timely and be sure to involve everyone you need to supply the label to be translated. Does your label also require the services of a DTP specialist or are there other things worth noting? If so, make sure to leave some extra time for that.

Immerse yourself in legislation

No matter the label you want to have translated; you have to observe the laws and regulations of the country where you want to launch your product.  

Discover the product requirements and laws that apply.

You should know the laws and requirements surrounding your English labels like the back of your hand. But in another country things could be entirely different. And you probably know better than anyone else that you’re liable for damage caused by (a defect in or of) your product. It’s not without reason that, within the EU for instance, general product requirements apply in respect of the safety of product usability. For example, according to the law your product must meet stringent requirements — on physical properties, packaging, labeling and registration of certain product groups. Despite the free trade in goods within the EU, the requirements sometimes differ per product and per country. For example, some items require warning labels and the symbol can be very different from what you’re used to. Various countries have different standardised symbols.

In short; always check which laws and regulations apply when you have a label translated. And yes, do that for all languages. Translating your label into French, Dutch or German is really not the same. Tip; get help if you cannot see the wood from the legislative trees. You don’t want to run the risk of unsaleable products, recalls, safety and allergy warnings and heavy fines from authorities.

Find out which languages you need.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? You translate your product packaging into the language of the country (or countries) where you want to sell it. But beware, because in some circumstances it would be smart — or even mandatory — to translate the label into certain minority languages as well. So find out which languages are necessary and even compulsory for your label.

Read more about claims.

Do you want to make a solid claim with regard to your product? As in, you’ll never develop wrinkles or ever catch a cold again? What’s allowed in one country is not allowed in another. The rules differ per country. They have one thing in common; they prohibit false or misleading statements. Do you want to translate a nutrition label? Then check the Register of Nutrition and Health Claims.

Beauty claims on labels or stickers have fewer restrictions. But, as said, deception is never allowed. So make sure your claims are based on proven results. In that way you’ll always stay out of trouble with regards to consumer rights. The following also applies; are you unable to resolve the matter or are you in doubt? Then get help. It’s complex and you don’t want to make mistakes here. Where one market is more tolerant, the other can be quite strict when it comes to your product claims. And where one country mainly focuses on the text, the other could make a big issue of a particular image on your translated label.

Identify cultural differences to ensure the right appeal

Have all the boxes with local laws and regulations regarding labels been ticked? Great! You’re well on your way. But you’re not there yet. Everything being correct doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make the hearts of your foreign customers beat faster. Your product and therefore your label need appeal. Otherwise, your potential customer will blatantly ignore it and your turnover will decline. The tricky thing about this is that what works in the United Kingdom doesn’t necessarily work abroad. In fact, you can be completely off target which isn’t really the impact you want to make. If you have your labels translated into Dutch, it may look very different in Spanish. The same goes for translating your label into French and German. You want to sell, not insult. So have your text and label checked and localised and you’ll have a picture perfect product on foreign shelves.

Find out whether your label should be reviewed by DTP specialists

Does the translation of your label require some additional editing or formatting? Cater for that in your planning as it will take time. Not sure whether your label should be reviewed by DTP experts? Good translation agencies have an in-house DTP team that will assess your label without obligation. DTP is always a matter of customisation and although you sometimes expect adjustments to be necessary, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Or vice versa. Do you have your own in-house desktop publishing specialists? Then you can obviously take care of all the DTP adjustments internally and only outsource the textual translation. 

Reading tip → Your translation reviewed by DTP specialists; why, when and more

Provide a good briefing

Are there things you love or not at all? Do you have a clear brand voice that you also want to use in the foreign market? Do you have an official terms list? Who is your target audience? Provide your translator with as much information as possible. The more specific you are, the better your label will suit you and your audience.

Find the right translation agency

It is, of course, entirely up to you to determine what translation agency would be best for you. Do you value personal contact, do you think good reviews are important or do you select on the basis of rates? Whatever your requirements are, you can recognise a renowned translation agency by the following.

Uses native translators.
Only translators who have the language of your choice as their mother tongue have mastered the language so well that they can add the right nuances to it. This is why a good translation agency collaborates exclusively with natives; professionals who translate from your language into their native language. Language and culture are always evolving and natives are aware of the latest changes.

Have your label translated by specialists.
A translator who focuses on legal documents can be very good — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is equally suitable for the translation of your label. It’s a totally different area that requires a specialist. It’s comparable to a marketing translator not working on financial reports. Your translated label is only really good if handled by a specialist translator. Someone with experience in your industry or sector and with translating labels. Someone who knows exactly what it’s about and doesn’t hesitate for a second about sector-specific terms.

Check for quality.

People make mistakes and translating is the work of people. A typo is easily made — also in a label. That’s not really a problem because a good translation agency has an extensive quality control system in place. Do check this in advance, because not every translation agency has one. At Euro-Com, your translated label is seen by no fewer than three pairs of eyes; the translator, a second translator (reviewer) and your project manager. Because two pairs of eyes see more than one pair and three pairs see everything.

Use translation software.

Although translating is the work of people, translation software can be very helpful. We’re not referring to Google Translate here, but proper software that helps ensure the quality of your translated labels. The translation software enables the translation agency to create a translation memory at your request. This translation memory (TM) will be restricted to you and it will remember previously translated words and sentences. Your advantages:
✓ Consistency
✓ Reliability
✓ Accuracy
✓ More competitive rates

Offer you a fixed point of contact.

If you find it important to have a fixed point of contact, ask your translation agency whether they will assign you your “own” project manager. Definitely useful if you value someone who is always aware of your requirements and preferences, who pays close attention to your deadline and ensures that any problems are solved before they even arise.

Obtaining a quote for the translation of labels free of charge and without obligation?

Do you want to know the costs of your translation job? Request a quote for the translation of your label free of charge and without obligation. We will ensure that it is on your digital doormat within two hours. Would you rather receive more information first or find out if we can help you determine what all is needed? We are happy to answer any questions you may have!