Humor in Translation

We all know that humor can be a very successful tool in marketing.  It is a great way to make your message stand out from all the others.  But using humor when you are translating your message in to other languages can be very tricky. The rules that apply to using humor when translating are magnified.

Here are some helpful hints:

  1. Make sure the humor is not controversial. This is especially important when translating material into other languages. Something that is funny in the U.S. may not be funny to another culture. Make sure you use an experienced translator from the native country so that all jokes and references are translated appropriately.
  2. Make sure you know your audience. As with any joke, it is only funny if the audience thinks it is funny. Make sure you are clear about your marketing goals and make sure the humor is in line with the message.
  3. Keep humor in its proper place. Humor doesn’t work in all situations and across all channels. Make sure the joke is well placed and relevant for the specific media outlet. Humor plays differently in print ads, television commercials, radio spots, etc.

Categories: Culture & Diversity, Language Translation & Interpretation, Language Translation, Marketing Translation


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