British shoemaker case study

Using multilingual copywriting to boost sales overseas

Capita Translation and interpreting (Capita TI) has been working with a well-known shoemaker since 2016, helping them to sell their shoes online to customers around the world, via website translation services. This organisation operates in over 75 countries, and as such, the need for localisation is a well-embedded part of their business.

The challenge

In order to reach more of their customer-base overseas, the shoemaker needed to translate their website into a selection of core European languages. They opted for French, German, Spanish and Dutch, knowing that these languages would help them to reach a proportionate audience across Europe. As the brand is continuously developing and offering new ranges of footwear, these shoes need to be promoted via the company’s website and e-Commerce store. The product descriptions are vitally important in helping the retailer to sell their shoes online, as without being able to physically see the shoes as you would do in a physical store, consumers need detailed descriptions in order to visualise and convince them to make the purchase. The shoemakers release a new range of shoes every 3 months, and as such, the product descriptions need updating and translating to enable them to attract overseas customers.

Product descriptions cannot simply be directly translated from one language into another. The words for “pumps”, “wellies” or “desert boots” may not directly transfer into another language and make much sense.

Some of this brand’s product ranges include boots such as “London Lights” and “London Rain”, which sell very well in the UK, as Brits are well aware that bad weather is to be expected in London in the winter. A direct translation of this into Spanish though may not work, and Spanish consumers may prefer to purchase a boot they can better relate to, such as “Barcelona Boots”.

The solution

Local copywriting, or transcreation, is the process of adapting material for a given target audience instead of merely translating it.

When a translator works on product descriptions, it’s vital that they consider their audience, and carefully choose wording that will resonate with and mean something to them.

In English, some of this retailer’s shoes are described as “cosy”, so the local translators working on these product descriptions must consider what colloquial terms in their native languages create the same impact as “warm” and “comfortable”, to ensure they transfer a similar meaning, in the same tone of voice as the English. As new ranges are continually being released, it’s important that Capita TI is able to deliver localised product descriptions in a timely manner, as overseas sales depend upon a localised customer experience. Due to a well-organised Project Manager and a pool of knowledgeable linguists, Capita TI is able to deliver localised product descriptions for this company in 4 different languages within the timeframe required from the retailer.

What the retailer said:

“Following a recommendation from a colleague, we approached Capita TI to help us with the localisation of our product descriptions. Their professionalism, translation quality and great account management ensures we return to Capita TI time and time again.”