The Value of Effective Translations in Product Packaging

Sep 13, 2022 | Marketing, Branding

Translating your product packaging

We all know how important product packaging is to your marketing efforts. Get it right, and you create a great first impression and a memorable experience when people interact with your products. Additionally, well-thought and creative packaging allows your products to stand out from the rest, as well as highlighting your brand message to the people.

However, when you move to international markets, simply an interesting design of your product packaging won’t cut it. Adapting your product packaging to each specific market is paramount if your products are to resonate well with the people. Naturally, this includes effectively translating your product packaging. So, just how valuable is effective product packaging translation? Let’s have a look.

Maintain consistency within your brand message

You should now understand that translating your product packaging to adjust the wording is crucial if you are to speak the language of the people in your target markets. However, you don’t want your brand recognition and tone of voice to get lost in translation. Maintaining some degree of consistency in your brand message, regardless of the market you are in, is crucial for the success of your business.

But, in many languages, a single word can have several translations. You need linguist experts and native speakers with a deep knowledge of your industry to get the translation right while improving the overall feel of your product packaging and brand’s voice.

Leave no room for mistakes

The wording on your product packaging is an essential part of advertising. At the very least, it should be able to help your customers decide whether to purchase your product. However, the wording can fail terribly at this if it appears like a direct translation from another language, probably done by generic translation software. Customers are likely to view it as an afterthought and might even perceive a bad impression of the product inside.

Besides this, direct translations can result in embarrassing mistakes that can cost your business its reputation and hinder your efforts in penetrating the market. Think of KFC’s slogan “finger-licking good” which directly translates to eat your fingers off. The company failed at impressing the Chinese market. Getting sensitive information such as safety instructions or ingredients wrong can also cause some serious problems with the law. Effective translation eliminates chances for such mistakes to ensure accurate wordings and non-nuanced translation.

Get the cultural aspect right

Language varies in different cultures – a neutral word in one culture can be offensive in another. If you are to succeed in different markets, understanding the culture and the best words to use on your packaging is imperative. Moreover, it is important to think beyond the words about what different cultures think about the different aspects of your product packaging. This includes the images, symbols, colors, date formats, and instruction formats among other visual illustrations. This is where effective localization comes in.

Ultimately, you want all these aspects to be culturally sensitive while maintaining a look that is unique to your brand. This is important in keeping up with packaging trends in your industry. For instance, when you’re opening a company in Singapore or establishing your business in the USA, you’ll need to comply with the right regulations and language used in that specific country. Working with native speakers and industry experts can help ensure that your product packaging has culturally sensitive features with custom elements to set you apart from the rest.

Meet compliance requirements

Different jurisdictions have different requirements regarding what should appear on different product packages, and how. For instance, the European Union has set specifications about the font size that should be used on packaging as well as the information for different products. Nutritional information on food products, ingredients and warning labels in cosmetics and information about how to use medical devices in the national language is a requirement in the EU.

In addition, there are different language legislation requirements in different countries. Most countries require multiple languages, such as English and a native language specific to a region. Canada, for instance, requires the use of English and French. Mexico requires Mexican Spanish to be used. Working with professional translators can let you in on such insights to ensure that you meet compliance needs in different markets.


Translating product packaging is essential if you are to expand your operations across the globe successfully. However, you need to ensure effective translation while at it. This is important in ensuring that you meet your target audiences’ language needs without making costly mistakes and remaining sensitive to different cultures. In addition, effective translation helps meet compliance needs while maintaining your brand voice and recognition.