Brand translations: piece of cake?
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Everyone enjoys getting a bit of a bargain. This Lidl advert certainly promises one or more:
But how does one translate it into another language, trying to preserve the intended pun of “little” and “Lidl” in English? If you are after a translation bargain, thinking the slogan translation will only cost you a few pennies, based on the wordcount, you are not going to get a bargain here. Foreign branding is serious lengthy work which requires new ideas, creativity and many discussions with the client.
Lidl has no presence in Russia just yet, but I have had a go at translating their motto into Russian, coming up with two versions:
* Lidl = высокое качество + умеренные цены (Lidl = high quality + reasonable pricing), using addition instead of the division mathematical formula in the image; and
* Высокое качество по доступной цене от Lidl (High quality at affordable prices from Lidl)
Let’s take another brand – John Deere construction equipment we see a lot of on country roads. Its eloquent slogan reads: “Nothing runs like a Deere”
Another pun intended and the Russian for “deer” sounds nothing like “Deere”. John Deere is represented in Russia and has a localised website, however, I could not find this slogan mentioned anywhere. Translating it would certainly be a challenge, perhaps something along these lines would sound true to the essence: “Дир мчится, как олень” (Deere runs like a deer). That way the deer comparison is intact.
Not all brands require translation as some are specific to the local market, for example. If we take the London Underground, it is not exactly going to travel to international destinations, although some of the instructions on how to use the Tube may need to be translated.
“Piece of cake”? Well, in Russian one of the corresponding equivalent phrases is “Семечки” (Seeds). Perhaps a way to deal with the pie-like logo in this poster is to introduce a cake with seeds, with a few of these seeds, such as almonds, replacing the crumbs in the image.
Whatever the cake type, brand translation is certainly far from being a piece of cake; more like a tough nut to crack!