5 bilingual copy mistakes and how to avoid them

It’s hard enough to write good copy in one language. Writing copy that works in two languages is at least twice as hard.

Here are some mistakes you should avoid if you’re creating bilingual copy for the first time.

Mistake #1: Doing a simple translation.

Let’s say you have a direct mail package that works for an English-speaking audience. Now you want to break into the Hispanic market with a bilingual package. So you figure all you have to do is hire a translator. Right? Not quite.

The “words” may translate, more or less, but the meaning may not. Try this experiment: take a simple phrase and use an online translator to go from English to German then back to English.

English: He’s mellowing out and getting his grove on.

Translates to German: Er ist aus Gärung und immer sein Hain auf.

Translates back to English: He is on from fermentation and always be Hain.

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Information Overload: 5 causes and 12 cures

information overloadI like to snack on cereal. And I buy a different brand every week.

However this personal indulgence comes at a price. When I enter the cereal isle, I’m faced with a wall of boxes vying for my attention, starbursts popping off every box, coupon dispensers flashing red, sales signs waving above my head, red and yellow price tags lining every shelf, a sea of promotional decals spattering the floor.

It’s information overload at its most intense.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain information overload. You experience it every day when you open three pounds of mail, flip through 1,000 TV channels, or dive into that teetering pile rising from your “in box.”

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Long copy vs. short copy. Who is right?

long copy advertisement

Click to see a larger version of this ad.

The long copy vs. short copy debate has been raging for decades.

And it rages on today.

On one side are the traditional direct marketing people who look at history and at testing to support their notion that long copy is proven to engage readers and sell products.

On the other side are, well, everyone else, who claim that long copy is outdated and that people today are overloaded with information and don’t have the patience to read lots of words.

Who is right?

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Advertising lessons from FAIL Blog

If you want to learn the basics of advertising, you can read books or attend seminars. But really, there are lessons all around you.

Keep your eyes open. Every day you can discover another advertising principle. What works. What doesn’t. How to improve your ads. What to avoid.

One of my favorite sources of selling inspiration is FAIL Blog, a visual library of human nature and communication gone wrong.

Just look at the advertising lessons from the past few weeks …

Niche advertising works.

advertising fail
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