One of the main characteristics of the social media platform Twitter is that it has a character limit for each of the messages you want to publish, the famous 280 characters.
You have to express whatever it is you are thinking in that precise moment or convey it in an understandable way within that limit. By the way, increasing the character limit in Twitter posts from 140 to 280 characters was, according to many experts, one of the most important changes in PR and marketing in 2018.
Longer tweets give you an opportunity to get more content.
Because of the social media platform’s character restriction, translation is a real challenge in certain language combinations. For example, from Spanish to English it is usually not that complicated as it has a simple structure that usually takes up less space. On the other hand, a translation into German can be quite complicated as it has longer words.
How to translate with space limits
This is a question that pertains not only to social media, but also to subtitling. The best approach is to take a number of factors into account:
- The maximum number of characters in each message. This may seem obvious, but you must take this into account because otherwise the message might not be published.
- The linguistic characteristics of the target language. To continue with the last example, if you know that German usually takes up more space then you need to come up with different solutions to successfully convey the same message as in the original language. In this case we’re talking about adaptation.
- The essence of the message you wish to convey. If you want to translate a publication originally written in English into German, the best thing you can do is identify the main gist of the message. If you are clear on what you are trying to convey, you can create a translation that, while not saying it in the same way, does convey the same idea.
- The marketing structure of the target language. You need to see the social media platform Twitter as just another marketing tool among the many that exist. This complicates everything a bit because, while also successfully conserving the original message’s meaning in the translation without exceeding the medium’s character limit, you must also choose the right terms to sell the product being marketed.
- Who is the intended recipient. In addition to all of the aforesaid, you must always be aware of who the intended recipient of the message is. This way you can adapt the tone and the terms used in the translation to catch their attention.
The limited number of characters we can use on Twitter may seem like a limitation, however a short message format allows you to share information very quickly. This is what distinguishes Twitter. Twitter users respond quickly to emerging information, and therefore, you cannot allow yourself to be out of date or to publish content that is not adapted to your audience.
These are some tips for achieving the most accurate translation possible. The best thing you can do, however, is to leave it to the professionals and steer well clear of machine translations or word-for-word translation. At SeproTec we have extensive experience with marketing translations. We know that it is not enough for messages to be understood – they also have to connect, as while targeting a given market we must adapt the communication strategy to the culture and customs of the target audience. That is why our team is backed by professional translators with expertise in different marketing disciplines.
By the way: are you following us on Twitter?