Best Practices

Best Practices for Translating Social Media Content from English to Spanish

It is fairly evident. Most contents in social media today, both personal and professional, are created and transmitted in English.
Romina C. Cinquemani
6 min
Table of Contents

It is fairly evident. Most contents in social media today, both personal and professional, are created and transmitted in English. Nevertheless, there are countless companies and entrepreneurs all over the world who need to promote their services, products, or viewpoints in Spanish as well. Accessing contents in one’s native tongue enhances engagement each and every time. Everything seems closer to home, more personal, and more interesting. Although many people master English as a second language in all continents, there are still a lot of people that do not speak or read in English. And they do not plan to do so in the near future. They are still valid potential clients and endorsers. They deserve to take part in this capitalist world, like everyone else. Hence the need for translation in social media from English into Spanish.  

Actually “Getting” the Target Audience

Tone, humor, slang, and cultural (as well as counter-cultural) references play quite a significant role in social media today. Literal or “pedestrian” translations could never make it onto the other side of the river. That is to say, a direct translation may not capture or express what the client needs to transmit. It could even be taken the wrong way and consequently generate altercations. Although used for business or personal purposes, many times social media include informal tone, slang or idiomatic expressions in English. All of these might not be interpreted in the same way in Spanish. These contents need to be localized, adjusted, and adapted, so that the target audience receives the message correctly. In order to engage the Spanish-speaking audience effectively, translators must consider regional variations, cultural context, tone, and the demographics of such an audience.

Brand Voice and Tone - Faithful to the Original

This is where translation meets copywriting. Each brand and each person (media content creator) have a unique way of communicating. It could be casual, formal, authoritative, humorous, laid back or business committed. A huge part of brand consistency and consequent audience involvement lies in preserving this voice. For instance, a brand known for its playful and light-hearted tone in English should transmit the exact same effect and personality in Spanish. That is why translators need to work in close collaboration with the brand’s marketing team, including designers, writers, and copywriters. Translators should fully grasp the desired tone, so that they make informed decisions on how to convey it accurately in Spanish.

Adjustment of Visual and Interactive Elements

Social media contents generally include many visual and interactive elements such as videos, images, infographics, and polls. These are as relevant as written content. Sometimes even more in an era of endless information consumption such as the one we live in today. Visual aids often contain text that needs translation or cultural adaptation. For instance, an infographic in English may need to be redesigned or adapted to accommodate Spanish text, which is generally 20% longer than English. Videos might require subtitles or voice overs in Spanish to ensure they are accessible and relatable to the target audience. Even more importantly, interactive elements like polls, quizzes or surveys should be translated in such a way that they remain engaging and easy to understand for Spanish speaking consumers.

This holistic approach makes sure that all aspects of social media content are effectively translated and culturally relevant. This is how translators are able to enhance the overall user experience. And the process involves a comprehensive strategy that goes way beyond literal translation. The translator’s tasks include understanding the target audience, being empathetic to their needs, maintaining the brand’s original voice and tone, and adapting visual and interactive elements for an engaging final outcome in Spanish.‍

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Romina C. Cinquemani
Spanish translator, writer, language lover, and constant life apprentice.
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