Translate white paper: the secrets of success

Translate white paper

Translating a white paper is a must for any good marketer in the international development of its strategy of inbound marketing .

The publication of a white paper and its promotion on LinkedIn, Facebook, Xing or Twitter will allow, via its download, to generate many leads. It is therefore crucial to translate your white paper, to reach the widest possible audience.


What then are the reactions, downloads, conversations on sites, blogs and social networks that will allow your business to identify potential customers and thus get in touch with qualified prospects. Indeed, readers of your white papers are partners of choice, since they went looking for information that interests them: they potentially represent the first users of your solution.


What is remarkable is that among these users, we often deal with influencers or decision makers. And they are of course the priority to be to convinced, since they will have more say in choosing the solution used by their company.

It is obviously necessary to pay special attention to writing your white paper. However, the translation phase in different languages is just as important.


Your company probably spent a lot of time and therefore a large budget to draft a document. It is therefore natural to capitalize on this work and to be able to broadcast it in the different markets where you want to grow. However, you will be directed to the public from different cultures and it is essential that your information be best received by each. It is therefore necessary that your communication is relevant and understandable to all.


Does this mean reworking your white paper thoroughly so that it is tailored to each target market? Ideally, yes, entrusting the translation to native expert Chinese translators who will capture all the subtleties of the language and try to find expressions equivalent to those used in the source text. But it is also possible to facilitate the translation work of this paper by following a few principles.


This presents several advantages: the translation will be easier and faster and it will be cheaper for you. Moreover, you will be sure that the translator fully perceive your message and he/she will be able to translate it to your audience. It will enable you to reach your goal.

Some tips to follow when writing your white paper 


 1. Be specific in the terminology used.


Indeed, the adjectives such as short, long, fast, slow, large, small, expensive have different meanings in each country and they can be open to interpretation. A long-term project can mean a project of 6 months or 30 years according to the mentioned subject and the profession. To summarize, be specific and stick to the facts: a solution is implemented in 6 months, for example, the connection speed reaches 20 GB, etc.


2. Do not use references too culturally marked.


These references may concern all the allusions to things or concepts unknown in other countries such as people, sports, places, activities, meals, holidays, national holidays …

Ask yourself about the relevance of this type of reference to a foreign audience before use.


 3. Eliminate all idioms.


Remove most of your idioms. Words such as “believe hard as iron”, “out of joint”, “clean slate” or “be left behind” will not mean much to a player from a different culture than yours. If you include them in your white paper and your linguist simply translate them literally, they will have no meaning.

On the other hand, if the translator tries to find an equivalent expression, you incur the risk of getting away from your original purpose. Or even worse offending your audience or cause incomprehension because of an inappropriate translation.


4. Use shorter sentences and simpler thinking, you do not want to please only those who speak your own language.


In any case, short sentences are easier to understand for everyone. They increase the readability of your text. Consider that translators tend to use the same sentence structure as that of the source text. Something easily understood in a language can sometimes become more complicated once translated into another. Instead of investing in a costly proofreading or a transcreation, simplify the task for the translator and strengthen the effectiveness of your message.


 5. Do not worry about the loss of style engendered by its simplification.


If “clean slate” is more colorful than “start from scratch”, and “stay on the floor” is more powerful than “fall behind”, they are nevertheless the very words of the French language and its literal translation in a foreign  language could cause problems.


Some tips for choosing and working with a translation agency


 1. Ask for tests. 


Ask the Chinese translation company to perform free translation of an extract of your white paper, a page is sufficient. Then ask ideally native employees to read the document and whose comment you can pass to your agency to give them further guidance. 


2. Give references. 


If you have already translated documents such as white papers, websites, brochures, give them to your agency in order not only to ensure consistency between the different documents translated, but also serve as a basis to indicate the points of improvement favored. 


3. Make a glossary. 


It takes a little time but the benefit later is considerable. Indeed, you can specify for example what terms you would possibly retain in English, or simply list the terms specific to your organization. 


4. Provide editable images. 


Keep the source files to provide your translation agency the images in your document into editable format and allow them to easily change during translation.