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  • Writer's pictureLiz Yin

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Translate Your Global Press Release

In today’s digital world, brands can easily translate and distribute a press release in many different countries through digital channels to reach their global audiences. And the same when it comes to China — it's often tempting to translate your global release into Chinese without carefully articulating the messages and language.

However, simply translating your press release is unlikely to result in an effective PR piece for China. And there are some very good reasons why you shouldn't translate your press release.

Here are just a few of them.

5 Reasons To Create a Press Release in Chinese Instead of Translating a Global Piece

1. Cultural References Might Not Make Sense To Chinese Audiences

First and foremost, press releases are designed to communicate key messages to a specific audience. When you translate a press release into another language, especially a complex language like Chinese, you risk losing the original meaning and context of the message.

For example, idioms or proverbs that are common in English might not have an equivalent in Mandarin Chinese. Cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, and seemingly small details can be lost in translation. This can lead to confusion or even mistrust among your Chinese audience.

2. Translation Mistakes & Sensitive Content

Second, press releases often include industry-specific jargon or terminology that may not be easily translated into Chinese. This can lead to mistakes or misinterpretations that could potentially damage your brand reputation.

In addition, Chinese media outlets impose different content publishing rules, if the press release translation contains certain “sensitive terms” or exaggerated descriptions, your article might be prohibited from publishing.

3. Journalistic Preferences

Chinese journalists also have different preferences when it comes to press releases. They are more likely to respond to press releases that are locally relevant and to the point. They also prefer press releases that are sent directly to them through WeChat rather than email, which often get buried or go to the spam folder. Considering this, PR professionals who want to reach Chinese journalists should tailor their press release structure and distribution method accordingly.

4. There Are Different Writing Styles for Different Audiences

When writing a press release for a Chinese audience, it’s important to use a style that is appropriate for the occasion. For example, a more formal style would be used for finance industry audiences, while a more relaxed style could be used for consumers.

A translator who is not familiar with your industry tone & voice might not be aware of these differences and could inadvertently use an inappropriate writing style.

5. Translated Press Releases Often Lead to a Low Pick-up Rate

The content quality of the press release directly impacts your piece’s pick-up rate. A translated press release that’s not engaging or relevant will likely struggle to capture any journalist’s interest.

Before distributing your Chinese press release, first, evaluate whether the global press release is newsworthy for your Chinese audiences — journalists, customers and partners. Next, make sure the content is of high quality, which means it is engaging, relevant and well-written, following the local journalistic style.

A Localized Press Release Is Essential for Delivering Your Message Effectively in China

By simply translating a press release, brands risk their chances of establishing local relevance and achieving a positive impression in their new market.

Considering the reasons listed above, it's generally best to avoid translating press releases into other languages. A better strategy is to localize your press release — by tailoring your message and language to your Chinese audience while keeping the core information of the global release.

In addition, wire service providers like Business Wire and PR Newswire are common for press release distribution. But an experienced local PR agency in China can tailor your press release to meet different journalists’ appetites to secure better coverage and generate more buzz among your Chinese audiences.

This way, you can ensure that your key messages are accurately conveyed and that the content is engaging for the local audiences.

At Tribe China, we work closely with our clients to create localized press releases, advise on content and language appropriateness, and distribute it through relevant media networks that result in a higher news pick-up rate and ROIs. Contact us now to learn more about our PR services.


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