Food label translation is a complex area of work. It is important to be confident in the quality of your food label translations. Legal label compliance, and accurate product description are both clearly important. Careful  adherence to food safety and local food labelling laws is also important. Getting this wrong can have significant consequences, such as not needing to relabel or over-sticker. Both of these is expensive, and/or you may have to withdraw product from sale. Don’t view translation as a bolt on extra when you export. Rather, it is an essential part of your product development if you want to sell overseas.

Some aspects of food label translation

There are limits to what we can achieve in translation. If your product description or title is dull in English, the translations won’t be any better.

If you mis-describe the product in the original language, the translations will replicate the error. Whilst translators “sense check” work as they go, we can’t guess at the correct source text. You therefore have an important pre-translation task. This is ensuring that you are completely happy with the source text before we start work. The food label translation page of our website gives more detail about some of the issues raised when translating food labels.

Food labelling projects

This year better languages has translated more food labels than ever before, including our largest ever single language project. Translators and proofreaders are always native of the target language, professional translators, and are experienced food label translators. We undertake careful QA checks of food translations, including checking against approved EU terminology as appropriate.

Food label artwork

Even with great translation, things can go horribly wrong at the artwork stage. If your artworkers are familiar with multilingual artwork, this helps significantly, but the foreign language text should always be checked and confirmed by the translation team. It is very easy to introduce cut and paste errors at the artwork stage. Different languages also have different layout rules, which a none native artworker may not realise. For example French has a space before a colon. German habitually capitalises many common nouns which would be lower case in English.