Better Languages specialises in food label translation. We can translate your food packaging into any major language. Our translation is human authored, and technically accurate. We translate for leading international food brands and food retailers including Costa, Kettle Foods, Iceland Foods, and Thorntons.

Translating a food label can be quite different to other forms of translation, in that there may be both marketing aspects and required wording for legal compliance. Because we specialise in food label translation, we take all this into account to deliver high quality, accurate translations.

A few Better Languages food label translation facts:

  • Most translated language this year: French, we have a number of food label clients who are either selling into France with country specific packaging, or are targeting French amongst other languages on multi-lingual food labelling.
  • Most languages on a single food label translation order: to date this is 40 languages, and yes they were all to be used on a single product!
  • Smallest food label translation order: a single ingredient change (yes a single word), for translations we had already supplied. It is quite common that there are ingredient changes to products we have already translated, this could be for example because of changes in required legal declarations, changes to the recipe, or the client changing suppliers and the product being similar but not identical.
  • Most unusual language translated on food labelling so far: Kazakh. We don’t think our client did huge volumes of trade with Kazakhstan, but of course we were happy to supply the translations.
  • Highest volume on a single food labelling project an entire product range for a major UK retailer into Hungarian.
  • Language variants: we can localise for any specific world market, for example we translate into a lot of Canadian French, with food labelling many aspects would be the same as French for France, but there are important linguistic differences, and also the regulatory environment for North America is very different to Europe. We translate a lot of Arabic food labelling, and here the issue is how to localise Arabic effectively. Most clients want to localise for more than one Arabic market. This can cause compliance issues with different states having different requirements, but in terms of translation we translate into a Modern Standard Arabic, unless requested differently by the client.

Food Label Translation and Legal Compliance

If you require a compliance report from food compliance technical specialists, we can assist with this. We normally recommend that you commission a compliance report, or carry out your own compliance checks, before thinking about translation. This is especially important if your original food packaging is from a different jurisdiction, for example FDA food packaging requirements have significant differences from EU regulations, this means that if you have a US product you wish to sell within the EU, step 1 needs to be ensuring compliance with European regs before commissioning translation. Otherwise you risk having to make changes to the source language wording, and starting translation all over again.

We use translators who will produce a faithful translation of the original text, but if the source text is none compliant, then the translation will be too. Within the European Union, food labelling requirements are broadly similar country to county, but there can still be country-specific requirements, and differences in how regulations are applied. Please remember that we are giving a translation of the original text which you supply. This means that if an ingredient is missing in the original text, or wrongly labelled, it will also be missing or wrongly labelled when translated.

The key to avoiding this kind of problem, is to make certain that you are happy with the source text before translating. We work with legal compliance companies, and can arrange specialist compliance advice if required.

Hello Bea. Thank you very much for the extreme swift and professional turn around. This is greatly appreciated and I will look to contact you in the future for further translations.

Victor Kalbskopf, t-licious GmbH

Marketing Aspects of Food Label Translation

It is important to be aware that very country-specific references or plays on words are not likely to work when the text is translated. If you are including marketing concepts or ideas within text for translation, we need license to be quite free in the way of expressing the idea within the translations. Sometimes the border between compliance and marketing can be quite thin. For example with a product containing the word “slim” in the title in English, it will be necessary to establish the slimming properties of the product, any claims are likely to need to be substantiated in each target market, and different countries may have different requirements.

We use translators who are experienced in marketing translation to ensure that your message is conveyed clearly to the target audience.

Localisation of Food Label Translations

Localisation is the process of adaptation to a local market. With food products there can be important localisation issues which aren’t necessarily about translation. For example, supplying food products containing alcoholic ingredients or meat which is not Halal, is likely to be inappropriate for an Islamic country. These are not strictly translation issues, but they are important in supplying to a given target market.

The key to translation success is to use specialist translators, familiar with up to date terminology in both markets, so that they fully understand the source text, and the target market. Context is also very helpful, pictures of the product are very helpful to translators when they are working.

Foods and Medicines

You also need to consider that different countries may classify products differently. One country may consider your product as a dietary supplement, whilst another may class it as a medicine. Each will have different regulatory requirements.

Thanks for this Nicole. All very efficient. We will come back to you when we next need anything.

Kate Willis, Sharpham Park

Proofing and Checking Artwork

We can check print proofs and sign off artwork for any translation we supply. We charge separately for this based on the amount of time needed by the translators, but it is extremely important. It is easy to underestimate the risk of layout problems for artwork teams who are preparing text for a language they don’t speak. There can also be style issues, with different punctuation and layout requirements for different languages. This works best with teamwork between the translation provider, and the artwork team.

We do not check artwork we haven’t translated, as this can often prove problematic.

You need to provide a low res pdf of the finished artwork, to use this service. Clearly the text will need to be readable!

Typesetting Food Labels

We can provide typesetting in most languages and formats, separate quotation on request. There are particular issues in most design programmes when working with right to left languages. The standard versions of major products such as Illustrator and InDesign corrupt right to left languages. They render the text unreadable. This occurs in Middle Eastern languages including Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi, and many Indian languages. The solution is to use the Middle Eastern version of your chosen design programme. We offer this as a specialist service. We supply the correctly set text in an outlined EPS format, or as a print ready PDF. You can re-import the text as live text in the latest versions of the CS suite.

Great work, very happy, we’ll be doing a lot more business with you.

Jonathan Davies, Cambrian Pet Foods Ltd.

Contact us today to discuss your Food translation requirements.

For a quote or to discuss your requirements in more detail, contact us on +44 (0)115 9788980.