Translating Engineer-Speak to Consumers


Imagine your company’s engineering and development department had to explain your product to your target consumers. Chances are many of your target consumers would become lost in a matter of sentences. For the most part, consumers aren’t interested in technical specification–they require the language used by the engineering and development department to be translated into something meaningful to them, something that will lead them to see how your product will help them and why they need to get their hands on it. This translation phase between developing and selling is where marketing comes to the rescue to be sure that nothing about your product is lost in translation.


Marketing acts as a translator in a way similar to how an interpreter acts when translating conversations for its clients. Good marketing people listen to and work to understand the engineering and development part of the product or service, so they can get a comprehensive understanding of how the product works and what it does. They can then translate that into messaging that conveys the benefit to the consumer. During this process, marketing teams can simplify or condense the technical aspects of the product or service into a concise marketing message accompanied by compelling visual content that shows the customer the benefit of the product and leads them to desire it.


A great example of seeing this translation in action is when viewing a large company’s keynote event. When talking about the product, the speaker generally doesn’t highlight the hardware or software in depth like an engineer or developer would – they talk about what this hardware or software can do for the consumer. They tell consumers about the benefits of using the product and how the product can solve the problem that the consumer is facing. The only way for the speaker to do this is to first understand the product in its entirety–thus taking that engineering and development speak, and translating it into consumer speak.


Marketing doesn’t just translate product information to consumers, it also translates the company’s brand and story to the consumers as well. This is a broader task than translating information for a particular product, and it involves conveying what the company stands for in order to create a connection with customers. These ideas come from within a company and often times aren’t as simple as gathering information from the engineering and development department and translating that into the language of the consumer. The company’s brand and story are much more emotionally centered, and are shown to the consumers largely through visual content such as shapes, colors, and images with some emphasis on the tone of the messaging. The goal for this exercise isn’t necessarily to sell the consumers a particular product, but rather to make a positive emotional connection between the consumer and the brand so that when the consumer needs to solve a problem, they look to one of the brands they are emotionally connected to first.


Effective translation is extremely important to any company at both the brand and product levels. By effectively translating brand and product benefits to the consumer, companies can reach a whole new audience just waiting for their problems to be solved.