Welcome to Fast Trans Translation



Social Media Translation: How to Translate your Content for Social Networks

Social media is a valuable way for brands and businesses to market themselves and get acknowledged by billions of people worldwide.

Being the number one medium that connects brands with their potential consumers, social media language and register need to appeal to different audiences. Now an international brand that exists in countries like the USA, Saudi Arabia, and India needs to write content that resonates with English-speaking Americans, Arab-speaking Saudis, and Indian speakers. 

Social media is about recognition, that recognition is translated into increased followers, subscribers, comments, and engagement, but for a business to achieve that it has to hire a team to write and translate appealing content.

This is where social media translation steps in!


What is social media translation?

Social media translation (SMT) refers to the translation of different kinds of social media content. Contrary to the popular belief, social media is not restricted to online networking platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it actually expands to three other types: user generated social media content like Youtube and Wikipedia, eCommerce websites like Amazon, as well as online games sites like Valorant. SMT  involves the translation of captions, video descriptions, on-screen text, and audio content that could take the form of stories, posts, videos, reels, tweets…etc.

It’s an emerging and underdeveloped branch of translation that began in the 2010s with globalization and increased interest in social media platforms. In 2024, it has become an absolute necessity.

Read more: What’s the difference between Internationalization and Localization?


Why translating social media content can be helpful

The average social media user spends around 2 and a half hours every day on platforms like Facebook and TikTok. This is a great chance for businesses to put themselves out there for users and gain recognition.

Let’s explore some of the benefits of SMT below: 


Show Respect and Foster Inclusivity

Most of the content around us is written in English only. It’s like brands assume that most of the audience in the world are fluent English speakers in one way or another when the truth is languages like Mandarin Chinese and Hindu are close to English in terms of popularity. There are more than 1.1 billion people who speak Mandarin, and 609.5 million who speak Indian. The bottom line is, that translation of social media channels to other languages is a chance to show respect and inclusivity for your existing audience,  and makes it easy for new ones to know your brand. 


SMT is a Catalyst for Engagement

Content translation is one way in the cycle of social media marketing, and SMM aims to drive engagement. When users see content written in their language and in a familiar tone of voice, the likes, shares, link clicks, and comments will eventually increase.


Improving SEO and Visibility

Let’s assume that your business is running successfully in Europe, most of the audience are already English-speaking customers and you have worked so hard to make your English-optimized content stand out in search engines like Google. However, the plan to franchise in an East Asian market will require more than English content. 

Both SMT and a localized keyword search can increase your chance for visibility.


Avoiding Cultural Insensitivity

It goes without saying that one copy can work really well in a certain culture, or demographic, and still fail miserably in another. In many cases, this is because one thing that’s funny or ironic in one place can be culturally irrelevant, offensive, or simply lacking proper context in another. Social media translation solves this problem by optimizing content. In the process of translating social media copies like captions or posts, translators also localize content and offer cultural alternatives. 


Being on top of local trends

Building on the previous benefit. Social media translation also keeps tap of local trends that are created in social media every day. Instead of literally translating social media content to other languages or relying on using the automatic translation tools on platforms like X which can sometimes be quite confusing, your brand can go the other mile by appealing to audiences by showing them that you are on top of trends happening in every aspect of their lives.


Gaining Competitive Advantage

You checked everything on the list, from SEO visibility to staying up to date with trends, you have just earned yourself a competitive advantage. 

Social media translation keeps you on top of the competition. While some businesses undervalue it, your business has already set harbor in plenty of other markets by investing in SMT.

Read more: Digital marketing benefits of localization


Top tips for doing social media translation the right way


Avoid machine translation

With creative copies, machine translation can give disappointing results. Social media is most of the time about fun and attention-grabbing posts that can be watered-down by machine translation. It’s best if you maintain brand identity and consistency of tone by hiring a professional translator who can translate the language effect into another language. They can help you check for homonyms, culturally insensitive words or phrases. 


Consider creating separate accounts for each language

You’ll find that many of the multinational brands create a separate account for each country. 

For example, KFC has a separate Instagram account for each country they franchise in, they have separate Instagram pages like KFC Pakistan, KFC Spain, KFC Venezuela, and KFC Arabia…etc. 

When other brands are comfortable translating the content of their posts into two languages without creating different accounts. 

It depends on your business needs, the audience, and future plans for your business. However, sometimes it can be confusing for some users to read the same post twice, which is the case of translating Facebook posts or Instagram captions in two languages that ends up looking like a scary chunk of text.


Know your audience

Knowing your audience not only entails providing them with culturally relevant content. It also involves researching their interests, and which platforms they commonly use.

For instance, the most commonly used social media platforms in China are Sina Weibo and TikTok, also known as ‘Douyin’, while in the USA it’s Facebook and Youtube.


Invest in Experts

By experts, we’re referring to native speakers, because they know the target audience best, and what works for them. Moreover, top-tier brands realize how important it is to maintain brand identity everywhere. Therefore, they hire global social media managers who get their hands on everything, from monthly calendars, and content plans, and hire native translators either to join the in-house team or as outsourcing.


Using the Right Hashtags and Emojis

Hashtags can be tricky because translating them into another language is more than just literal translation. It requires experimenting with a hashtag that works and gets more visibility. 

Moreover, Emojis are the language of social media, The use of emojis too requires localization, not just translation, because they are culturally constructed symbols. For example, most American teenagers now use the “skull emoji” to interact with humorous content. However, Egyptians are not familiar with that emoji. In the same funny or humorous context both of them will use different sets of emojis.

This short article by Hook&Line can give you some insight into how different cultures use emojis. For example, they say that the baby angel emoji, which is commonly used as a sign of innocence, is interpreted as ‘death’ in China.


Why is social media translation so difficult?

Social media translation can be difficult. First, because it’s still evolving, and it entails lots of experimenting with content type, tone, register, and length. With platforms like X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram there is little space for written content. However, with Facebook, there is plenty of space. Social media translators keep the aspect of space in mind, and also the factor of the user attention span. Unlike other mediums like books, or newspaper articles, social media users seek short and to-the-point content that engages the reader and encourages them to respond to the call to active.

Additionally, and most importantly social media translation relies heavily on cultural relevance. The end goal of social media marketing is to gain the attention and trust of the target audience, which puts pressure on the translation to sustain and work towards that objective.

The bottom line is that, unlike other types of translation, the changing nature of social media forces it to be flexible to different updates, cultural changes, trends, and language play.


Examples of Social media platforms and how to translate each one 

As a social media user, you already know that each platform works in its unique way. This difference impacts translation. Let’s look at how the most commonly used platforms are different and how translators can approach each one:



Facebook has the Global Pages localization feature which can come in handy for international brands that want to post content according to different regions. It allows for posting region-specific content without creating different Facebook pages for each language. 

It’s a win-win situation that ensures the target audience receives content in their language, while at the same time rewarding businesses by directing all engagement to one global account with one URL.



Instagram is a lot trickier, unlike Facebook, brands on Instagram can’t post regionally targeted content. They can maintain one account that keeps all audiences in one place. However, this option entails translating captions and videos, into no more than two languages. If your business wants to target several languages, then translating your post captions into all of them may not be the best idea. It’s not only distracting for the reader, but is generally a poor way to market your brand, and the character limit on captions is 2,200 characters. The other option is to create separate local accounts that have language specific and culturally tailored content. 



TikTok has a built-in automated translation tool that supports plenty of languages, but it only translates captions and video descriptions. TikTok is another popular visual content platform that relies heavily on short videos with on-screen text or audio. Depending on the translation of captions won’t be enough if a huge part of your audience aren’t English speakers.

The solution is to either create separate localized accounts, or translate the on-screen text, and transcribe the audio into the target language to make your content more user-friendly.



Like TikTok, many content creators and vloggers on YouTube understand the value of translating and globalizing their content, and for this reason, they create captions in different languages and translate the video description if necessary.


X “Twitter”

Although X doesn’t have localization features like Facebook, it remains a valuable and creative platform for successful marketing strategies. Most brands focus on one global account for X before creating other local or country-specific ones. SMT on X takes a very creative shape because it depends on wordplay, and a little bit of puns. 

Again, KFC is an interesting example of a food brand that aced the X competition. Their X KFC Spain account goes viral because of its funny culturally relevant memes. The account is no longer about pushing the users to buy from KFC, it has created a large KFC community that’s quite impressive.


Fast Trans is your Social media translation choice

Fast Trans has gathered up a native of native in-house and outsourced professional translators with demonstrated years of experience to handle your social media translation projects. It prides itself on being your best go-to choice, but why?

Our team understands what it takes for your business to flourish and make an impact in the MENA region. They combine nativity, and social media experience together to help your business grow in the contemporary online world. 

Unlocking the potential of your business in the Arab world starts here.

Related Content