Tone of voice | Pauhu Translations' blog

Spring clean your marketing

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Over time, strategies and ways of doing things tend to gather dust. By applying cleaning concepts to your marketing, you can easily keep it crystal clear and efficient. So, get on with it!

    1. Prune the branches. Cut and remove unnecessary strands from your marketing and storytelling. Unnecessary frills tend to bore people, so just get straight to the point!
    2. Wipe the dust. Do you know how to use all the communication and marketing tools in your toolbox? For example, do you use proper search engine optimization and analytics for your website? Sort through your pack thoroughly to find useful tools that have not been used for a long time or maybe never before.
    3. Organize and sort. Today’s audiences prefer self-made content. Curate, share, flatter and participate in discussions when necessary, but always prioritize your own content.
    4. Clean up your e-mail lists. Update your mailing lists at regular intervals. Remove obsolete addresses and duplicates and upgrade new information. Redundant targets decrease your marketing power. Remember that direct marketing may only be directed at your own customers and natural persons who have given their prior consent (at least in Finland).
    5. Get out of your comfort zone. Do you do things in the same way day after day? To find new marketing models, you need to take time to reflect on your objectives, to analyze your situation and to try new things. You will also need to overcome your fear of failure.
    6. Have fun! Spring cleaning is more fun when you team up with others – clean together, make a joint effort, and discuss your marketing and communications strategies as a group. A new approach will only be useful if all relevant parties know about it and are committed to it.
Pauhu® Translations specializes in communications and marketing translations. Our professionals translate into their native language. Our clients include Ruukki Construction, Veho and Ålandsbanken.

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A boss without opinions does not strengthen a brand

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To Finnish company managers, expressing an opinion – especially one that is refreshingly edgy or divides public opinion – has traditionally been agonising.

Our market is small, and CEOs are supposed to please everyone: for example, staff, clients, owners and the company board.

If they fail to please their staff, people start talking behind their back. If, on the other hand, they fail to please clients, clients may turn to a competitor instead. And if they fail to keep the owner(s) and the board happy, they may get a practical lesson in the dodgy employment security of CEOs.

Best then to keep one's tongue tied.

Or is it?

Kauppalehti's editor-in-chief Arno Ahosniemi has expressed his amazement at the quiet demeanour of Finnish managers:

It is actually rather strange that one of the pivotal groups in society does not use its voice in public discussion.

Our corporate leaders have not understood that in avoiding irritating anyone with their words, their unexpressed opinions do not make anyone happy, either. If no one is delighted, bosses do not create positive value for themselves, for their companies or brands.

A brand without purpose is nothing but air and a boss without opinions is useless.

In order to have a meaningful enterprise and manager, a company and its brands should have a brand purpose. An articulated reason to exist. A parade flag leading owners, corporate management and personnel to march.

A brand needs to meansomething to form a closer relationship with customers. A relationship that communicates the shared values between customers and brands.

This sort of impact does not develop, if the brand does not have the courage to stand up for a cause.

It also frequently means being against something.

Luckily, there is an abundance of matters these days that consumers also want their preferred brands to stand for. For example, from the easiest end: inequality and global warming. From the most daring end: current laws or elected government, such as the country's President.

Could a consumer “vote” against, say, the President of the United States by buying a product from a company that openly rebels against the head of the world's most powerful democracy? Yes. And the business booms. There are many examples: Patagonia, Nike, Starbucks and so on.

Procter & Gamble had a research study completed in the United States, according to which 67 per cent of consumers believe brands have more power to change the world than governments.

For this reason, consumers also want to vote for brands. And brands are voted for with wallets. However, if a brand does not offer an opinion, a perspective or a purpose to align oneself with, it will not be voted as before: in other words, purchased.

The same has also been noticed by another giant American brand. Of Unilever Group’s forty top brands, eighteen are part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living  brands, and have a brand-specific responsibility programme.

In 2016, these brands already generated 60 per cent of Unilever’s growth, and grew 50 per cent faster than Unilever’s other brands.

According to research by communications agency Miltton, 75 per cent of Finns want companies to participate in social discussion and resolving shared problems.

In particular, young people expect concrete actions and statements from companied – also on subjects outside the company’s business operations.

For example, Finlayson has also built value for itself outside its regular business operations by consciously challenging even existing laws: when you buy Finlayson sheets, you are not just buying bedding. By buying Finlayson products, you also give your vote to gender equality and tolerance.

Actions that become news can also be statements.

When Viking Line did not allow Swedish neo-Nazis to board their ships to participate in right-wing protests in Helsinki on Finland’s centenary day, Viking Line changed its significance in the eyes of many consumers.

In the writer’s eyes, too.

An increasing number of consumers, investors and employees want to make more responsible choices from the perspective of people, the environment and surrounding community.

Those enterprises and brands benefit from value choices infused with brand purpose.

Thus, the winners are those who dare to voice their differing opinion – for example, through their boss. And act upon their vision.

Even if the measures do not always please everyone.

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A good story is not enough

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The Kuukausiliite monthly supplement to the largest newspaper in Finland is a parade of Finnish journalism, whose excellence has been praised and awarded numerous times. High quality should, therefore, also be expected from the supplement’s ads, which are increasingly narrated content marketing or native advertising produced by the media company itself. But Kuukausiliite's native ads are not appealing reads. Why is that?

If the mere placement of an advertisement costs more than 28,000 euros and the production of the ad comprises an additional hefty amount, the ad purchaser has good reason to demand the best possible quality. No casual result should be eligible for production, but incomplete ideas must be returned back to the drawing board. 

For one reason or another,  I rated two out of the three ads from the monthly supplement that I examined in my Mediaansekantuja blog a while ago as mediocre attempts.

The recipe for an enticing story is no business secret, but it has to be re-invented each time- over and over again.  The journalist's article will entice the reader, if its topic is stimulating and timely.  If the story is a visually appealing entity, the mass of text involved will not immediately bother the reader at the start, trouble has been taken in its illustrations and headings, the story progresses smoothly in time and place, and, in particular, the beginning and end of the story are exceedingly well written. Only a very busy reader could possibly refuse to read this type of article.

The same formula for a good story also runs true in content marketing, but, according to journalistic guidelines, a story that is marked as an advertisement must also crush an internal adblocker located in the reader's head.  Studies have shown that newspaper advertising is considered to be the most convenient way to receive ads.  The reason for this is, at least in part, that advertisements in a newspaper are easier to ignore, nor do they irritate the reader as much as a forceful ad window on webpages or web video ads that cannot be bypassed.

In order to stop and read ads, I should first be taught, as a reader, that advertisements may also contain good stories.  Traditional advertising aesthetics have informed us that ads have  large, great pictures, followed by an inventive slogan.  Before, it was sufficient to take a mere, small glance, but now it should first interest you so much that you wish to delve deeper into it to read.

Not a very easy task for an ad creator!

Additionally, readers should be allowed to share content marketing on social media, in the same way in which news stories are shared.  Only the sharing of stories currently exists.

In my journalistic bubble, content marketing is mainly shared by the authors themselves - I do not remember seeing even one such story in my feeds over the last few months.  The adblocker in one’s head blocks the will to read and share the article.  What could be done about it? 

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Come check us out!


Welcome to the heart of Helsinki on Thursday 12 October 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm! The experts at the Marketer’s translation agency Pauhu will let you in on the secrets of translation during an open event for all interested visitors. Our free programme includes refreshments and light snacks.

Over 100 business enterprises have signed up to participate in Finland’s largest simultaneous Open doors event in honour of the Finland 100 centenary! During the Welcome to Meet Us week 9–15 October, companies from around Finland will open their doors and show what the next 100 years of Finland will be made of! The Welcome to Meet Us week is arranged by the Association for Finnish Work. 

Street address:
Käännöstoimisto Pauhu, Simonkatu 8 A, 3rd floor, 00100 Helsinki

RSVP before 11 October 2017.

Inquiries and signup:
Nora Mosander
Account Manager 
tel. +358 40 866 8476

You can also sign up on our Facebook Event Page

Read more here

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Summer translations from Pauhu

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As the marketer's translation agency, we'll be serving you smart translations in the centre of Helsinki throughout the summer. Get a quote or contact us, let's discuss your translation needs!

View our references here.

Sunny regards,
Linda Ahlblad, Managing Director, tel. +358 40 866 8669,
Nora Mosander, Account Manager, tel. +358 40 866 8476,
Nina Wainikainen, Project Manager, tel. +358 40 866 8041,

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Content = soul, formalities = identity

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Text is just text after all, right? Well, not quite! The anatomy of a good translation is more complex than a bunch of words. There are just so many formalities. Mastering these formalities resolves whether the topic – even if it’s an excellent one in itself – will leave a good or bad impression. To be a good translator, you will have to do the following with consistent accuracy – from the first word to the final full stop.


Show a mastery of the grammar in the target language. No guessing when it comes to what to say, or how to say it.

Master the target language vocabulary with a rich and vigorous touch. No repetition ad nauseum, no poverty of expression.

Apply the correct terms for the same matters consistently throughout the text. Do not confuse the reader.

Keep to the point. Do not use words that do not fit the content.

Make the written whole easy to understand. Do not cause confusion with contradictions.

Tone of voice
Engage the reader in the manner selected from beginning to end. Do not bounce around from one style to another or from colloquial to formal speech and back again.

Grammatical persons
Stay within the selected mode of address. Do not switch from informal to formal styles of personal address in the middle of everything.

Sentence structure
Fluently translate progressive and vigorous sentences. No extended, pieced-together, long-and-winding word streams.

Commas and full stops
Use punctuation marks to highlight sentence rhythm in an easily readable form. Do not forget to use them – the lack of commas and full stops where they are needed can turn a good translation into a bad one.

Use the official professional terminology as required. No machine translation, no Internet sources.


A good translation is a mixture of information, skill and experience. It speaks from one person to another: it is human. It is something no machine is truly capable of doing.


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Spring clean your marketing
Linda Ahlblad, Pauhu Translations | 6.4.2019
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