Nowadays companies understand the importance of using proper transcreation and localization strategies to move into international markets. Afterall, consumers are more likely to purchase when reading about a product in their own language and when it resonates with their cultural worldview. Many translators were practicing transcreation techniques long before the term was ever coined, but in the past few years, it’s become a sort of buzzword due to the expansion of global marketing. Its definition is straightforward, but its application, quite complex. It refers to the adaptation of a brand’s message to provoke the same emotional response in a new audience.
Creative translators are now evaluated for their bicultural skills, which refers to a deep understanding of the cultural nuances of the market the client is looking to break into. Here we’re referring to everything that can be found underneath the water of the cultural iceberg. Translators who localize marketing content must continuously work to maintain and improve their creative writing skills as well. They should be talented copywriters who can produce compelling and persuasive text. One can work to obtain these skills, but it’s important to note that being a translator doesn’t automatically make you a copywriter.
As far as content and social media, translators have to be up on country and language specific SEO and what hashtags are trending. They can help you decide on the best way to post multilingual content (creating a local social media account for each language vs. creating one account where each post includes translations), make sure you’ve chosen localized images, as well as simply creating higher quality content that resonates with that specific culture. For example, being from the US, I know that highlighting convenience is a strong selling point in my culture. When launching in this market, product convenience could hold more weight than whatever benefit we are advertising in Spain. As such, we would work alongside our localization team in order to adapt the message. Now let’s take a look at quality elements in the translator — agency relationship.
Quality is tested through automated tools and KPIs (in the case of transcreation), but here are some general recommendations to consider for the translator — agency workflow.
- Though it is often overlooked, quality source text translates into quality target text. The original copywriter should, during the writing process, have in mind that the text will be translated into various languages. Clear, concise, and standard writing is the key. When we move into the realm of creative copy where we see culture-specific humor, puns, idioms, etc., we’ll want to consider working alongside the translator to create new messages inspired by our original copy.
- Briefings are key. Translators can’t perform quality work without a comprehensive understanding of the context that surrounds each project. It’s a great idea to include translators in meetings as your marketing campaign is developing. Translators should be briefed on product, brand identity and guidelines, marketing strategies, concrete goals, tone of voice, target audience analysis, demographics, SEO strategies, etc. As you can see, this is a dynamic and ongoing process and it can seem that a significant amount of time is being spent on briefing, but you won’t regret it! Of course, within the framework of transcreation, you are briefing your translator in order to give him or her the tools to recreate an appropriate message.
- While briefing your translator on the marketing campaign, it’s a great idea to provide them with a previous transcreation project that worked well and accomplished its goal. It could be just as helpful to provide them with a translation or transcreation that wasn’t successful, so they can get an idea of what doesn’t work.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of feedback. Localization is all about testing. There is a good chance that with transcreation, it could take some time for your team to find just the right tone for the brand. Details about project results have to be given so that translators can learn for them. Most importantly, the channels of communication must always remain open.
Quality assurance steps for translators and agencies, like those discussed above, ultimately translate to higher ROI!