Why you may be losing business without it…

Let’s say your marketing team comes up with messaging that resonates with your domestic customers. Everyone “gets” your brand, your ads, your banners, everything. You’ve got the local market all figured out.

Now it’s time to conquer the global market.

You can send your content to a translation agency, launch your international marketing campaign, and go about the next order of business. After all, that’s what you have done in the past with your other content.

And then the numbers come in.
You can’t figure out why your international sales are slumping.
You don’t know why international customers are avoiding your product.
You may even be getting nasty feedback about your company or products in international forums.

What happened?

The answer may be that you didn’t transcreate your content.

In this blog, we will cover some best practices for transcreation, so that you can make an informed choice as to how to communicate with your international customers.

What is Transcreation, exactly?
According to Common Sense Advisory Transcreation is “a process whereby new content is developed or adapted for a given target audience, rather than translated directly from the original version.”

Transcreation involves re-crafting concepts like terms of art, culturally-specific ideas, puns, and phrases that don’t have direct equivalents in other languages. Sometimes, transcreation even involves removing certain messages due to legal reasons or re-organizing the information to resonate more strongly with the target audience.

You may want to consider transcreation when you need to localize your creative texts. Content such as slogans, logo text, in-store copy, press releases, brochures, TV, web, and radio ad copy, can all benefit from a thorough linguistic and cultural adaptation process that only transcreation can provide.

If you are localizing your Internet presence and working on a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy , your content can also benefit from transcreation.

And don’t forget your local ethnic communities!
According to Nielsen , US-based Hispanic and Asian markets are valued at $1 Trillion each, so it makes sense to localize for the locals if you want their business

Here are some tips on how to do it right:

1. Use simple file formats
Transcreation involves a good amount of back-and-forth between translators, reviewers, creative writers, and client reviewers. Instead of using Excel sheets or complicated formats such as FrameMaker or InDesign, we recommend using Word or Google Docs, so that anyone with a computer can open up the file, add their edits and changes, and pass the baton to the next person. The text is likely going to go through a number of revisions and the format should allow for easy editing, commenting and collaborating.

2. Make sure you understand the cost and time implications
Transcreation involves the creative talents of multiple people for each language. These creative talents are professional marketing translators and writers with years of experience crafting linguistically and culturally appropriate messaging. The process is generally charged on an hourly rate instead of the classic per-word rate that you will find in typical translation projects. And while you may be dealing with a few words instead of hundreds or thousands of words, transcreating a short marketing piece can sometimes take as long as translating a longer technical text.

Check out our blog post for more information on the differences between translation and transcreation here.

3. Be ready to discuss and keep an open mind, but understand when it’s done
Your company may have people in-country who are ready to help with the review stage of the transcreation process. Reviewers new to transcreation may need some introductory training on the process. Imagine trying to convey “wish fulfillers” or “imagination stimulators” in another language, or even explaining the concepts to someone who may not speak English as their first language. You can go back and forth on the original intent of the English phrase and get bogged down in details. It’s a good idea to leave the management of the client review cycle to a team of seasoned transcreation specialists. Otherwise your message may end up either falling flat in your international markets, or worse, not even making it in time to support your product launch.

You can read more about some best practices for in-country review in one of our recent blog posts here.

And now, for some examples of marketing campaigns that could have used transcreation:

When Coca-Cola first launched in China, the company’s name was written phonetically and pronounced “Ke-kou-ke-la” and meant “female horse stuffed with wax”.

Kellogg’s “Bran Buds” cereal was sold in Sweden under the same name, which meant something like “burned farmer” in Swedish.

“Jolly Green Giant” became an “Intimidating Green Monster” in the Arabic-speaking market.

Curious about how transcreation can be a wish fulfiller, cost reducer, and profitability maximizer for your creative content? Contact us and we can talk you through the process!


Related Posts and Articles:

Hispanic and Asian American markets in the United States
Two Nielsen reports issued in 2012 reveal some pretty compelling reasons to invest wisely in your US ethnic marketing messages

“The Hispanic market’s size, sheer size, growing clout, and buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 and $1.5 trillion by 2015 require thoughtful understanding about what the market represents to a company’s bottom line.” (State of the Hispanic Consumer)

“Asian American buying power, currently at $718 billion, is estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2017.” (State of the Asian American Consumer)

Localizing for the Locals

How To Choose Which Is Best For Your Global Marketing – Translation, Localization or Transcreation?

Common Sense Advisory: Reaching New Markets through Transcreation

International SEO: 4 Steps to Global Search Engine Success

The 5 Snares of Translation Review, or “Wait, There’s A Bear In My Software!”



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