A new installment of #AskTheExperts, a GALA blog series where we ask translation industry experts inside and outside the GALA community for their insights and advice on managing business processes and digital transformation. Do you have a burning or knotty question? Send it to us and we’ll ask our experts.
Today six GALA experts share their golden tips on transcreation.
My golden tip for transcreation is making sure you know exactly who your target audience is. For a language such as Spanish that has so many different variants, for example, knowing if you are translating for a specific country, region, or if you need to use a “neutral” Latin American Spanish will determine what terminology or expressions you can and cannot use. If you are transcreating for a broader audience, you will need to avoid using regionalisms – which adds an extra layer of challenge to the adaptation.
Not only is the geographic location of the target audience important, any other social, educational, and cultural background information is important as well, including the age. Transcreating content for children will be considerably different than for an older audience, for example, we would not be able to use inappropriate language or intricate vocabulary. And catering to millennials might differ to the boomer generation because the way different generations consume content varies tremendously. So, if you want to produce a transcreation that will work, that will resonate with the target audience, you will need to be extremely cognizant of this audience.
Contextual information is key to any language project, just like in localization you have to know how to talk to and work with developers, in marketing and advertising you have to have experience working with creatives. Knowing how campaigns are created and managed, the type of materials and channels, the brand positioning, etc. is key information that will enable the transcreators to find an effective and culturally appropriate adaptation.
Companies invest a lot in their brand, marketing and campaigns; this is an art infused with a lot of science. There is ample data and analysis produced in support of marketing campaigns and brand management, you have to know how to leverage this and pass it on to the transcreators; it will guide their creative work and avoid costly do overs. Access to the right talent, expertise in how transcreation is managed, service optimization based on campaign scope, markets’ cultural distance, channels and asset types are all important aspects in a successful transcreation project.
Keeping your target audience(s) in mind, always taking into account any cultural specificities and local customs, as well as keeping an open mind when it comes to the end result of your translated content. And that is because, in some cases, direct translations from source materials that contain highly creative content cannot really elicit the same emotional response from all foreign-speaking markets, which is the secret ingredient to any successful marketing and advertising campaign addressing an international audience.
Radio, social media, or television? Google, Yahoo!, or Bing? There are countless channels and platforms to advertise your brand, so make sure you know where and how to do it. In some countries, social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter may be the most effective way to market your business, whereas in others more traditional channels like television, newspaper, or radio may work best. A similar situation exists with search engines. In the United States, Google is the most used search engine by far. However, in Asian countries, we find other online search tools leading the pack, like Yahoo!, Baidu, or Naver.
“Language Insight’s golden tip for transcreation is to strike the right balance between ‘translation’ and ‘creation’. Transcreation is a creative process that must consider culturally relevant information before localising the content for a specific audience.
The goal of transcreation isn’t to say the same thing in another language like with translation, but rather to gain the same reaction towards the content in both languages. In marketing, it is often not possible to say exactly the same thing in another language as catchy slogans or satire may have been used that wouldn’t make sense if they were translated literally. Therefore, both the creative and literal aspects of the content must be valued equally. If the creative side is prioritised, then content may be too different from the original source and there is a risk that the content might lose its original message or be too ‘off-brand’. Likewise, if the content is not creative enough, and the literal translation is prioritised, then the content may fail to engage the audience to the same extent as the original. It’s all about balance and a good transcreator knows how to get it right.”
For companies and localization teams, it’s about finding transcreators and partners that understand copywriting and marketing just as deeply as they do translation. For transcreators, it’s about knowing the target audience, internalizing the campaign goals, and most importantly, focusing on the copy that you’re writing.
You are creating something original, not just reproducing the original – so move away from the mindset of transferring meaning to generating emotions. Think, “Who am I talking to?” and write just for them. Consider, “What impact does the source text make?” before shifting your focus to your own language and culture. Ask yourself, “How can I put this?” rather than “What’s the right word for that?”. In fact, my golden tip for transcreation could be summarized as: ask the right questions. And harness the answers to write copy that resonates. This takes talent, time and experience – something that companies can support by providing the necessary resources. After all, transcreations generate sales, relieve local marketing teams and increase brand value.
For other resources on transcreation, visit GALA Knowledge Center.