In modern localization, the one thing that is pretty hard to come by is the kind of hand-crafted and compelling “no nonsense” website and marketing translation quality you need if you want target language content that actually helps to sell your products in a certain market.
What usually does not help our clients (who might also happen to have an additional marketing director in the target country reviewing translation work and localized content) is the usual type of generic, lackluster, and uninspired literal translation. Yet, instead of going through a (much more expensive) local advertising agency, the job ends up being sent for translation.
Many clients end up pursuing translation services when actually they should be seeking transcreation (a service that cannot happen using the regular translation per-word rates of our industry). Transcreation requires translators to go the extra mile and think outside the box for clients so that localized content spurs interest and inspires action in target audiences.
What is transcreation?
In order to enable and value high-quality translations, you need to first understand what the term “transcreation” really entails and embrace the idea that you need to move away from the source text for a work of transcreation to be successful.
Transcreation is a term coined from the words "translation" and "creation", and a concept used in the field of translation studies to describe the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context. A successfully transcreated message evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language. (Wikipedia)
For marketing translations, it is often necessary to freely and completely move away from the source in terms of syntax and words – by thinking about what is meant and coming up with creative solutions to express it so it fits naturally in another market.
You need to think about how people in the target language would express the thought rather than processing words and grammar and continuing to think in the English “source world”.
For excellent transcreation results, you need to turn to people who still understand how this creative process actually works. Producing high-quality translations for high-profile content requires time and talent, as well as care and dedication on behalf of the translator. If the translator does not go that extra mile during a marketing translation, you can almost bet that negative feedback from the client is likely to ensue.
Typically, we hear that the client has reviewed the translation and that “most corrections are only preferential changes.” Well, of course, they are – the client prefers a better and more fluent translation – that’s all! They are merely putting the finger right where it hurts - the sting of literal translations as compared to high-value target texts.
You might often encounter situations where you have a solid (but not great) initial translation but a client reviewer who is looking for a work of transcreation (one that really speaks to audiences in target markets and sells products better than a regular translation).
As a language service provider, ideally, we like to get feedback from the client with suggestions for improvement along with their examples. This can help not only the translator but also the client to get a glimpse of the difficulty of transcreation, which is ultimately what they are looking for (knowingly or unknowingly).
Translators know what a good marketing translation looks like and how to achieve it. You know, stuff like rendering the meaning of a five-word source tagline using only a single word in the target language, creating catchy transcreations, thinking outside the box, bold omissions, etc.
If website and marketing translation is an art form, we at SimulTrans are the artists.
This article has been updated and was initially published on May 25, 2017.