If you are running an international business, you have most likely learnt from experience that reaching your customers in their own language is one of the top “must dos” of your process of expanding to a new target market. But what does it mean to actually “reach” those clients? If you have never heard about transcreation, you need to find out three reasons why it is the best tool for your international marketing strategy.
What is transcreation?
Transcreation is one of the many translation services you can use to render your content into a different language, but there are some traits that make it special and more suited to specific needs, particularly in the digital marketing field. The main difference between translation and transcreation lies in the fact that it is carried out by a writer, copy writer or copy editor. This means the process of transcreation requires a professional that is equipped to create new content.
But what makes it so different? Unlike translation, where the words in a message are replaced by their equivalents in a target language (while also respecting the general meaning) transcreation involves creating a whole new message that keeps the original intent, tone and style, but is more thoroughly adapted to a different culture. This means that some of the phrases or paragraphs may be restructured, and that the original words may not even be used at all.
How does it work exactly? Just like when you are writing a creative brief for a new marketing campaign in your source language, you need to provide the transcreator or linguistic services provider with a holistic brief describing the intent of your campaign and even your entire branding. This will allow the transcreator/s to adjust your content –whether it is a social media campaign, a rebranding project, a mobile app or a videogame- to the target user’s cultural environment. Because the content will follow the original intent, it will have the same effect in the target language.
Why is it the best tool for emotional content translation?
- Reason 1: You’ve probably already gathered this from the definition above. Transcreation aims to evoke, in the target audience, the same emotions as it originally did in the source language. This process is more encompassing than translating words and phrases to convey information in a different language. It is because of this complexity that you want to hire professionals with a specific skillset: creating content that can trigger a specific action in your audience.
- Reason 2: Transcreation doesn’t simply make the words effective in the target language. Because it is a holistic approach, it also involves adapting the visual environment of your text. As such, transcreators will also advise you on the best images, colors, icons and videos to go with your linguistic content. This is a little like not only adjusting the words you use in a face-to-face conversation, but also making sure your body language is appropriate for the situation. The message is made up of other elements aside from words, and transcreation deals with all of them.
- Reason 3: Transcreation is focused on transmitting your brand’s voice. Just like marketing strategies in your source language, in order to fully connect with your customer’s needs, aspirations and emotions, you must have a distinct voice and tone. Transcreation is the best way to ensure your voice is “heard” in a cross-cultural environment that differs from yours, because the transcreator will work to understand and recreate your intention. For example, you surely don’t want a customer to find you unprofessional or overfriendly in your approach. There are cultures where this line can be easily crossed by simply using a nickname instead of the person’s full name.
How does transcreation affect marketing?
Transcreation was first used in literary translation (the translation of poems, novels, plays, etc.), because it helped overcome the hurdle of linguistic ambiguity, especially when referring to emotions. Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges is known to have done extensive literary translation, and the key to his success was that the freedom to “play” with the target language in such a way that he could re-create the message, while keeping the original intent, nuance and style.
When localizing your brand’s logos, straplines, banners and other marketing content, this independence from the original words allows the transcreator to focus on creating equally engaging content in the target language. If we consider this applies to all types of content in the entire customer journey –from their first contact with your brand until they become a converted lead-, one can quickly grasp the enormous impact this tool can have in marketing.
In fact, transcreation is transforming the entire digital marketing environment. A transcreation service provider that can advise on all facets of content, from branding to the images and videos in social media campaign, is the ultimate strategic partner to your global business. And those are three (or more) reasons why transcreation is the best tool for your international marketing strategy.