Translation Technology for Marketing; supporting the transcreation process
Translation Technology for Marketing; supporting the transcreation process illustration

Translation Technology for Marketing

When it comes to translating marketing content, the standard translation process – translating, editing, and proofreading – is often inadequate to effectively express the idea contained in the marketing and brand messaging in another language and for another culture. While a professionally executed standard translation will scrupulously ensure semantic and linguistic accuracy in the target language, it may fail to pinpoint and render the emotional impact that is enclosed in the message of the source content.

The Internet is full of anecdotes about marketing translation blunders made by major companies who launched their products and campaigns on global markets without taking into account cultural factors. As amusing as these blunders may be for most readers, more often than not, they leave a negative impression on the company’s reputation and its brand.

Supporting the transcreation process

To ensure a successful brand launch and a memorable impression on the global market, marketing translating requires transcreation, which is a process that goes beyond the standard linguistic approach by combining translation and creative writing skills. To deliver meaningful, engaging, and emotional content that appeals to the target audience, transcreators must have an excellent knowledge of the source and target languages and a comprehensive understanding of how the marketing and brand messaging will be perceived in the target culture. Transcreators must be able to recognize the tone of voice in the original text and assess if the same tone can be maintained in the target language without any negative outcome. For example, a casual tone may be perfectly acceptable in one culture but may be perceived as offensive or unprofessional in another. Transcreators must also be able to detect humor, puns, and figures of speech in the source text and assess if the intended emotional and rhetorical effects can be rendered in the target language. And if the same effect cannot be rendered, transcreators must be able to find a way to either adapt the content without losing the intended message or change it entirely to suitably fit the targeted culture and audience.

Clearly, the theme that emerges from the translation can be very different from the original idea, while maintaining the same intent. Such significant changes in the translated message are crucial to the successful launch of products and campaigns in a foreign market and can therefore only be made in close cooperation with the client–more precisely with the marketing communication team. Continuous communication between the transcreation team and the client marketing team is a key success factor in the transcreation process. Marketing translation projects require in-depth proactive planning with the client; a thorough briefing on the marketing initiative and the communication objectives with all stakeholders on both sides; a detailed analysis of the marketing content to assess the translatability of the content, detect possible pitfalls, and decide on a suitable theme that reflects the idea of the source message; and several rounds of edits, reviews, and approvals before the final acceptance of the translated content.

Clearly, transcreation is a time-consuming and expensive process. It is an initiative that cannot be considered a mere afterthought in the marketing process, but must be carefully planned well in advance, even in the development phase of the marketing initiative. A comprehensive evaluation of the marketing translation requirements, a reliable and effective translation approach, continuous communication, and an organized execution plan are critical to the success of the campaign.

XTM and transcreation

The XTM Translation Management System (TMS) supports the transcreation process through its powerful alternative translations functionality.
This functionality was designed by XTM in conjunction with a leading marketing firm. It enables a marketing translator to propose multiple target translations per source string with a rationale for each target translation.
Another translator can then enter a corresponding back translation. This allows the client/reviewer to seamlessly select the preferred transcreation either directly in XTM Editor or from an Excel file. Once these multiple translations have been reviewed and the preferred transcreation selected, they will be saved to the translation memory for future re-use.

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