Ask a Specialist: 3 Transcreation and Localisation Tips to Ensure Smooth Implementation

You’re adapting marketing content for a new market, but don’t know where to start?

You already know that a simple word-for-word translation can dilute or change the meaning of your original message, with potentially far-reaching consequences for your campaign.

Your search for a solution has led you to localisation and transcreation to make sure your campaign hits the mark, but getting these things right is a whole other ball game.

At Freedman, we hear you. Our language experts work with globally recognised brands every day to help their messaging strike the right tone in local markets around the world. To help you achieve the same quality, we caught up with Elisa Corso, one of our transcreation managers, to get the inside track on what successful transcreation and localisation really looks like.

Here are Elisa’s top three transcreation and localisation tips to ensure smooth implementation:

1. Select the right local writer

Each language presents its own set of cultural challenges, and whether you’re grappling with idioms, proverbs, or puns, we know that humour doesn’t necessarily translate across countries. Take KFC, for example, who accidentally translated their slogan ‘Finger lickin’ good’ to ‘We’ll eat your fingers off’ when they branched into China in 1987.

Assigning your copy to a translator without providing them with a thorough understanding of the campaign idea can result in a word-for-word translation that doesn’t convey your intended message.

As meanings can vary significantly, working with translators who are experts in their field is key. Technical expertise isn’t enough, either, as they should ideally be immersed in the local market you’re targeting and have a strong understanding of colloquialisms and cultural nuances.

To avoid your message becoming lost in translation, we recommend choosing a native speaker with solid writing skills who can transcreate your original source text. It’s also a good idea to provide them with a detailed brief and reference material, and make yourself available to answer any campaign-specific questions they might have along the way.

Related Read: Global vs Local Marketing — Where Things Get Sticky

2. Consider the target languages

So, you’ve identified the countries in which you’d like to launch your campaign, but have you stopped to consider how your message will actually appear in those languages?

Consider how your tagline will translate, by taking into account character width and character line height when formatting text for local markets. For instance, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters are wider and longer than Latin characters. This type of translation will result in a larger and longer script.

Did you know? When translating subtitles, the recommended number of lines is two with 36-50 characters per line for European markets.

Overlooking this will affect how your campaign appears visually and could even dilute its meaning.

It’s also important to take screen space and design limitations into account for mobile apps, websites, and Adwords campaigns — not to mention readability when it comes to banners.

Related Read: How to Avoid Getting ‘Lost in Translation’

3. Bring in specialists to ensure a smooth roll out

At Freedman, we’re here to help you take your campaign global, leaving your creative team to focus on the big idea.

We can select the right in-market linguists for your localisation project, from our extensive global pool of writers.

What’s more, our brand incubation service puts translators/transcreators directly in contact with your business, enabling them to become ambassadors for your brand and ensure your campaign’s message remains consistent.

We’ll educate you on best practice for the localisation, production, and distribution of your global campaign. We’ll quality check every single asset, whether it’s video, print, web content, or digital banners, to ensure your campaign works locally in the required format.

We’ll also help you keep your project on track, flag any potential issues early on, and provide innovative solutions. All we ask is that you remain open to our advice to ensure your campaign can be implemented smoothly.

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