When translating marketing materials, the linguists you choose play a key role in whether or not your global marketing campaign will be successful. The quality of your translations can make or break a campaign, impacting your ability to engage local audiences.
Whether it’s advertising copy, video subtitles or voice-overs, websites, mobile apps, or point of sale material, what you say and how you say it has never mattered more.
So how do you select the right linguists for your campaign? And more importantly, how do you avoid translation mishaps? Read on to find out.
Identify the type of linguists you need for your project
Deciding which type of linguist is best suited to your project is the first step you must take to ensure that your campaign resonates with your target audiences.
Linguists can work as independent freelancers, for a translation/copywriting agency, or operate through a global creative production company agency like ours.
With that in mind, here are the different types of linguists you might choose to work with:
A transcreation specialist will adapt your source text according to your brand strategy, market insights, and the cultural nuances of your target market. At Freedman, we use transcreation for creative marketing content that aims to convince or provoke an emotion in the target audience.
We recommend working with a transcreation specialist if you’re producing creative content such as taglines and banner headlines.
A technical translator is a linguist with specialist knowledge and experience translating text belonging to technical fields, such as IT, medicine, and law. Formats can include manuals, detailed specifications, and legal extracts.
A strong technical translator will have mastered the terminology and writing conventions of the subject and use tools such as technical dictionaries/glossaries to strike the perfect balance between the source text and target terms.
Copywriters produce copy from scratch based on a creative brief, without any source text, for the purpose of advertising and marketing. The copy is written to persuade a target audience to buy a product or influence their behaviour, meaning the tone and content can differ from one market to another.
Examples of work copywriters can produce for your brand include taglines, banner ads and TV scripts, web page content, and press releases.
How to find the right linguist for your marketing campaign
There are several sites where linguists across all languages offer their service. The most popular ones include Translators Cafe, Traduguide, and Aquarius. Here you can post jobs, find a translator, find a translation agency, and more.
Before diving into any translation sites, you should be a) crystal-clear of your requirements and b) willing to spend time searching for a linguist with the right skillset.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Choose a linguist whose mother tongue is your target language and who lives in the market. Language is always evolving, so your linguist should ideally be immersed in the language and up to date with any cultural nuances.
- Don’t advertise your rates. Instead, wait for the linguist to provide theirs and then negotiate if necessary. Linguists prefer not to have rates imposed upon them, and an open approach shows you’re serious about finding the right linguist for the job.
- Choose a linguist with proven experience undertaking similar projects.
- Prioritise linguists who are available for long-term projects.
At Freedman, we take pride and care in selecting linguists who are experts in their field to ensure your campaign packs a punch on launch day. To learn more about how we transcreate and localise campaigns, click here.
Testing the linguists’ ability to translate marketing materials
We recommend preparing a marketing translation test for your chosen linguists. This is a great way to assess whether they’re a good fit for the job at hand. You should ideally have a pool of 3-5 suitable linguists who are willing to carry out a test translation. Make sure each candidate shares their CV, contact details, rates, CAT tool information, and details of relevant experience.
To test them, send each candidate a document in the target language that’s representative of the type of copy they’d be working on if chosen. To accompany this, you should also share some brand-approved marketing reference material in the target language. This should be no more than 250 words long and include the corresponding English copy.
Assessing the translation test
To assess the candidates’ translation tests, be sure to have a checklist nearby containing skills to look out for.
We recommend paying particular attention to:
- Technical style and accuracy. Did the linguist adhere to client-specific terms and make use of their glossary? (If available.)
- Grammar and spelling. Is the translation error-free throughout? It goes without saying that any glaring errors are a no-go when it comes to choosing the right linguist.
- Reliability. Did the linguist follow instructions and meet the translation test deadline? Were they responsive and professional in their communications?
All of these factors provide a good indication of a) how good your marketing material translations will be if you choose to work with them and b) what the linguist is like to work with.
By partnering with Freedman to deliver your next global marketing campaign, we’ll select the best translators and transcreation specialists for your project from our talented and diverse pool of linguists to ensure your message is received in your target markets exactly as intended. Get in touch to discuss your content localisation needs.