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Starting your Transcreation Project

Before starting a transcreation project you should consider…

First of all, discuss the scope of the project with your Language Service Provider (LSP). The first question should be, does your project need transcreation or would a creative translation suffice? A press release, for example, needs to sound ‘local’ but sometimes doesn’t require full transcreation. Also, do you need the entire project transcreated, or just the key messages? For example, we highly recommend transcreating a punchy slogan, taglines and key messaging. However some copy — such as product descriptions — may not need it.

Find out more: Transcreation: the next level of Localisation

Find out more: How Translation and Transcreation differ

1. Why do you want transcreation — what are you hoping to achieve?

Every transcreation project starts with a brief. We need to understand the creative concept behind the campaign, and the reaction and/or action you are hoping to generate. Most importantly, we need to know who your target audience is. Your transcreator should understand cultural nuances in both languages, and understand the ‘spirit’ in which the original copy was created.

Begin by stating the goals of the transcreation project, for example:

  • Are you launching a product in a new market? 
  • Are you hoping to raise global brand awareness? 
  • Are you introducing your company, its core values and identity to a new audience? 
  • Is your intention simply to improve your SEO in the new market before launching your campaign?

2. Define specific goals for the copy

Consider the following questions:

  • What ideas, concepts and actions are you hoping to communicate with the copy?
  • What response or action are you hoping to trigger with the copy?
  • Do you want to maintain the same tone and ‘voice’ of the original text? And have you considered whether a different tone will better connect with your new market?
  • How formal is your style, and is that level of formality appropriate for the target market?
  • Should the copy be nuanced? Should it be humourous?
  • Does your target audience need any background context in order to understand the message?
  • Is there culture-specific messaging to be communicated?
  • Where will the copy appear?
  • Who are your main competitors within the target market?
  • For online content: have you finalised the SEO keywords that should be included?

NB. For effective and consistent SEO we strongly recommend creating and maintaining a glossary.

Find out more: How to create a Glossary or Terminology Database

3. Assess your budget and deadline

Since transcreation projects require a human touch they are, inevitably, more time consuming than translation. Transcreators will begin with thorough research into your current positioning and the target market, before moving onto the brief.

Your input in the project will be important, and sometimes copy will need to be re-worked. Keeping an open, proactive dialogue with your transcreators will be beneficial. Transcreators will usually offer a few alternative versions for key messaging, plus notes on the implications of each in the target language. This will help you to choose the best option to meet your brand objectives.

4. Improve the workflow

It’s helpful to consider details, such as whether there’s a character limit in any particular section of your website — by maintaining a word count you can avoid making alterations to the layout. Also, are there keywords that need to be included and have you already settled on the translation of these keywords?

It’s better if the source copy is finalised before you begin transcreation. Last minute changes can disrupt the process and the flow of the text, which could lead to delays and additional costs.

If you have a tight deadline, we recommend having the approval process in place — decide who will sign-off the final copy (marketing manager, brand manager or product manager) and minimise the number of people who will be involved. It can, after all, take a team of marketeers days, or even weeks, to finalise a tagline in their own native language! You should scale up that timeline exponentially for the second, or multiple, languages.

Contact us for more information

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