If you’re looking to develop an international marketing strategy or expand your business into a new foreign market, then you have likely already thought about getting your content translated. However, if you want to communicate with your new target audiences effectively and get the most return on your investment (ROI), then you might want to consider transcreation instead.
Don’t get us wrong, translation is incredibly useful and should be celebrated for all the ways it continues to open up international dialogues this International Translation Day. However, if you want translation and marketing to come together, then transcreation is your answer.
What is Transcreation?
Transcreation is the combination of translation and creation. Whilst translation means the literal word for word transcription of your copy from one language to another, transcreation keeps your original text in mind but adapts the new version to capture the full nuance of a language. It considers everything from cultural differences, context, idioms, figures of speech and even SEO if done for marketing.
Why Should You Consider Transcreation
Transcreation keeps the essence of what you want to communicate but adapts your copy to give it the best chance of appealing to your new target audiences. But why is this important, surely a simple translation will get your main point across? Unfortunately, it’s rarely that straight forward.
Here are the various elements that make transcreation our preferred option.
Tone of voice and branding
You want your content to reflect who you are as brand and convey your tone of voice, just as you do in the native version of your site. Direct translations can often be clunky and unable to capture the real ‘emotion’ behind your content. However, transcreation keeps the essence of your messaging but considers the different idioms, slang or colloquialisms which will help to make your copy sound more natural.
Accounting for cultural differences
Different countries have different cultures, these can be subtle differences, or they can be profound. You want to make sure your content reflects these unique qualities and considers everything from the differences in everyday life to political, religious, historical and financial backdrops and much more.
As users become increasingly aware and sceptical about inauthentic marketing, any face level campaigns, or worse, campaigns or content perceived as having a lack of respect for heritage, beliefs and values could be incredibly damaging for your brand.
A good transcreation specialist should be aware and have an in-depth knowledge of the culture of the country you are targeting to help you with this and adapt your copy accordingly.
Closely related to culture, interests and needs for your products or services may differ from country to country as well. Unlike translation, transcreation will account for these market differences and a specialist will tailor your content or advise you on how you might want to adapt your marketing strategy.
For example, the target user for robotic vacuums in the US or UK are generally considered to be of a more tech-forward, affluent millennial. However, in Japan the market is much more open as they are used to having technology in their home at early stages, and a robotic vacuum cleaner is seen as more of an everyday item. Therefore, a simple translation of all the tech details included in your UK copy won’t be enough to help it compete in the Japanese market and instead your copy should be transcreated to focus on the day-to-day benefits of the product such as cleanliness and efficiency.
Deciphering search intent
Following on from context, transcreation is also crucial for understanding search intent. For example, “tortilla” in Spain is typically a dish made out of eggs and potatoes but in Latin America a “tortilla” is a wrap. Both speak the same language, but the meaning of the word is completely different.
This can be applied to words but also to different cultural norms, interests, pastimes and so on. Therefore, transcreation can be thought of as a country or even regional specific translation, whereas translation often only considers the language.
Targeting the correct keywords
If you want your copy to be optimised for search engines, then transcreation is crucial. Keywords, search volumes and competitiveness will differ from country to country. That’s why all our transcreators are multilingual copywriters and SEO specialists, so that your content is targeting the keywords with the most opportunity and that those keywords are appearing naturally within the copy, rather than being forced into a direct translation as an afterthought.
Use this data in combination with an understanding and analysis of search intent and transcreation can help you to create quality content, which in turn improves both SEO and user experience.
So, as you can see, there are many reasons why you should consider transcreation over translation. Of course, translation is still immensely valuable and can convey information, open up international dialogues and bring nations together.
However, when it comes to marketing and SEO, transcreation should be the obvious choice. In essence, the same attention, research and care that went into writing your native content, should be given to your new market if you want to achieve the same levels of success.
For more help, get in touch today to find out more about our transcreation services and multilingual copywriting in over 35 languages!
Photo Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya