Marketing translations

Transcreation: Five tips for the path to a successful international campaign

Transcreation, the targeted creative adaptation of content into other languages and cultures, enables marketing specialists at global companies to think big, and keep the actual effort involved at a manageable level. Advertising messages and marketing materials can be accurately and attractively transferred and used in a targeted way worldwide without needing to engage international network agencies or local advertising agencies. Our five tips for transcreation projects show which factors are important.

Transcreation makes international campaigns strike the right note, if you do it right

Whether the text is being used as a claim or slogan, or for advertisements, brochures or websites, instead of rewriting marketing content for each target market, transcreation adapts it to the specific needs and expectations of the target country, culture, target group and market segment. The intention, style and tone are maintained to convey the same message and achieve the same effect as the original.

We have already covered the basics of transcreation for international campaigns. Now follow our tips for implementing it into your own processes and making it a success.

#1 Integrate transcreation when planning your campaign

Advertising can have a lasting impact on a company’s image and has a significant influence on the reputation and prominence of its products, and this also applies abroad. Therefore, international advertising campaigns need to be tailored to the target market.

During transcreation, the content that has been developed is accurately and attractively transferred into the relevant target language and the cultural context of the target market and target group. This ensures that everything lives up to the cost and effort that went into organising the source text, without compromising the text’s impact or even the brand.

Having to correct or adapt the text later, as was the case with Pepsi’s faux pas in China, can be very costly and time-consuming and so should be ruled out from the outset.

#2 Define the target country and target group

Admittedly, classic advertising words such as target group, conquest, etc. are martial, as they originate from military strategy (“campaign” related to military campaigns), but this line of thinking serves its purpose: You want to be successful in a new territory, so analyse it in advance. Who is the target group? What are their preferences and idiosyncrasies?

Pay attention to language and culture from the beginning. For example, if your campaign is for Brazil, neither the cultural nor the language skills should come from Portugal. Although both countries speak Portuguese, there are clear differences. And the closer they get to the target group, the more important they become.

#3 Be critical when choosing a transcreation service provider

It is your ambitious campaign, they are your ambitious goals, so, when implementing them, you also need partners that help you to achieve them. So look carefully, and check your translation service provider as well. For example, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the service provider have sufficient experience in transcreation?

  • Have they completed successful projects?

  • Do they have transcreators or creative translators in all the desired languages?

  • Do they have a good command of the language of the source text and are they aware of the cultural conditions of the source country?

  • Do they understand the language, culture and mentality of the target country and target group and can they provide appropriate linguistic stimuli?

A competent and suitable translation and transcreation service provider must be able to provide fundamental and comprehensive advice and guide you through all the details.

#4 Take careful aim, as early as the briefing stage

Create a briefing with the basic messages, preferences (tone, approach) and the impact you want your campaign to achieve. After all, these apply both in the target country or target market and in the home or source country.
It is usually created as a creative brief for designers and copy writers when you begin planning your campaign; it can easily be turned into a transcreation brief.

If no creative brief is available or the details are not clear, this is the time to start looking for support from your translation and transcreation service provider. They can tell you from experience which subtleties must be observed and which specifications are required to achieve the desired result.

#5 Involve transcreators early and plan with enough time

As with planning and implementing the initial campaign, a good transcreation is a creative and, therefore, time-consuming process. Native-speaker transcreators and marketing experts should deliver a coherent and functional translation in the target language, taking into account all cultural characteristics and conditions.

In addition, the transcreation process requires intensive cooperation between the company and the language service provider. It is common for the project management team, transcreators and clients to have to consult with one another and for text proposals to go back and forth several times before they are finally approved.

In order to achieve the intended impact, the content must appear unique, as if it has been written as a new piece in the target country and not just translated well. A transcreation that has been created with due care will not take as much time as creating the campaign, but it will take more time than a specialised translation. So give your creativity free rein here as well.

We explain how you can take advantage of transcreation and other marketing translation options effectively using our Services or as part of an initial one-to-one consultation.

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