Transcreation – use the right words to woo your audience

“Content is king” is a mantra repeated by everyone dealing with marketing. Content marketing is nowadays the best lead generating strategy (see the statistics below) so marketing teams all around the world put much effort in creating good stories. Stories that are then translated into many languages and published on different markets. But for the truly convincing and multilingual pieces, translation needs to be taken one step further to become a transcreation.

Feel the words

When it comes to business, we love facts. Numbers, stats, graphs – that’s what makes every CEO smile! But customers… that’s a different story. When we’re about to buy something our brain doesn’t seem as much compelled by facts, as it is by creative narrative. It simply prefers an original story about how we can use a product or a service than a list of its properties. The facts should be set in a story and decorated with a context understandable to the customer.

The Internet opens borders more than anything else has before. In the times of such dynamic changes, your company needs a powerful language strategy to bloom outside your native market. In previous articles we mentioned the importance of right translation and localization strategies. How is transcreation different from translation and localization and what difference does it make?

The main goal of translation and localization is to convey a message in another language while adapting it to another culture and country. The changes in the text are usually not significant, even though sometimes they may be made to ensure that the text is understandable.

The main objective of transcreation is to ensure that the tone, context and purpose of a document are preserved. It’s more about conveying the idea. That’s why the text or graphics are likely to be changed or modified, sometimes to a large extent.

It’s often the case that during the whole process the source content is being recreated in order to keep the brand’s intent. It’s not being re-written from the scratch, but a transcreator has much more creative freedom than a translator. He/she is more like a bilingual copywriter than a translator, whose main goal is to keep the brand’s intent and the main idea behind the message. Translation, on the other hand, is not that flexible and focuses more on the right words than on emotions.

That’s why transcreation is usually used in marketing materials, like blog articles, e-mail marketing, website content etc. It’s a tool you can use to re-arrange your marketing strategy for a different market.

Local brand’s advantage

As we promised in the intro, here are some statistics proving that content indeed is king.

Now that we have proven that content marketing is effective and everyone believes in it, let’s talk about multilingual content. The statistics here don’t look as good:

As you can see, many brands already invest in content marketing, but it’s mostly focused on their native markets. Translated content is not as powerful as localized or transcreated one though.

Conclusion? Using the right content marketing strategy backed up with transcreation may give you an edge.  

When in Rome…

What you want to achieve is that your customer can’t say where you come from. Of course, that doesn’t apply to brands that want to strongly emphasize their country of origin as a part of their marketing strategy.

By looking like a local brand you can gain more trust among smaller communities. They are often more conscious about their native country than a big, international audience is. Content prepared specifically for such customers will be more appealing, thus it will sell better. Stay in the loop with local events, engage with small communities and transcreate your source content so that it’s more culturally-conscious. 

Judd Marcelo, a VP Marketing from Smartling, points out 4 strategies to achieve native brand experience:

  1. Meeting expectations – People buy more from accessible brands that are easy to engage with. They expect the ability to communicate smoothly with the brand and they want the whole experience to be effortless and fun.
  2. Providing content – Content based on context will gain you more sales. If you include local cultural references that the audience can refer to, your brand will look more familiar and reachable.
  3. Prioritizing cultural sensitivity – Writing a humorous, engaging piece may be the best option to reach your customer, but the joke’s on you if you offend him or her in the process. Remember that humor, beliefs and values differ from one culture to another. Transcreation will get you what you need in that case – cultural sensitivity.
  4. Delivering content that resonates – Your content marketing has basically one goal – to trigger emotions. So you need to do some research to know what kind of message will stick with the audience longer and then use it!

Read about the right language strategy for your social media too

Cultural background affects the way we think and the way we buy. On the one hand, we are somehow limited by the culture we were raised in and the language we speak. On the other hand –brands shouldn’t see language as a barrier, but rather as an opportunity to explore other people’s minds and behavioral patterns.

Transcreation enables your brand to cross the linguistic and cultural barriers and its only frames are your brand’s image and style of communication. With transcreation you’ll be able to preserve the message behind the creative work of your copywriters and properly engage your multilingual audience.

Believe us when we say — invest in transcreation, use the right words, and the world will be yours.


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