Some content is considered untranslatable, and it happens in marketing more than in any other line of business. Brand communication is at the core of marketing strategy and helps keep all other marketing actions in line. But once you translate your content into a new language, that brand communication can get diluted and lead to your identity being inconsistent throughout your markets. Or worse, your brand can become laughing stock. How do you avoid that?
First, you need to figure out what you need. It can be hard with so many buzzwords in the language market and each company selling it differently. So let’s keep it short and simple: transcreation is what you need for your high-level marketing materials, such as taglines, brand or product names, one-liners and ads. Don’t let anyone fool you that your blog posts need to be transcreated, cause they don’t. They might need some transcreation-ish effort here and there but keep your eyes peeled for companies that try to sell transcreation as more fancy marketing translation.
For longer texts, even written in your brand’s specific voice, it’s enough to run a creative review on something that has been translated by a marketing linguist. Why? Cause the creative reviewer = copywriter and can make the copy on-brand without overdoing it with lengty processes, back translations and a huge price tag.
The hard part that no one likes: briefing. Whether you are going for transcreation of your brand tagline or just a creative review of your marketing brochure, this part will never change. Linguists working on your content need as much information as the people creating it had. You have expectations towards your content in source, and you have every right to have expectations for it in the target language. Just speak up! Are you selling affordable flights and want to steer away from using the word cheap? Is your content pun heavy and you want to keep it that way? Or maybe your client base speaks L33t more than any other language (we secretly hope they don’t, cause that’d be crazy to work on!)? Explain in detail what your brand stands for in your source language, the more the less in-market reviewers you have for those new languages. A well-prepped company selling language services will know how to turn this into actionable and clear instructions for their linguists.
Learning curve and preferences are a thing. If you decide to commit to working with a company, they will need feedback from you. It can happen that what you said in the brief was not applicable to the market they’ve been working on and they figured out something new. Don’t like it? Doesn’t really sound like your brand? Sometimes it’s small things that need to be changed, sometimes it will take some time and effort to get to the point where you’re happy with the voice your new market uses. Either way, share your thoughts and if you decide to introduce edits to what has been delivered, send them over. Allow some time to learn and see if your feedback is taken into account.
Working with creative content in new languages can be a painstaking task. Choose a company that is able to give you a clear overview of the process and is able to advise on best options for your content. Be prepared to answer questions and share information – the more, the better results will be.