Marketing materials pose a particular challenge to companies that want to sell their products or services to new language markets. Some typical concerns are:
How do you ensure that your translated materials maintain the impact of the original?
How do you name products, translate idioms and maintain consistency across languages without having to launch brand new marketing campaigns for each market (just thinking of all the costs — new creative, photography and production — can make a marketing person cringe).
The answer is marketing “transcreation” — the process of linguistic and cultural translation that makes marketing make sense whatever the target language (or languages).
Here is a quick three-step guide to generate the best marketing translations possible so your products sell just as well in Buenos Aires as they do in Beijing or Boston.
Step 1: assess your original campaign and content. Evaluate the goals of the campaign and, if the campaign is already in a market, look closely at the concepts, graphics and headlines to assess their cultural relevance and appropriateness in the target market. Selecting concepts, copy and graphic elements that work across cultures is key to the campaign’s success.
Step 2: hire a qualified localization team (of course we’re going to advocate this!). Work with a team that has a rich understanding of the source and target languages. Make sure the linguists are in-country and have extensive experience with your particular industry, in addition to exertise in transcreation itself.
Step 3: create a transcreation brief. This document summarizes your company, product and campaign so that all teams understand the nuances of the language and business needs. It specifies the target audience (age, lifestyle, behavior, etc.) and the thought process that has gone into producing the original text. It also includes clarification on branded terms that should stay in English or have pre-determined translations.
After step three, the localization team takes over and begins the translation and transcreation process, working with you along the way to ensure the best possible, and most appropriate marketing translation for each of your target markets.