Have you spent valuable time managing the translation process and still been frustrated by poor quality or slow translations of your marketing content? Have your campaigns failed to achieve the results you anticipated, or resulted in negative feedback? Have your local market colleagues taken translations into their own hands?
Sounds like you’re taking the wrong approach to translation.
The good news is that you can deliver compelling campaigns on time, within budget and with your colleagues’ full support – simply by choosing the right approach.
This blog shares the secrets of getting your translations right from the start. And it all begins with the localisation spectrum…
Identifying content types
There are so many different types of marketing content that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing translation and localisation.
The localisation spectrum makes it easier than ever to find the right approach to your marketing. It features in our latest guide – Making every marketing communication count – and it’s an invaluable tool for helping you manage your global comms.
What is the localisation spectrum?
Before we answer that question, let’s clarify that we all understand the term ‘localisation’. When a translator converts individual words into another language, they produce a translation. Localisation takes the process one stage further by adapting the message to suit the local culture. This ensures that meaning and impact of the message is retained, so it has the same results in every language.
There are different degrees of localisation. At one end of the spectrum there’s highly emotive content. Designed to increase engagement, drive sales and change audience behaviour, this powerful content reflects and strengthens your brands. The cost of producing this original content may be high, but so is the expected return on investment (ROI).
Emotive content should be handled by translators with marketing expertise and sensitivity to ensure it resonates in every market. Localisation techniques used include transcreation and copywriting (see the graphic below).
At the other end of the spectrum we have content that’s designed to have less of an emotional impact. This factual content won’t change your audience’s behaviour immediately, so you need a more cost-effective way to translate it. Machine translation technology can be a good option when you need content translated quickly and accurately.
In the middle is content that requires a degree of localisation to ensure that it’s accurate, authentic and culturally appropriate, such as blogs, emails and website content.
The localisation spectrum can also help you work out the priorities of your translations. Often, translating emotive copy is a higher priority, especially for colleagues in local markets, because it’s more likely to change the behaviour of your audience and result in sales.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the various approaches.
Machine translation: low impact/more factual content
Technological advances have enabled machines to translate large volumes of content quickly, accurately and cheaply. A human translator (post-editor) can identify and resolve any overly literal translations of idioms or humour, to save embarrassment.
Professional translation: medium impact/non-emotive content
Professional native-speaking linguists with sector-specific expertise translate non-brand sensitive content. You can then ask your local market colleagues to proofread and offer suggestions for improvement. Over time, your translators will build up a style guide, glossary and translation memories to help them deliver consistent translations in tight deadlines.
Translation and proofreading: emotive/medium impact content
This combines the benefits of professional translation with the added reassurance of proofreading by a second native-speaking linguist with sector-specific experience. The result is a superior level of fluency and style, with the aim of ensuring the reader feels the message has been written just for their market.
Transcreation: emotive/medium to high impact content
Transcreation is a more advanced form of localisation. It gives professional translators the creative licence to adapt, revise and edit the source content to preserve the core meaning of the text for a new market. In essence, it’s the translation of ideas, not just words. It’s ideally suited for marketing content that’s motivational and highly targeted, such as slogans, taglines and headlines.
Copywriting: emotive/high impact copy
Sometimes even transcreation isn’t enough to help your copy hit the mark. If your copy is highly targeted at a source market, a new market could call for a different approach. A professional native-language copywriter can write new content that sparks an emotional response, helping to drive sales and build customer relationships.
How to put this into practice
While this guidance sounds straightforward on paper, it can be harder to put into practice. An experienced translation partner can help you choose the right approach.
They can also identify examples of when translating would be an unnecessary expense or could lessen your audience engagement. These include:
- When English terminology is routinely used worldwide
- When part of your brand’s appeal is market centric (for example, the appeal of a particularly British product may be its inherent Britishness)
- When certain demographics are used to watching or reading untranslated content
- When website content is out of date or irrelevant for a particular market
How can we help?
If you struggle to deliver compelling translations in every language, why not download our new, FREE guide – Making every marketing communication count. It’s crammed full of practical tips to help you collaborate effectively with your local markets and translation partner.
For advice and help with translating your content into over 200 languages, call us on +44 (0)1926 335681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.