Eight Ways to Transform Global Digital Campaigns with Transcreation

welocalize October 3, 2017

Global organizations are seeing billions of users searching and accessing branded content and information online. More than 3 billion people are now using the internet – nearly half the world’s population. Many users are moving through the full e-commerce cycle to purchase online. This makes the provision of online targeted marketing material crucially important for any global business.

Culturally adapting and translating content is one of the most important and growing considerations for CMOs, product managers and high-level marketing strategists. Every stop of the global journey contains content and information from legal and patent information, health and safety compliance information through to digital marketing campaigns. Different localization techniques are used across the entire journey: translation, transcription, interpretation, multilingual SEO and social amplification, localization testing and transcreation.

Transcreation is a content creation technique used in globalization and localization. It involves highly skilled linguistic copywriters transforming content from one culture to another. Transcreation takes the main theme and concept from the source content and recreates copy and information adapted for target language markets. It is an integral part of the overall global digital marketing process because what captures one cultures attention can be off-putting to another.

Transcreation does not just involve re-writing content, but also considers SEO localization and other online marketing campaign techniques to ensure the right message reaches the right people and achieves the desired result.

Here are eight tips from Welocalize on how to achieve successful transcreation:

  • CULTURAL ADAPTATION: Many people see translation as the way to communicate and reach global markets. But each local market not only speaks a different language, they will also have different traditions, religions, customs, social and purchasing behavior and many more traits that vary. For certain content, such as user generated content (UGC), it is enough to just translate, send through machine translation (MT) to simply understand the overall gist of the content. For high-level marketing and advertising campaigns, content must be tailored for each target market. A translator can translate from one language to another, but a linguistic copywriter can transform content from one culture to another. 
  • GET TO KNOW THE BRAND + GOALS: It is so important for the language service provider and client to understand each other, align and work towards a common goal. This involves investment from both parties at the start of the relationship and ongoing communication to achieve global teamwork. Welocalize takes part in many educational and training courses with clients to ensure teams are familiar with marketing objectives, desired user experience, creative components, existing marketing assets and quality expectations. 
  • SELECT APPROPRIATE CONTENT: Not all content is created equal. Certain content must be polished requiring intense quality checks due to the expected high impact, other types of content simply need translating so the overall message can be understood, for example, social listening. Deciding which content will go through a transcreation process is important for planning and budgeting. Regulatory content types such as technical, legal and compliance information require subject matter expertise and accuracy and must stay true to the source. Global marketing and advertising campaigns are suited to transcreation – content must retain key brand and product attributes, but specific copy detail can be changed to suit local preferences. Deciding the right techniques for the various content types is an important part of a localization strategy.
  • DELIVERY PLATFORMS: How and where will the content be read? On a mobile? In a printed manual? On a desktop? Knowing how and where you expect users to consume your content is also a key consideration for transcreation. Developing multilingual banner adverts for a desktop will have different spacing considerations than those intended for a mobile device. It will also affect the way keywords are used for SEO purposes.
  • MULTLINGUAL SEO: Transforming content from one culture to another is one step of the transcreation process. Making sure that content is found is next. Different countries and cultures have different search engines and search habits. Someone in America will have different search terms to someone searching in Germany or China. 1.17 billion people use Google Search but leading Chinese search engine, Baidu answers more search queries in China than any other search engine in any other market, including Goggle in the US.
  • IMAGES + GRAPHICS: Advertising and creative agencies often use graphics and images to convey brand messages. A skilled linguistic copywriter can adapt content, but if the image is seen as offensive in certain markets, then a campaign will fail. Many global marketing blunders can be avoided by considering localization right at the planning stage – when the source is being developed. It is important for marketers and creative agencies to consider future markets when establishing a brand and campaign. The same applies for the use of color – certain colors represent different meanings for different cultures.
  • HUMOR: It is very hard to drive a humorous digital marketing campaign across multiple markets and cultures. Humor is one of the main characteristic that differ across cultures. It is best avoided if content is being used for a global campaign.
  • LINGUISTIC COPYWRITERS: Using qualified and experienced linguistic copywriters is crucial for global marketing success. A professional translator may be able to produce 100% accuracy for certain content types, but for content such as digital marketing, in addition to native language skills and knowledge, the writer needs a level of creativity and marketing acumen for transcreation to ensure content is transformed, not just adapted.

Welocalize and Adapt Worldwide work with many Fortune 500 brands to develop online digital marketing strategies and campaigns in over 250 languages. Click here for more information.

Written by Louise Law, Global Communication Manager at Welocalize