How Transcreation is Different from Translation

Developing content that suits multiple markets, languages and cultures involves several techniques and skills. Many people don’t realize that launching a product globally is not simply a case of translating content from one language to another. Behind every global brand, there’s a team of translators, interpreters, transcribers, testers, linguistic copywriters and SME experts making sure that every piece of content, at every stop of the global journey, is relevant and culturally appropriate.

One area that often requires further explanation is the difference between translation and transcreation. Both techniques are integral to the overall localization process but there are fundamental differences between the two. Here are some of the main areas where the two differ:

CONTENT TYPE: There is so much content involved in bringing a brand to market. From patent documentation through to digital marketing content, each content type suits different localization techniques, often depending on impact. For content requiring high levels of accuracy, professional translation is used, which is supported by the relevant QA and review process. Content types such as compliance and regulatory information and technical manuals are suited to human translation. Translated output must remain close and true to the source content. For content types, such as digital marketing materials and high visibility marketing copy, such slogans, taglines, and adverts etc., linguistically translating from one language to another is not enough. The source content must be recreated to suit a local market and culture using transcreation. The overall brand concept is retained, but actual words and design features are changed and adapted.

THE TALENT: Translation is carried out by qualified and certified translators. For transcreation projects, this involves the talent of a linguistic copywriter who not only has in-depth knowledge of the target language and culture, but is also a skilled creative writer. The background and qualifications of a translators and linguistic copywriter will differ. The right translator or copywriter will depend on the content and the product itself. Translators often need subject matter expertise (SME) and copywriter will often have specialist experience in certain vertical sectors.

BRIEF VERSUS SOURCE: For translation projects, translators receive the source documents, with instruction, access to the relevant translation memory and terminology management and sometimes, in-context information. For transcreation, the team receives a creative brief which outlines the desired outcomes including target market, demographics and any relevant branding and style guidelines they need to adhere to.

HOURS NOT WORDS: Translation projects are typically priced based on word count. Transcreation projects are billed by the hour, and costs vary depending on the skill and experience of the linguistic copywriter and designer assigned to the project.

CONCEPTS AND DESIGNWORK: Translators work with words. Linguistic copywriters work with concepts which may involve words and design elements. Translation projects often go through a DTP checking process if there are diagrams or tables in the source content that may have altered during the translation process. For transcreation projects, certain visual elements may have to be recreated to suit a new market.

REVIEW PROCESS: For many translation projects, there is a defined review process involving in-country and third-party reviewers. Any reviewer will be a native speaker, with access to the source and will review the translated output against the source and agreed Service Language Agreements (SLAs). For transcreation, much of the output is subjective therefore reviewers will often be stakeholders who are close to the product itself and the creation of the source campaign.

SEO CONSIDERATIONS: Transcreation is often used to develop multilingual digital marketing campaigns. There is no point developing a creatively brilliant campaign if no one can find it. Transcreation doesn’t just apply to the actual campaign content, but is also the technique used to develop SEO strategies. The transcreation team must put themselves in the shoes of the local user and consider how they would search for certain products and services. SEO is an integral part of transcreation.

For more information on Welocalize multilingual digital marketing services, click here.

Written by Louise Law, Welocalize Global Communications Manager

The Culturalization of Global Content: Translation and SEO

When Two Worlds Collide

by Huw Aveston and Andrea Barp, Adapt Worldwide

Worlds CollideIn today’s global and digital economy, visibility is crucial for success, on a local, national and global scale. This process of localization consists of three parts: translation, culturalization and visibility optimization. Content must be readable, targeted, accessible and searchable.

This is where nuanced multilingual digital marketing comes in. A key component of digital marketing is SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which can be split into two primary areas: SEO (organic search) and PPC (paid search). While the organic links are “free,” meaning at least no direct costs, the sponsored PPC links are much like any other marketing campaign. Every time a sponsored link is followed by a user, a fee is paid to the host search engine: pay-per-click.

For years, even some of the world’s largest companies have straight-translated PPC campaigns. Although only three short lines of content are visible within the search results, there is a major discrepancy in click-through rate (CTR) when comparing these straight-translations with a digital marketer’s culturally optimized content. Clicks equal visits, visits equal conversions and conversions equal positive ROIs.

SEO is all about visibility and getting your site on that all-important first page of search results for your key phrases. There are innumerable factors that affect organic search and rankings. On-page SEO on the other hand is, and will always be, the cornerstone of the practice. As many companies are learning, this cannot be provided by translation of pre-existing sites alone. The culturalization element is a necessity. People might be searching for cheap hotels in Dublin, but do not assume they are searching for lētas viesnīcas in Riga (that’s “cheap hotels” in Latvian).

It is also important to note that the whole world does not revolve around Google search engine. Translation agencies are now working hand-in-hand with expert SEM teams to target market-specific search engines, such as Chinese web search engine, Baidu and South Korean search portal, Naver, to provide Western brands with a fast-road into the East. This revolves around the perfect storm of translation, culturalization and search market expertise.

In today’s world, traditional marketing techniques are becoming increasingly less effective, and content marketing is becoming more and more popular. In essence, content marketing is about attracting customers with valuable and interesting content to provide knowledge and create brand empathy. The notion of brand as thought leader and sector confidant has proven incredibly successful within the new digital world. It’s an ongoing process very different from traditional one-off sale pitches.

In the modern search landscape, content marketing is one of the most important tools for search engine marketers. Content marketing is a democratic discipline and if you have good visible content, people will vote for you. As a result of this, culturalization has also become an increasingly important tool for those serious about profitably entering into foreign markets. Creating content that appeals to the widest audience while simultaneously providing a personal voice, through tone and excellent culturalization, provides an excellent opportunity for incredibly positive ROIs. Making content accessible across markets through this process is no longer take-it-or-leave-it but a clear necessity.

The newest form of SEM is App Store Optimization – SEO for mobile apps. Brands and developers have for years been creating one global version of their app, usually in English in-app and in the app store listings. We’re constantly surprised when we see major brands making such elementary errors, even though the costs are low and the benefits are gargantuan. This is poor practice, both from a user (conversion optimization) and search (visibility) perspective. All of the major app stores, from Google Play and iOS to Windows Phone and Amazon, allow developers to highly optimize and target their app’s listing (inclusive of keywords) within markets. It’s a two-part process:

  1. The user has to be able to discover the app in the first place (ideally through branded and non-branded search).
  2. The SEO must then engage the user enough to get them to download, through culturally and personally relevant content.

Apps, like any other content, should always be culturally optimized for every target market: the only way to strengthen brand engagement and recognition.

The days of SEM and translation existing in two separate worlds is coming to a natural end. Companies looking to venture into new markets or operate more effectively in markets they’re already in, are realizing that culturalization is no longer a luxury – it’s fast becoming a quick win. Global brands need to include SEM and SEO as an integral part of their localization strategy. The culturalization of content via experts represents the future of multilingual digital marketing.

Huw & Andrea

Huw AvestonAndrea Barp
Adapt Worldwide is a Welocalize multilingual digital marketing agency and experts in the cultural adaptation of content across multiple digital channels. Huw Aveston is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Adapt Worldwide. Andrea Barp is Translation Director at Adapt Worldwide.


Supporting Ciena on the Global Journey with Translation, Transcription and Interpretation

A Welocalize Case Study

Ciena® Corporation is a network strategy and technology company, supporting more than 1,300 of the world’s largest, most reliable networks. Since 2011, Welocalize has delivered a wide range of language services to Ciena, including the localization of marketing datasheets, e-learning, legal and compliance content.

READ MORE: Ciena and Welocalize Case Study

Ciena publishes a wide and diverse range of content to support the global distribution of their products. Continuous innovation and product development to deliver next-generation networks results in high volumes of multiple content types, from digital marketing and datasheets through to compliance and in-depth e-learning materials. Ciena has an internal global localization team to manage translation, but when demand increases, it relies on Welocalize as the go-to localization partner to quickly scale up to support the program.

Welocalize provides excellent support for Ciena’s globalization and localization strategy. Whatever the content type or requirement, the Welocalize team has the skill, scale, agility, experience and talent to meet our requirements and help us deliver localized materials across the whole business.” said Julio Leal, Head of Localization at Ciena

Due to the long-term nature of the partnership, Welocalize teams fully understand the Ciena brand, tone of voice and product range, which enables full cultural adaptation as well as linguistic translation, including:

  • Translation of legal and compliance content including “for information purposes only” documentation for internal stakeholders and employees
  • Transcription and translation of product marketing datasheets + digital marketing assets
  • Multimedia localization including voiceover work
  • Simultaneous interpretation services

Clients Benefits

  • Balance of in-house & outsourced localization model
  • Global teamwork
  • Cultural adaptation of Ciena brand
  • Consistency of talent
  • Full range of localization services across all content types
  • Trusted, collaborative relationship
  • Flexible, scalable approach


Your global journey is our purpose. Welocalize seamlessly supports all globalization and localization initiatives. From protecting intellectual property and registering innovative patents in multiple geographies, right through to supporting go-to-market digital marketing strategies containing SEO, high impact brand materials and user generated content. For more information on how we can help you on your global journey, email

Eight Ways to Optimize Efficiency and Cost in Technical Translations

As global organizations publish and manage higher volumes of content, optimizing efficiency is a key element to any successful localization program. Companies are continuously looking to manage translation budgets, including the area of technical documentation. There is little compromise when it comes to quality and accuracy for technical content, but there are still many ways to streamline translation activities to optimize cost and efficiency.

Welocalize works with many leading global organizations that publish technical documentation and, as a result, has identified a number of areas where organizations can get more out of their budget without impacting overall quality.

ONE: Check Language Selection. For every target locale, check the relevancy. If products don’t sell in certain markets and English is acceptable, then stop translating into languages that aren’t working. Certain languages that in the past have always been included on the list may no longer be relevant. Challenge the comment “But we’ve always done it that way.”

TWO: Is Content Being Used? Identify certain technical and marketing documentation that may not be currently in use. Bringing together technical authoring and marketing teams helps to identify content that adds and does not add value to the overall strategy. If a piece of documentation is not adding value, don’t waste translation resources on it.

THREE: Don’t Re-Write Source Technical Documents Unless You Have To. Style is often subjective. Therefore, try to limit any changes in the source content to hard facts and data. Reuse existing content if possible and only make necessary changes. The fewer changes made in the source, the fewer subsequent changes are required in translated versions. This reduces time, costs and resources.

FOUR: Use Simplified English. For more factual content like technical documentation, if the source content has been developed using simplified English, then translations will be quicker and will require fewer revisions. If the source content is simple and to the point, this will reduce translation efforts without impacting the final quality.

FIVE: Translate After Sale. Certain products that require a large amount of technical documentation, such as heavy equipment and specialist engineering supplies, are often low in volume sales. In certain markets, translation can take place after the sale. Initial brand and product marketing may be acceptable in English and once the sale is complete, technical manuals can then be produced in the target language while the product is being manufactured.

SIX: Use MT. More and more organizations in traditional sectors typically associated with technical documentation rely on machine translation (MT) to translate higher volumes within the translation budget. MT and post-edited MT are rapidly becoming part of many localization programs.

SEVEN: Give Freelancers In-Context Information. If freelance translators receive the text, without any sense of layout or context, then there is a strong chance the review process will be lengthy and costly. If translators have access to InDesign files, they are able to gauge the amount of white space and potential for text expansion, which will save time and money at the DTP and review stages.

EIGHT: Leverage TM + Glossaries. Share your authoring and translation assets. Many technical authoring and marketing teams work separately and this means translation activities are often conducted separately, too. Chances are, each team will build their own translation memory (TM), glossary, style guide and terminology database. Sharing these assets not only helps streamline translation activities, but also achieves a greater consistency and accuracy across all company communications.


Rachel Barakat is an Enterprise Program Manager at Welocalize. She is a localization veteran and has spent over 11 years working with multilingual technical documentation.

For more information on managing the translation of technical documentation, email

Further reading: Technology Tools in the Localization of Technical Documentation

Technology Tools in the Localization of Technical Documentation

In this interview, Nicole McColgan, Senior Project Manager and Team Leader at Welocalize, shares her knowledge and experience from over 10 years of working with clients who produce high volumes of technical documentation. She talks about the growing importance of technology in the translation of technical and engineering content to help manage efficiency and costs.

What role does technology play in the translation of technical documentation?

For the translation of technical documentation, ensuring consistency, correct terminology, and technical accuracy of translated content are top priorities. Technology and translation automation can be overlooked in the translation of highly complex content and diagrams.

Technology plays a significant role in all localization and translation activities, including technical documentation. Due to the complex nature of technical communications and diagrams, there is an assumption that only human translation is allowed. However, there are several tools that can automate translation and still deliver high quality content while managing deadlines and budgets. Many global brands in sectors that produce a lot of technical content, such as manufacturing and heavy equipment, are using more technology in the translation process, especially with so much more content being published and updated digitally.

Are organizations more open to using machine translation (MT) in their localization programs for more complex content?

There is definitely growing openness towards the use of MT for technical documentation. Clients are more aware that MT can increase productivity and reduce costs. MT, with post-editing, can produce the same level of accuracy and quality as a human translator and enable organizations to translate more. While MT is not a standalone tool, it works well together with post-editing to speed up the translation cycle.

How does cultural adaptation affect translation quality?

For technical detail, such as measurements or numbers, it is important to keep the translated content aligned with the source content. There is no room for error. However, it remains important to adapt the content to resonate with local audiences, both culturally and linguistically.

Cultural and linguistic accuracy in translated technical documentation is no longer limited to 100% human translators. MT engines learn and build up knowledge as more content is translated. The more content put through MT engines, the more accurate and consistent the output will be. Teaming MT activities with post-editing can check the facts and details, while ensuring that tone of voice is also culturally appropriate. It is beneficial if consistent language teams are used as they become familiar with the product range and brand style.

What are the most important tools when localizing technical documentation?

Any technologies that automate the process, making the translation cycle quicker and more cost-effective, are important. Given the increasing volume of digital content being published at a quicker pace, technology supports quick turnarounds. Updates and changes are happening all the time, even in technical documentation, and the translation process must reflect this.

In addition, content management systems (CMS), translation management systems (TMS), glossaries, and terminology databases—all tools that help efficiency and accuracy in the production and translation of technical communications—remain important.

Welocalize manages a variety of localization and translation programs for global brands who produce volumes of highly technical communications and documentation, including user manuals, operating manuals, data sheets, and supporting marketing materials. Innovation is one of Welocalize’s 4-Pillars so we’re continually looking for ways to automate and introduce technology to make the process even more efficient and cost-effective.

Based in the UK, Nicole McColgan is Senior Project Manager and Team Leader at Welocalize.

Interview by Cecilia Tang, Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support Team.

The Role of Language, Translation and Interpretation in Global Sport

Sport is an area that unites many countries and cultures and is quite simply a universal language that everyone understands, whether your team wins or not. International sporting events bring millions of people together from all over the world to enjoy matches and tournaments. We also spend countless hours watching sports coverage, broadcast on various global media platforms. Behind the scenes at many events and training sessions, there are translators and interpreters helping players, athletes and spectators to get the most out of their sporting experience.

The World Cup, Soccer and Football

Soccer and Association Football is listed as number one of the Internet’s most popular sports, with an estimated 3.5 billion fans. In 2026, the FIFA World Cup football tournament will be the biggest to date. From 2026 onwards, the global sporting competition will grow from 32 teams to 48 teams. Most likely to be hosted in the United States, Canada, Mexico or Colombia, we will see a celebration of football over in the Americas which last happened in the states in 1994. Not only will the teams increase, but also the number of languages spoken by the players and their management.

Many teams and sporting councils will use interpreters and translators to ensure all participants are aware of the various rules and regulations, not to mention making sure teams know the logistics of the event. For many officials and referees, the ability to be able to speak multiple languages fluently will be important if they want to take part and officiate matches where there is more than one language spoken.

At the 2014 World Cup hosted in Brazil, the 32 countries that attended spoke 15 languages between them including Bosnian and Farsi. This could be set to increase to even more languages when the competition grows to 48 teams in 2026. This increase in teams makes the tournament more accessible for countries to qualify who haven’t had chance to play before, such as central African nations and East Asian teams.

Global Broadcasting

The UK Premier League is broadcasted all over the world and commentated on in a whole multitude of different languages. The majority of La Liga’s Spanish football is shown on Sky Sports and commentated on in English with English pundits. The demand is set to increase to translate football content and commentary from global media and entertainment organization foreign football translated in huge at the moment. We could even see a huge rise in demand for Chinese football broadcast around the world, as the new ‘Chinese Super League’ is signing more and more big stars in the football world.

Many sports fans take to social media to express their opinion and to share experiences. As sports coverage reaches more nations, these user generated posts need to be translated so they can be read and understood by multilingual audiences. Major sporting brands have to stay fresh and in touch with their audiences through all channels.

Multilingual Athletes

As the world of sport becomes even more international, there is not only a demand for the fans to have translation and interpretation services but it is also needed for the athletes. In most footballer’s contracts that come to the Premier League from abroad, they have to take English lessons if their English isn’t proficient. Someone who managed to pick up another language almost fluently and quickly was Johnny Wilkinson, former British rugby union player and acknowledged as one of the world’s best Rugby Union players. In 2009, when Johnny signed for the French club Toulon, he committed to speaking French. This meant he could speak with his teammates and coaches and could converse with French journalists and media.

Many international sports stars speak more than one language. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer holds 17 Grand Slam titles and also speaks French, English and German. He is known to switch effortlessly between languages in interviews and press conferences. Fellow tennis star Novak Djokovic speaks five languages – Serbian, English, German, Italian and French.

World Olympics

The Olympics is a shining light in terms of interpretation and translation services for spectators and athletes. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, 207 nations attended the games with 500,000 spectators attending the events. Teams are provided with interpreters to help with logistics and timing. For any host country, building the stadiums and camps for the athletes is a huge task and one where language and communication plays an important role. To host teams and spectators from all over the world requires good global communications to ensure everyone understands.

Whatever your language or culture, enjoy sport.


Rob Davies is a member of the Global Marketing and Sales Support Team at Welocalize.

Welocalize Launches Dedicated Life Sciences Division

Frederick, Maryland – January 31, 2017 – Welocalize, global leader in innovative translation and localization solutions, announces the formation of Welocalize Life Sciences, a division that brings together the recent Welocalize acquisitions of Global Language Solutions (GLS) and Nova Language Services (Nova). The merged entities represent more than two decades of experience in specialized language services for clinical research, biotechnology, healthcare, medical devices, pharmaceutical companies and animal health.

“Translation and localization play a vital role in clinical trials, patient recruitment and regulatory affairs material and documentation,” said Erin Wynn, chief customer officer and head of regulated industries at Welocalize. “Welocalize Life Sciences has an established network of subject matter experts with a track record of more than 20-years proven success in
ensuring translations are accurate and submission-ready. Our success is derived from partnering with global brands and institutions in life sciences and regulated industries to reduce time-to-market and effectively communicate with their communities and patients in more than 175 global languages.”

Welocalize Life Sciences is the convergence of GLS and Nova, which were both acquired in 2016 by Welocalize. GLS and Nova each have decades of established experience in delivering language services to their extensive client portfolios of life sciences companies. The combined teams into a single organization, Welocalize Life Sciences, will continue to service these and new clients under the Welocalize Life Sciences brand.

“Welocalize is focused on helping our clients with inclusive and wide-ranging language solutions across their entire life sciences global journey, from product creation and patent translation to patient recruitment and testing, as well as localization for market launch, sales and marketing,” said Smith Yewell, CEO and co-founder of Welocalize.

The combined entities of these acquisitions under a single brand, Welocalize Life Sciences, follows a successful integration of two industry leaders in life science localization and translation services into the Welocalize brand family. The combination leverages more than 20 plus years of exceptional talent, quality management, language experience and outstanding customer service dedicated to pharma, biotech, med devices, clinical research, healthcare and animal health.

For more information about Welocalize Life Sciences, visit its website

Welocalize Life Sciences provides specialized language solutions for highly regulated industries. Our solutions include industry expert localization and translation services for regulatory and compliance content, document translation, linguistic validation, interpreting, website and marketing localization, eLearning and multimedia services. Welocalize Life Sciences is an industry leader with proven translation and localization proficiency required for global clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, biotech companies, medical devices, healthcare brands, medical providers and government agencies. Welocalize is ISO 9001:2015, ISO 17100 and ISO 13485 certified. @Welocalize_LS

Welocalize, Inc., founded in 1997, offers innovative language services to help global brands reach audiences around the world in more than 175 languages. We provide translation and localization services, talent management, language tools, automation and technology, quality and program management. Our range of managed language services include machine translation, digital marketing, validation and testing, interpretation, staffing and enterprise translation management technologies. We specialize in consumer, technology, manufacturing, learning, oil and gas, travel and hospitality, marketing and advertising, finance, legal and life sciences industry language solutions. With more than 1,000 full-time employees worldwide, Welocalize maintains offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Romania, Poland, Japan and China. @Welocalize

Four Best Practices for Managing Successful Localization Programs

For the localization of digital content, whether software UI or online marketing content, there are a number of best practices that can be followed to ensure multilingual content gives the intended audience the best user experience.

Having worked in project management in the global localization industry for more than ten years, there are a number of common challenges that arise in localization programs involving translation of digital content for online businesses. Here are four pieces of advice to improve the success of your digital localization program:

#1: Provide Context Information Wherever Possible

Translating strings or online advertising banners out of context can be difficult for linguists and translators. They don’t know the full picture and have to simply rely on direct, linguistic translation. This can lead to many queries and reworks once translations have been seen in-context. Anyone involved in the process must be able to get into the mindset of the user to properly adapt the content.

For the localization of UI strings, allow developers to add comments to keys. These comments can travel through the workflow with that key and be visible to a linguist and a reviewer. It’s almost like allowing the developer to talk to the linguist and reviewer. Providing information such as string length limitations, which is crucial for mobile apps, or information about variables and potential content that may appear on the live site, will help the overall localization process.

For marketing emails, provide the source language version of the email in full layout and template for reference during translation. The same applies for web and landing pages. Provide the link to the EN or source landing page if it is already live on the website or a draft offline html version. Seeing the content in-context can often influence the translator during translation or transcreation.

#2: Define a Query Management Process

It is good practice to use a query management tool, such as JIRA and to define a strict process for everyone to follow. A simple, formal query process can help linguists and project managers quickly identify and resolve relevant queries. This can avoid duplicate queries being logged or queries being overlooked. Agree on standard turnaround times with your client for queries that require their input and have an agreement in place on the process to follow, should unanswered queries still exist as you approach your delivery deadline.

#3: Agree to SLAs

Ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are discussed and agreed upon at the start for each of the content types. Each content type has different levels of impact and urgency. For example, translation of software UI may require a 24-hour turnaround, marketing emails require 48-hour turnaround and banner adverts may have a more flexible turnaround time of four days. If all teams are clear on the SLAs, this will avoid unnecessary back and forth emails and also allows localization teams to prioritize unexpected urgent translation requests.

#4: Define a Supporting Digital Marketing Strategy

For any online business that relies on the Internet to engage customers and lead them to purchase, websites, URLs, SEO and other digital marketing activities are a crucial part of the overall business model. It is very important to consider these activities, at the start, including defining target markets, languages and registering URLs in the right domains. SEO is not simply a case of defining keywords in English, then translating into multiple languages.

To successfully enter new markets online, you have to develop a multilingual SEO strategy and understand how people search and on which search engines to ensure digital sites are found.  These activities are now central to most localization programs. It is important that discussions start early between clients and localization service providers (LSPs) to establish whether the LSP has the right skills to drive online marketing strategies in multiple countries.


Based in Dublin, Paula Carey is a Senior Project Manager at Welocalize.

For information about Welocalize’s specialized digital marketing solutions and multilingual SEO services, visit

Welocalize Applauds Translators Around the World


September 30 is International Translation Day! Welocalize would like to thank and applaud the many amazing translators around the world who enable global communications and keep us connected through languages.

The reason International Translation Day is on 30th of September each year is because that date is also the feast of St. Jerome, who is considered the patron saint of translators. Celebrations will take place around the globe to recognize the achievements of the worldwide translation community. The day is supported by the International Federation of Translators (FIT), who have given this year’s day the theme of “connecting worlds.”

The ability to develop communications in multiple languages is becoming increasingly essential as we become more interconnected through devices, technology and the internet. Globalization impacts nearly every aspect of our modern lives. We are connected through manufacturing, commercialization, imports and exports of products and services, international business dealings and culture exchanges. Our lives are experiencing “global” every day, from clothing to food, what we view and how we engage.  The scale is vast and today we have greater connectivity and access to things and each other because of translation!

There are many benefits and risks associated with globalization on the world’s economies; however, one thing remains common to all and that is to engage in business and economic progress outside of domestic markets, we need to develop content that is linguistically and culturally accurate and relevant.

Language and communication impacts the development of all industries: global business, technology, finance, science, medicine, law, world politics and economics. Every piece of content may potentially have to be understood by multilingual audiences and also conform to local laws and regulations. Translation and localization plays a crucial part in globalization.

All around the world there are talented armies of highly trained translators, interpreters, linguists, transcreators, reviewers, graphic artists, DTP operators, validation testers, engineers and developers who work with multilingual content each day. In 2015, Welocalize translated 1,148,418, 278 words into 175 languages for global brands all over the world. In 2016, we will do even more. Behind all those words are talented language specialists.  To all of them, we applaud you!  Your work is connecting the world.

Happy International Translation Day 2016!

Industry Expertise Minimizes Risk Translating Regulated Content

Nova TeamContent within industry sectors such as legal, financial and life sciences is complex and heavily regulated by governments and official institutions. Not only must translated content be accurate and legally accepted in all target countries, it must also be carried out by translation specialists who have relevant subject and linguistic experience to minimize the risk of misrepresentation.

Familiarity with industry topics and terminology ensures content, whatever language it is in, is correct, understandable and loyal to the source. Welocalize recently acquired Nova Language Services, now Nova, a Welocalize company, to add to its growing portfolio of regulated industry language solutions. Nova joins Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company and global leader in legal translations and foreign filing, to provide global clients with language solutions in the life sciences industry.  The combined Welocalize brands together offer broad knowledge and highly-specialized expertise that helps organization through the entire product lifecycle.

In this interview, Erin Wynn, Chief Customer Officer for Regulated Industries at Welocalize and Park IP Translations and Consol Casablanca, Founder and General Manager of Nova share insights into how Park IP and Nova are taking a different approach to translation in the regulated space.

What are the opportunities for language solutions in the regulated industries space?

Erin: There is a regulatory and compliance nature that goes with many types of product and service offerings and with Park IP, we started out with the legal nature of IP. With the Nova acquisition, we’re now branching out and expanding our regulatory portfolio, focusing on the entire lifecycle of clinical trials, patient documentation, medical devices industry and regulatory affairs. Content at the intellectual property (IP) or patent filing stage is very different to the content involved in a clinical trial but the constant factor is the regulatory nature and client. We can provide that one client with the applicable regulatory services (one being translation) for the whole lifecycle of a product. The opportunity exists from idea conception and patent filing through to trial and full commercialization. As products move further along the development cycle, they require knowledge and regional expertise to ensure they are compliant and legally accepted for global distribution.

What is the overall vision for the combined forces of Park IP and Nova?

Erin: It was perfect timing to bring Nova into the Welocalize family. Having established ourselves as leaders in the legal sector, Park IP are now looking holistically at the overall regulatory space. We’re delivering specialist localization and translation services that look at service delivery from a regulatory perspective to meet the needs of our clients. Now we’ve acquired Nova’s expertise and skill in the life sciences space, we can better serve our clients. Park IP is the regulatory umbrella under which our IP, legal and life sciences expertise sit – Nova being the team for life sciences. Our services will exist in parallel serving clients in global regulated industries.

We’re looking at the whole journey our clients go on to provide products and services in regulated industries. Whether pharmaceuticals, medical or financial, everyone has IP and highly complex content that they want to protect in many different countries. You may generate a patent for a chemical or drug and then two years later, that drug will need to be involved in clinical and patient trials. The demand for translation does not stop at the IP and patent stage. We provide translation and localization service across the complete product lifecycle.

Consol: As a Welocalize company, Park IP is an internationally renowned company who specialize in high risk content with accountability and compliance. For Nova, it is excellent that we are now partnered with Park IP in terms of credibility and our ability to be able to serve larger clients with a wider range of services to meet all their translation and services needs for regulated and other content needs. It is exciting to become a significant player in the growing global life sciences market.

Park IP has a world-class reputation for being a global leader in foreign filing and patent translation. Will Nova be focused certain areas?

Consol: There are many global opportunities in the life sciences industry and we’re not going to try to be everything to everyone in life sciences. Nova has a strong track-record in facilitating CRO, PRO and medical device regulatory affairs and that’s where we’re focused now. We have the right expertise and rigour that is required for PRO and clinical trial translations.

What are some of the benefits clients will experience?

Park IP and Nova TogetherErin: Park IP and Nova better understand the challenges and issues faced by clients in the regulatory space. We see and understand the whole picture, not just a one-off CRO translation or request for foreign filing. This will help us develop more strategic relationships with clients in the life sciences space as they grow globally. We already have good relationships with key decision makers at key life sciences organizations. We can now offer more translation value as their products progress through the development cycle.

Consol: Clients can now rely on us for wider services and benefit from quality services delivered by one vendor. Combining the good reputation of both organizations will make the process of bringing a new life sciences product to a global market smoother.

Interview by Louise Law, Global Communications Manager, Welocalize.

For additional information, visit Park IP Translations at and Nova at and


Ten Insightful Tips for Good Web Content Localization

Creative abstract global computer communication and internet business telecommunication concept: macro view of crystal Earth globe on laptop or notebook keyboard with selective focus effect

For every web user, it’s all about content and experience. Regardless of where a user is based, the “quality of translation” will mean nothing to them. Web users simply want good content that gives them a natural online experience. Translated web content should not be considered an extension of the original source content. Each language website is a separate and valuable digital asset. Web content must be tailored to target, multilingual and multicultural audiences.

Here are some industry expert tips for website localization:

  • Know Your Audience. First and foremost, know who will be reading and engaging with your web content. This must include definitions by country, language, demographics, cultural preferences, access to technology, dominant payments systems, legal and financial regulations and much more. You may need more than one language variant for each country. For example, in Switzerland, there are four language spoken with varying cultures. Giving the user the option to choose a language rather than country allows better targeting.
  • Cultural Adaptation. Local language web content must be developed for that specific audience. This process will involve a combination of localization, translation, internationalization and transcreation. Some technical content, for example product support FAQs, must be accurately translated and stay close to the source. For more subjective marketing content, linguistic copywriters can provide content, which retains the overall concept and brand values, utilizing marketing copy that is written specifically for the target, local audience.
  • Teamwork is Global. Work with cross-functional teams. This means many internal teams working towards similar goals and objectives. Localization and language service buyers, as well as marketing, IT, web design, development all play an important role in developing web content and must establish good communication and teamwork. Sharing the same goals and objectives at a cross-functional level will help working relationships and produce effective multilingual web content.
  • Be Discovered. Having an awesome multilingual web experience is a waste of time if no one can find you. Multilingual SEO and SEM are keys to success. It’s not a case of translating key words used for the source web content. Unique key words for SEO purposes that are specific to the target audience must be identified in advance of publishing our web content.
  • Support Local Payment Systems. Not everyone uses PayPal. In China, Alipay is the most widely used online payment method. In the Netherlands, people are used to paying through the secure e-commerce payment system, iDEAL. If e-commerce is part of your web experience, understand the security and global restrictions in currency and payment methods.
  • Listen to Users. Once you have launched multilingual web content, pay attention to what users are saying about you in social media and online forums. If there is a glitch or cultural error in web content, you can guarantee it will be openly discussed. Understanding user generated content (UGC) in all languages can help stay aligned to users and customers.
  • Reading Styles Matter. People consume web content in different ways. In the west, many people read a web page in an F-shaped pattern. Arabic countries read right to left therefore F-shape approach will not work. The same layout for every language version will not work.
  • Text Expansion Rules. Allow for text expansion in spacing. Russian is 40% longer than English! How much character room do you need on a web page for it to be consumed and adherent to your style guidelines?  Prepare and plan for all languages or you will need to create customized sites per language.
  • Use Internationalization Standards. The process of adapting software to different languages to meet national standards. Elements can include UI, date displays, calendars, currencies, public holidays, address layout, telephone number format and much more. Good internationalization not only meets the needs of users, but also may be a legal requirement for local regulatory standards.
  • Accommodate Mobile Platforms. If users are accessing web content via mobile devices, then your web content has to be adapted for mobile too. Reading content from a mobile device is totally different from reading content on a laptop. Mobile users tend to look at images more than text – remember they could be on the move. The same applies for scrolling. Key messages have to stand out at the top with concise messaging to avoid scrolling.

One final word of advice is remember to keep refreshing and developing new content for all websites. This will keep online users engaged and also keep sites ranked high in the relevant search engines, whether it is for Google, Baidu, Qihoo 360, Naver, Yandex or Yahoo! Japan.  When you need expertise in web localization, give us a shout!  Our web experts can help guide you through the right questions based on best practices and proven digital marketing industry leadership.

Good luck!


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

Welocalize Translates More than One Billion Words a Year


It started with one word in 1997, the year Welocalize was founded by Smith Yewell. One word that initiated a chain reaction, advancing the way translation services are delivered to global brands. That word was Pathfinder. Today, Welocalize manages more than 1.2 billion words a year, 100 million words a month, that’s 3.3 million words per day on average. Welocalize filled requests for 400+ language pairs last year for some of the world’s largest global brands. To put that into context, the average person speaks 123,205,750 words in a lifetime, according to The Human Footprint. That means you would need to be reincarnated 8.1 times to speak 1 billion words!

One of the most popular free consumer online translation tools translates the equivalent of 1 million books a day and uses a technique called statistical machine translations where a database is fed with millions of human translated documents and an algorithm then finds patterns. While online tools are an excellent product for anyone who is online and requires a quick translation to simply understand the “gist” of multilingual content, those that trust the language be “right” in representing their brand and content depend on qualified language service providers like Welocalize.

For growing multinational organizations and businesses trying to reach a global audience, formalized processes for translation and localization are fundamental in doing business around the world.  Whether it is supporting a multilingual digital marketing strategy or providing continuous compliance training to a dispersed global workforce, a more in-depth, tailored and sophisticated approach that can manage complex workflows is required for success.

Content types and languages start the decision process for language service buyers. The range of language service requirements may be simple “gisting” delivered by machine translation for large volumes of social media and online forum content to “transcreation” and cultural adaption of marketing and advertising content to drive user acceptance and engage a consumer in market.

One thing that is certain, localization ensures the concept and the facts of a global brand or product is retained, while recreating key messaging and content to suit local audiences and cultures. Literal and linguistic translations are risky when applied for business and generally not acceptable for global marketing.  Taking short-cuts without careful review and qualified language specialists can destroy a campaign and damage to a company’s reputation. Marketers know brand loyalty is earned one customer at a time and transcreation and cultural adaptations of digital marketing messages is key to relating to your target audience.

When skilled human translators translate content, they engage their brain, emotions, life experiences and cultural understanding to adapt a brands content to resonate with the target audience. In the process of translating, linguistic copywriters and translators hear the first version of the work as profoundly and completely as possible. They discover the linguistic charge, the structural rhythms, the subtle implications, the complexities of meaning and suggestion in vocabulary and phrasing, and the ambient, cultural inferences and conclusions. This is a kind of reading as deep as any encounter with a literary text can be (wordswithoutboarders). They take the source content and translate words to create messages that new audiences will understand. To simply provide a straight literal translation is not a good localization and globalization strategy.

Welocalize provides a wide range of localization and translation services in more 175 different languages. We aim to demonstrate our innovation through sharing and collaboration with industry peers, thought leadership organizations and clients. By doing things differently, Welocalize is driving the localization industry forwards, pushing boundaries and breaking down communication and language barriers. It all begins with one word.


Lauren Southers is responsible for marketing automation and global sales support at Welocalize.

The Growing Localization, Translation and Interpretation Industry

success chartThe world is an expanding multinational marketplace and with the help of technology, brands can rapidly going global. The sheer number of languages spoken in the world could be seen as an impediment to globalization; however, the skill, innovation and dedication of the global languages service industry is empowering international trade. The localization, translation and interpretation is an industry that is currently thriving.

Successfully taking a product or brand global does not mean taking a “one size fits all” approach. Content has to be culturally adapted and translated to each relevant local market. Who is responsible for making a product or brand targeted, available, understood and legally compliant in local markets? The language service industry. Specialist translators, reviewers, DTP & AV engineers, linguistic copywriters, project managers and language technology experts to name a few, are all professionals enabling organizations to speak locally and grow globally.

Defining a Growth Industry

The localization and translation industry is officially a growth industry. According to Common Sense Advisory, the global market for outsourced language services and technology is expected to reach $38.16 billion in 2016 and by 2019, this is expected to increase to $49.8 billion.

In a recent post, 7 Fastest Growing Industries to invest in for 2016, listed translation services and technology at number 4 as an industry expected to yield high returns. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 46% increase in translation jobs between 2012 and 2022. In the report, American’s 25 Thriving Industries, published by leading global business and financial publication, 24/7 Wall Street, translation and localization was ranked as the second highest most thriving industry, stating that from 2005 through 2014, employment in this industry shot up by 194.5%.

What are the Factors Driving Demand?

Apart from a growing world population, there are a number of factors driving the increase in demand for localization services. Translation and language technology industry news site, published its report, State of Translation and Localization Demand 2016,which highlights some of the key factors driving demand.

New initiatives and regulations from different governments are helping to increase demand for translation and localization services. There are new regulatory developments in the East, from Japan and China. In China, a new rule requires companies to bilingually publish their prospectus for initial public offering and other IR documents. In Japan, two landmark reforms in Japanese corporate governance requires Japanese corporations to engage more with stakeholders which means more translation of investor materials. Busy times for LSP’s with financial and legal expertise.

Many governments in the West are investing in machine translation (MT) to increase the levels of translation activity. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has invested over $26 million into a rapid deployment MT tools for rare languages and Spain recently invested over $100 million in the development of natural language processing (NLP) and MT technology in the country.

In the private sector, the Slator report highlighted the fact that e-commerce, mobile and social will continue to be growth areas and this will further fuel the increase in demand for localization and translation services. Much of the e-commerce growth is focused in Asia and as e-commerce companies grow, they will need to partner with a global localization provider who can culturally adapt products and services and get them ready for an entirely new audience.

Another area driving demand for translation and localization services are regulated industries, including life sciences and medical devices. The global clinical research industry will reach almost $60 billion by 2020, according to a report by Zion Research. As world population grows everywhere, so will global demand for healthcare and pharmaceuticals. In addition to the specialist translation knowledge required to translate healthcare product information, there are volumes of legal and compliance documentation often associated with healthcare and pharmaceutical products.

Now is a good time to take opportunities and go global. The world is wide open and this is reflected in the prosperous state of the localization and translation industry. The key for global success is to partner with an LSP who has a wide-range of expertise and who can adapt content for all disciplines, no matter where your target markets are in the world. Welocalize is here to help fuel the growth.

Louise Law

Communications Manager at Welocalize





Most Common Localization and Translation Terms

Bubble of communication

The localization and translation industry processes billions of word each year into many different languages. Whether you are new to localization or have worked with translation projects for years, there is a unique jargon and set of acronyms you have to learn to speak when readying your content for a global audience. Welocalize is one of the world’s top language service providers (LSPs) and based on our conversations, we collated the the top terms, phrases and acronyms used, to help anyone who is new to globalization (g10n), localization (l10n) and translation.

CAT – Computer-Aided Translation: Translation software tools used by project teams to recognize repetition and matches in translation files, create translation memory databases and manage terminology.

Terminology Management and Translation Glossary: Access to a glossary or terminology management database helps eliminate uncertainty and inconsistency in the translation process. These two tools ensure translators and reviewers use the right terms and phrases, in-context. A word or phrase can have more than one meaning and having access to a list or database of popular words and phrase and their meanings helps prevent any rework and ultimately reduces costs without impacting quality.

TM – Translation Memory: A database that stores words, sentences, paragraphs and headings that have been previously translated. This helps translators work faster, produce more consistent translations and ultimately reduce costs to the client.

MT – Machine Translation: Using computational linguistics, MT is the use of software to translate written text or spoken word. Learn more here: Welocalize weMT.

PEMT – Post-Edited Machine Translation: Part of the overall MT process, PEMT is when human editors and linguists enhance and check MT output to ensure it meets target quality levels.

TMS – Translation Management System: The TMS automates, manages and centralizes all translation efforts into a single streamlined process, eliminating manual touch points. An example of a TMS: Welocalize GlobalSight.

CMS – Content Management System: Software that allow multiple users to create, edit, review and publish electronic source content. A TMS typically connects to a CMS to manage foreign language content. CMS are often used by global organizations who publish technical communications and documentation. Further reading: Role of Technology When Translating Technical Communications.

Fuzzy Match: A method used in CAT that determines the level of similarity between phrases or sentences. A fuzzy match is when the segment of text is less than 100% perfect when matched to a translated version of text. Although a fuzzy match is not 100% perfect, it will be above the threshold percentage set by the CAT application.

Localization Staffing: A recruitment service where qualified localization and translation professionals are source and placed within an organization. Many LSPs have access to the most talented and qualified specialist staff and some global organizations prefer to employ resources on a contract rather than use an outsourced localization service. Click here to learn more about Welocalize Staffing.

Internationalization: Often shortened to l18n, this is the process of planning and writing software so it can be easily adapted to local languages and cultures. Further reading: Seven Tips for Software Internationalization.

QA – Quality Assurance: Quality exists throughout the whole localization lifecycle. Localization QA is that last step to verify that the released localized (software) product accurately and successfully delivers the right functionality and experience to the end user. Read more: Welocalize QA & Testing Overview.

Localization Testing: The process of testing localized software products to capture any linguistic or functional defects or bugs that might have been introduced in the localization process. Further reading: Linguistic and Functional Software Testing for Global Software.

Multimedia localization: Multimedia content is any content form presented through computers and electronic devices, typically video, audio and animation. As more and more consumers and global marketers use multimedia to communicate, the localization of multimedia content is a real growth area in the localization industry. Read Welocalize white paper, Ready for Global Learning Guide to Multimedia Localization.

Transcreation: The term of transcreation often references cultural adaptation of content, mixing translation and content creation. It includes copy writing as well as multilingual marketing.  As the era of digital continues to evolve, transcreation is also changing in expectations, management and use of the high-value branded content practice for global consumption. Read What is Transcreation.

Predictive Analytics: A new term within the industry, predictive analytics is the use of technology to predict future probabilities and trends. In the localization industry, we collect volumes of data therefore applying predictive data analysis, we can pre-empt translation needs and match the right translators to the right content. Read Welocalize CEO, Smith Yewell, How to Predict the Future.

What new terms and phrases have you come across? We would love to hear!

Getting to Know Welocalize in Japan

Interview with Kohta Shibayama, Senior Project Manager in Tokyo

kohtaKohta Shibayama is based in the Welocalize office in Tokyo, Japan. He has worked for Welocalize for more than 11 years, having held a number of senior positions for Welocalize. Kohta currently works with many of Welocalize’s local clients in Japan and also provides business development and localization consultancy for large clients in North America who are looking to localize content into Japanese and expand into Asian markets.

Welocalize’s Louise Law spoke to Kohta about working for Welocalize and some trends in the Japanese translation industry. Kohta highlighted in the interview, “Japan is an incredibly innovative country and that is very compatible with the innovation that drives Welocalize.”

You have worked for Welocalize in Japan for over 11 years, can you tell us about the various roles you have held at Welocalize?

I joined Welocalize in 2004. My first role was as a translator and localizer, localizing product and service content into Japanese for some of the world’s largest software providers. In 2007, when Welocalize acquired the localization division of TechIndex, which became Welocalize Japan, I was given the opportunity to work as project manager (PM). In 2012, I was promoted to a PM group manager for the Japan office and in 2013, I also started to manage China’s language PM group. Around the end of 2014, I was transferred to Welocalize’s North America team to develop new client opportunities, retaining some of my work as a Senior Project Manager (SPM) and still based in the office in Tokyo.

My current role is wholly focused on making and keeping our clients satisfied! My core day-to-day activities include regular client interaction, managing and handling daily projects and working closely with production teams on project delivery optimization. As our business in Japan is growing, we are trying every effort to provide the best service to our clients and continue to propose better and better processes.

How many languages do you speak?

I am fluent in Japanese and English.

Have you ever visited any other Welocalize offices?

I have visited both Welocalize offices in China (Beijing and Jinan) and the German office in Saarbrücken.

What are the key similarities and differences of the Welocalize offices you have visited?

One of the main differences I have noticed is that in our Japan office, people work until very late at night! Japanese workers are famous for their dedication to their companies and ability to work incredibly long hours. When I visit other Welocalize offices, I always notice how welcoming everyone is around the world. At every office, I am treated as a friend and member of the family.

Can you describe the main activities of the Welocalize teams in Japan?

We have more than 40 people in the Tokyo office. Approximately half of them are qualified linguists, handling tasks such as translation, review, language quality assurance (LQA), quality control, resource evaluation and training. We also have Japanese PMs at our office. The PM team manages requests related to Japanese from Welocalize offices all over world, as well as requests from their local Japanese clients. We also have a dedicated DTP team.

In addition to the operational activities, the Welocalize Japan office also houses teams that are focusing on business development for the North America territory and Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company, for legal translations. Japan is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies and one of the most active countries for foreign filings. According to the World Intellectual Patent Organization (WIPO), Japan filed 18% of all global patents in 2014. Patent translation requires specialist knowledge and experience and our Park IP team in Japan are kept very busy!

What does a typical day involve for you?

My typical day starts around 6 AM and I get to the office before 8 AM. I like to come in early because it means I avoid packed commuter trains. As you might know, commuter train in Tokyo is a disaster. I can concentrate more on my work when I am the only one in the office. I go through my emails and update my task list, prioritizing each task. I try to complete urgent tasks as quickly as possible so that I can be available for the next urgent tasks that may come in from clients. A typical day’s activity includes dealing with many translation projects, meeting with clients and advising my colleagues.

What are some of the key trends and challenges in the Japanese translation industry?

Machine translation (MT) and the increased use of post-edited MT (PEMT) has probably had the most significant impact on our work. We are using PEMT to reduce translation costs and translate more volume.

I believe MT is a useful tool for technical documents; however, for Asian languages it needs to be further developed to localize marketing documents. This is due to managing higher quality expectations and it is hard to adapt brand style and tone of voice using MT and PEMT, especially if you are adapting a Western marketing campaign that has been developed in North America to suit the Japanese market.

We are seeing more clients wanting to apply MT to marketing content, so we continually adjusting our skills and resources and training our linguists to improve MT output and quality using PEMT and by providing regularly feedback to the client.

What do you think makes Welocalize different?

“Innovation” would be the key word. Welocalize is always evolving and changing, and adopting new processes and systems to provide better service to the client.  Welocalize in Japan is often trying new team structures, workflows, tools and more ways to improve productivity and efficiency. Japan is an incredibly innovative country and that is very compatible with the innovation that drives Welocalize.


The Getting to Know Welocalize blog series highlights our team members around the globe and the work they do for our valued clients.  In their words, it gives you a look into how Welocalize’s diversity, culture, and expertise empower us in doing things differently. You can view all here Getting to Know Welocalize posts here:

Getting to Know Welocalize CEO Smith Yewell

Getting to Know Welocalize in Germany – Day in the Life of Antje Hecker, Production Business Director at Welocalize in Germany

Getting to Know Welocalize and Agostini Associati – Day in the Life of Guido Panini, Sales and Marketing Manager at Agostini Associati, a Welocalize Company

Getting to Know Welocalize Quality and Training -A Day in the Life of Liz Thomas, Senior Director of Quality and Training at Welocalize

Getting to Know Welocalize in the United Kingdom – A Day in the Life of Joanna Hasan, Enterprise Program Manager

Getting to Know Welocalize Marketing

Getting to Know Welocalize Business Development Europe – A Day in the Life of Steve Maule, Welocalize Business Development Director in Europe

Getting to Know Welocalize Interns by Louise Donkor, Welocalize Global Marketing and Sales Support

Getting to Know Welocalize Business Development in North America – A Day in the Life of Monique Nguyen

Getting to Know Welocalize in China –An Interview with Alex Matusescu, Director of Operations

Getting to Know Welocalize in Japan -Interview with Kohta Shibayama, Senior Project Manager in Tokyo

Getting to Know Welocalize Development -Interview with Doug Knoll, VP of Software Development at Welocalize

Getting to Know Park IP Translations Operations – A Day in the Life of Nicole Sheehan, Regional Director of Operations at Park IP Translations, a Welocalize Company

Getting to Know Park IP Translations

Getting to Know Welocalize – Ten Interesting Facts You May NOT Know About Welocalize

Getting to Know Welocalize Staffing – A Day in the Life of Brecht Buchheister

Centralizing the Localization Function Leads to the Right Balance

By Wayne Bourland, Director of Translation at Dell

LocLeader Logo on blkWayne took part in the recent Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2015 in Berlin as a featured panelist. In this blog, he summarizes some of his key thoughts related to the topics and discussions.

The process of localization in any organization, whether enterprise or small-medium business, is complex. It involves technology, people, and processes. Content types can vary and often subject matter expertise is required for much of the content. All this takes place under budget and time restrictions.

Dell_Logo-300x299In a large organization like Dell, where we have over 110,000 employees and numerous product lines and brands, the volume of content is HUGE. If all our localization activities were decentralized, it would be chaotic and negatively impact the Dell brand, which is worth billions of dollars. It is difficult to position localization as a strategic function when it is not centrally managed.

At the Welocalize LocLeaders event in Berlin, a lot of the discussions centered on engagement and creating a “sphere of influence.” How do you raise the profile of localization within your organization? How do you make sure all company content comes through a central point, in other words – YOUR team?

Whether you are an enterprise organization like Dell or a tech start-up like Optimizely, this is no easy challenge. If you do have a centralized model with one or two multi-language vendors, you may find yourself in the occasional battle with procurement or internal teams when a small single language vendor is found to be cheaper. In the long run, when managing deliverables across multiple languages, the reduced overhead, consistency, and single point of accountability of a centralized localization function and strategic relationship with a small group of MLVs, leads to the right balance of cost, quality and velocity.

You do have to make sure you continue to market your team and services internally, to all divisions and stakeholders, to make sure they benefit from the central activities – translation technology, translation automation and machine translation (MT), translation memories, glossaries, consistent translation teams, tried and tested workflows and expertise. We run a unique, industry leading MT program for, managed by Welocalize. If we had a fragmented approach to localization, this would not be possible. Having one division “championing” globalization and localization activities makes sense. We are the experts and we provide critical services to help our organization succeed globally.

Globalization and localization are imperative. Available in over 180 countries, is a global e-commerce site generating billions in revenue. The more effective the localization that my team and Welocalize delivers – the more we are able to engage customers in their native language – the more revenue we generate.

It is tricky to measure the ROI of localization. Key to measuring the effectiveness of localization is to learn how to use the vast amounts of data we produce. At LocLeaders Berlin, Smith Yewell, CEO at Welocalize, talked about predictive analytics and how we can use it to identify more localization opportunities and measure localization ROI. With the ability to predict localization requirements, we can get the right resources in place to meet future demand.

The open discussions at LocLeaders Berlin were inspiring and it was refreshing to move away from the more traditional operational topics and focus on how to position the overall localization function. We have to innovate and sell our services internally, meet and influence stakeholders and see localization as a strategic function, aligned with corporate objectives.


Wayne Bourland is Director of Translation at Dell, responsible for managing the translation of and marketing materials.

Three Differences between Transcreation and Translation

184831694Translation and transcreation may sound similar; however, they follow very different processes. It is important to evaluate the key considerations, including factors like budget, target markets and brand requirements to determine how you should transcreation and translation when localizing your global brand.

Three key differences between translation and transcreation:

1. Source content
The difference between translation and transcreation becomes apparent when looking at the source text. For basic translation, the source text will typically be content copy or digital assets. The source text for transcreation tends to be creative texts such as images, posters or commercials. Transcreation is all about translating ideas and concepts, so make sure you are crystal clear on the global brand values you want portrayed to your target local markets. When there is meaning and a need to go beyond the written word, then it is likely transcreation is most appropriate. Source texts for transcreation tend to be marketing and advertising collateral.

2. People
The people involved in the translation and transcreation processes require different skills. They may work in different departments, different companies, or entirely different countries. To put it simply, translators translate and copywriters transcreate. For a transcreation project to have a meaningful effect in the local market, you need to be aware of cultural differences and sensitivity as a concept. An in-country copywriter may have the creativity for a new idea; however, an in-country linguist will be able to provide locale guidance, market testing and a streamlined workflow in addition to creativity.

Involving a linguist who resides in the target country is vital if you want your marketing collateral to be current and up-to-date. Any current affairs or issues that could affect your project will be acknowledged and considered in the appropriate manner.

3. Timing
Transcreation projects generally take a longer amount of time to complete and have a more unpredictable schedule than a translation one. Transcreation projects tend to be billed by project rather than by the word for straight translation work. The timing for a translation project is usually more concrete. Before the work is completed, you should be able to receive a rough estimate of how long the project will take to complete. On the other hand, transcreation project managers may not be able to be so accurate with deadlines. There may be several meetings that have to take place between you and your language service provider (LSP) to ensure that you are both on the same page message-wise. It is highly important that your LSP know exactly the kind of idea that you want presented in order for this to be a mutually beneficial project.

If you want something that accurately represents your brand in all your target markets, then transcreation may be a consideration for your localization program.  It is most valuable for high impact content.  To learn more about transcreation, then please take a look at our What is Transcreation and Examples of Successful Transcreation blogs.

For more information about Welocalize transcreation services, please click here: Welocalize Transcreation.


Louise Donkor is a marketing communications specialist at Welocalize.

Text-to-Speech for Localization of Learning Multimedia

468906251Localizing multimedia materials for online learning and courseware content requires careful planning. In this blog, Senior Multimedia Localization Engineer at Welocalize, Michael Anderson, introduces text-to-speech and outlines why it offers learning solution providers and companies with online training programs a cost-effective and timely solution for localizing audio and video voice-over work.

The main style of voice-over (VO) recording, commonly used by global learning companies, is voice-over studio recording and on occasion, at-home VO recording. Using studios to record multilingual versions of learning videos and courses is a significant investment in studio hires, voice talent and subsequent editing services. There are also additional costs associated to changes made to the source material, which may require additional budgeting for studio time and talent.

Welocalize is helping companies reduce some of these associated costs with the newly added multimedia localization solution, text-to-speech (TTS).  This Welocalize service offering provides clients with a cost-effective alternative, as well as a potential faster time-to-market in comparison with the use of recording studios and voice talents for voice-over related projects. This capability can be used for learning courses, instructor-led training content, training videos, as well as online help features on websites or in software and mobile applications.

What is Text-to-Speech?

Instead of voice talents sitting in a studio, recording the localized versions, text documents (or scripts) are loaded into synthetic voice software, turning written word into speech. The technology has been available for some time; however, significant recent improvements have been made within the last couple of years which means the speech output is less robotic and more intelligent.

A key benefit of using this approach for localizing and translation of content is that the more you use the software engine, the more it remembers and retains common terms in the translation memory (TM), which in turn continues to reduce cost and further speeds-up the translation process. The process includes adding the content to the software and based on the quality of the voice output, simply tweaking the word document to gain the exact translation and voice.

Welocalize has piloted the text-to-speech solution with several learning clients and similar to machine translation (MT), you have to continue to train and educate the software for each client’s needs.  We are also able to provide in-depth cost analysis for TTS and compare it to historical VO costs, so the client can see where the costs in terms of time and money are being made and if there is an opportunity to streamline the process.

The market potential for multimedia localization of eLearning programs and learning content is huge. There is growing use of voice in the learning space and also for technology, devices and communication is growing rapidly. Welocalize is excited to offer an alternative multimedia localization solution that fits our client’s needs for delivering learning content in multiple languages.  We are continually looking for innovative ways to improve and customize the multimedia localization process to ensure our client’s communications reach their global audience in their local language and local dialect.


Based in California, Michael Anderson is Senior Multimedia Localization Engineer at Welocalize. He is also a well-known film-maker, producing documentaries in his spare time.

TAKE OUR VOICE CHALLENGE! You can meet senior Welocalize language experts at the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo taking place in Orlando, Florida, March 25-27, 2015. Welocalize will also be running demonstrations of Text-to-Speech versus Voice-Over at booth #607. These demonstrations will enable attendees to compare the costs, turnaround time and quality of TTS vs VO. If you are attending the event and would like to schedule a demonstration, please visit:

Translation is Key for RFP Writing in the Oil and Gas Industry

cristinaCristina Didone is a corporate advisor at Welocalize. Cristina was the CEO and founder of CD Language Solutions (CDLS), which was acquired by Welocalize in May 2014. Welocalize provides highly specialized language services for the world’s market leaders in oil and gas. Cristina has over 20 years of experience in the language industry and has particular expertise and knowledge about the energy market. In this first blog by Cristina, she talks about the important role of translation in the RFP process within the oil and gas sector.

In the dynamic and ever changing world of the global oil and gas industry, RFP’s play a major role in securing opportunities for multi-billion dollar contracts. Tenders are published in the source language and require translating for the bid team to understand. They then must be translated back into the source language for submittal.

Oil and Gas is a highly competitive landscape and a lot of the top players in the industry are based in Houston, Texas, the epicenter of this mega energy industry. Clients seek translation experts for their tenders from the early stages when they are first published right through to when the RFPs are submitted. The art of translating oil and gas RFPs requires a very specific set of skills and these skills are crucial to a successful bid.

Tenders are published in the source language of the country issuing the tender. For example, for oil exploration in the Sakhalin Islands, the tenders would be written in Russian. The participant bidders would then request translation services from Russian into English to prepare the responses to the RFP. Quite often, the responses are drafted in the target language (English) by their team of engineers, lawyers and technical experts. However, they are then required to be submitted in the source language, in this case being Russian. This exchange of information can take several months or even over a year until the final bidder is awarded the contract.

Language service providers play a key role in the RFP process. In order to prepare for a successful partnership and deliver services that help the client win multi-billion dollar contracts, there are some best practices that can be followed:

  • Meet with the client at the earliest stage to discuss particulars on the RFP that may impact translation. Consider translation and localization from the start.
  • Know what country is your target audience. For example, while Spanish is a universal language spoken by many countries, there are terms in oil and gas which are localized by country and some audiences are more susceptible than others of keeping their own local terminology.
  • Companies develop their own technology and they may have coined their own terms of preference as company-specific language. Create a list of acronyms for the project; these may often be found in the “Definition” section of the RFP. This section can become the translator’s best friend as it may contain several acronyms with corresponding definitions as well as many other terms.
  • Gain access to the existing Most companies do not have a bilingual glossary but they may have a very comprehensive monolingual glossary which can serve as basis to build the bilingual resources.
  • Establish who will be the in-company reviewer for translation work and if possible, open up the dialog and communicate as soon as possible. Creating a strong relationship and flow of communication between the reviewers and the translation team is essential. The team will work more efficiently and it will help reduce time between editing and revisions.
  • Create an interactive portal for clients to be able to monitor the progress of files, retrieve gradual deliveries and upload files. As the RFP process can be very long, often with cumbersome exchange of files, access to a portal is critical.
  • Finally, translation memory (TM) plays a key role in the success of RFP translations. Selecting the proper tool to implement TM can be the determining factor in the overall success of the project. The selected TM tool allows for all translators in the team to use the same terminology on all sections of the RFP and over the extended period of time as the files are gradually delivered and subject to numerous revisions. Proper TM will also reduce the amount of time to market as certain portions may be repetitive from one round of the tender to the other and overtime, it will become paramount to keep terminology consistent.


Click here to find out more about Welocalize’s language services to the oil and gas sector.

Welocalize 2014 Language Report Top 10 Trends

Welocalize has prepared their annual report of top languages and word counts for 2014. The 2014 report shows the highest volume of words translated in a given 12 month period by the Welocalize group of companies, surpassing the 2013 total by 262 million.

  1. Total translated output for Welocalize in 2014 was 956 million words into 157 languages.
  2. Welocalize translated 802 million words and Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company, translated 154 million words.
  3. We translated 2.6 million words per day, 1,820 words per minute and 30 words per second!

Welocalize Top Language Trends for 2014

  • The total number of languages increased from 125 in 2013 to 157 in 2014, an increase of 26% from 2013 data.
  • For all of Welocalize, the top five languages account for 53% of total words translated (504.5 million).
  • French was the top language for Welocalize at 95 million words, 12% of Welocalize total word count. In 2013, the volumes of French translations were 47 million. This is an increase of 102% from 2013 data.
  • For Park IP Translations, a Welocalize company specializing in legal translation, Japanese came out top representing 28 million (18%) of their total word count. For 2013, the Japanese word count for Park IP was 27 million (16%).
  • Simplified Chinese was second in the language ranking for both Welocalize and Park IP with word counts of 94 million (12%) and 23 million (15%), respectively. A big growth of 83% in Simplified Chinese from 64 million to 117 million, when compared with 2013 data.
  • 62% of words translated by Park IP Translations comes from the five top languages: Japanese, Simplified Chinese, English (United States), Spanish (Latin America) and Korean. This correlates with latest figures from WIPO which states that the most active countries for total number of foreign filings under WIPOs Patent and Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is led by US, followed by Japan, China and Germany.
  • The amount of words translated into English has increased significantly. The total word count for 2013 for words translated into English was 36.5 million and for 2014, that number was 47.2 million. This increase of 29% saw US English enter the Welocalize-wide top 10 languages at #8 this past year. In 2013, it was #11.
  • The number of words translated into German has more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. In 2013, German word counts were 46 million and at #5 in the top ten language ranking. In 2014, German rose by 106% to hit 95 million and has moved up one place to #4.
  • Russian has increased it’s ranking in the top ten from #8 in 2013, moving up two places to #6 in 2014.
  • Vietnamese grew 60% in translation volume from 2013 to 2014.

The report is the result of analysis of our translated output for 2014.  SPECIAL NOTE: The language report does not include data on words translated by Welocalize acquisitions Agostini Associati and CD Language Solutions in 2014 prior to integration.  It should be noted, with the two acquisitions, Welocalize translated more than one billion words in 2014.

The following infographic provides a summary of the 2014 Welocalize Words + Languages Report.

Welocalize Languages Report 2014

Software Localization and Meeting Sim-Ship Expectations

Five Tips to Help Software Companies Get Multiple Product Versions Ready for International Launch

469582405In our global economy, the pressure is on for software companies to sim-ship.  This means to simultaneously ship a product and supporting materials in multiple languages.

Launching localized product versions at the same time as the original source product (or at least very shortly afterwards) can be quite a challenge. From a business perspective, to achieve sim-ship often involves a lot of investment and planning up front, with a higher risk of missing launch deadlines. If the Japanese version is not ready, this could mean the whole global product does not go ahead and quite simply, no money in the door or recognized ROI.

Sim-ship is something often driven by global market demand. Consumers have shorter attention spans these days and demand instant gratification. They want goods available when they want them. A common mistake is to alienate European or Asian markets by only launching the US-EN version and promising availability “soon”. Highly competitive markets mean if you don’t deliver, your users may go elsewhere. This means for many software companies, they have to consider sim-ship – and not just for first-time product launches but also for significant updates and releases.  It is not just the end-user who is waiting. Audiences include end-users, partners, distributors, employees, analysts and journalists.

Delivering multilingual software to local markets involves a number of teams, processes and workflows. It is not simply a case of localizing the product. It is also ensuring that online help, support documentation and marketing materials are localized and in place ready for product launch. Successful software localization is not simply a process where text is extracted from the source application, translated, rebuilt, tested and ready.  There are many other localization considerations.

Here are five tips to help software companies get multiple product versions ready at the same time for international launch:

#1 APPOINT A LEAD LANGUAGE SERVICE PROVIDER (LSP) AND GET THEM INVOLVED AT THE START. Make localization part of the development process. Getting developers working with localization teams from the start will ensure the product is written and developed as a product, intended for global distribution.

#2 CENTRALIZE LOCALIZATION ACTIVITIES. As a leading global LSP, Welocalize works with a large number of software clients. The more coordinated, centralized and mature a client is in their localization activities, the less likely they are to miss deadlines and launch dates. If the localization of the product, marketing materials and support documentation are centralized, it means clearer communication across company divisions. Shared processes, technology and goals across multi-functional teams are a good practice for localization. Fragmented localization teams within the client leads to confusion, inconsistencies, missed deadlines and higher costs. None of those are welcome when launching a product globally.

#3 APPLY GOOD INTERNATIONALIZATION PRACTICES. According to GALA, “Internationalization (I18n) refers to how software code is written to ensure versions beyond the original language can be created correctly and save significant expense, time and headaches for everyone involved in the language work down the line.” For example, if you’re planning to release your software product in Asian markets, the product must handle double-byte Asian characters, date and time formats and currencies. Prevention is better than cure. Applying good internationalization practices will save time and money. Same applies when developing graphic user interfaces (GUIs) – any design element will need to be compatible for all target markets.

#4 KEEP COMMUNICATIONS CONSISTENT. Good terminology management practice is important in any localization program, not just software. You need consistency between the software interface and user-facing materials including marketing materials. This not only ensures correct usage of the product but also helps establish a consistent, global brand. If localization is centralized, this will enable shared terminology and glossaries across authors, agencies, translators and reviewers.

#5 USE AGILE DEVELOPMENT. There has been a shift away from traditional product releases towards a more responsive agile way of development. Most software companies use agile development cycles, not just for patches and updates but for the product release itself. The demand driving companies to simultaneously ship software product and services is the same demand that drives agile development. Users around the globe are driven by instant gratification – they want that new feature now! The waterfall approach to software development no longer supports this demand. We have to move quicker to meet market and business expectations.

The localization of a software product itself, whether installed, app or cloud-based, involves a number of experts. This includes engineers, testers, DTP experts, translators, reviewers and project managers. This same team of people can make the difference from simply having a localized product to having a global product, ready for launch, in all target markets. Partnering with a global LSP to achieve sim-ship will generate better ROI and help you stay ahead of the competition.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

Role of Quality in Four Stages of Software Localization

479077975Based at the Welocalize office in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director. In this blog, Judy shares her thoughts about the role and focus of quality during software localization.

During our routine work in the localization industry, we live and breathe quality every day, everywhere. What is quality? ISO 8402-1986 standard defines quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”

How do you satisfy stated or implied needs? For software product localization, final localized versions must be bug-free for final product sign-off. For any software localization program, as well as the software product itself and for each software launch, patch and new feature, there will be a range of supporting materials including marketing materials, internal training and communications. All require different levels of quality.

In this blog, the following details the quality focus used during the software localization process for all content types.

There are four main stages to every simple translation project or complex software localization project requiring translation, software engineering, testing, document engineering, multimedia, DTP and art work: Project Scoping, Project Planning and Preparation, Production Execution and Product Delivery and Sign-Off:

Stage 1: Project Scoping

This stage is to fully understand quality expectations, customize quality standard depending on client requirements. It is the foundation to help client to best utilize their localization budget and set localization plans in place.

  • Perform evaluation about source content
  • Define work types
  • Figure out localized languages and workload
  • Raise any source bug queries
  • Provide localization suggestions and quotation

The main input for all of the above activities is understanding the client quality expectations. If the client quality requirements are understood, we can carry out appropriate scoping: neither over scoping nor under scoping. Based on different purposes of localized materials, we can customize different quality standards.

Using some of the local terminology we have in Beijing, here are some examples of how quality expectations differ, depending on content type and impact:

  • If the localized materials are for company internal staff training, we can set quality requirements as “accurate translation, simple DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for marketing or online customer support, we can set quality requirement as “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for localization of product code, we can set quality requirement as “technically accurate, debugged, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are high impact to the brand, like company slogans or taglines, we set the quality requirement as “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”

Stage 2: Project Planning and Preparation

This stage is the process that transforms a client’s quality expectations to a series of production activities and measurable KPIs.

  • Workflow Customizing
  • Environment and Tools Deployment
  • Quality Measurement (SOPs and Checklist)
  • Work Scheduling
  • Risk Evaluation (Risk Factors)
  • Resources Reservation and On-boarding
  • Training of Involved Resources

All planning and preparation activities are based on exact quality requirements and those stated purposes confirmed at the scoping stage. Based on different quality requirements, we can customize different workflows, choose different resources and work out different quality matrices. For example, aiming at the quality requirement, “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering,” we can use standard translators and engineers to complete the work. We can arrange one cycle translation, DTP/engineering work with quick QA cycle.

If we are aiming for the quality requirement of “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering,” we need to on-board experienced translators and engineers with specific skills and arrange more reviews and QA cycles to ensure final quality.

Stage 3: Production Execution

An integral part at this stage is the LSP management system, which must manage and track production activities for software localization activities, including a quality tracker and bug management system. This means all quality information can be extracted and checked for the following main activities:

  1. Production Process Control – All procedures are monitored to ensure that work is being handled according to customized workflows and using reserved resources.
  2. Inter-Operation Management – Constant team interaction to ensure no breaking within consequent work steps and processes. Client information is fully shared with all involved parties to ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of all targets and deadlines.
  3. Risk Management – Based on risk evaluation, routine checks are performed at the risk points with appropriate remedies used, if necessary. Version control method and bug management systems are put in place.
  4. Results Checking – Any work results are checked based on the defined quality measurement. Any non-conformity item should be evaluated and handled before delivering to client.

Stage 4: Product Delivery and Sign-Off

In theory, at this stage you have a bug free localized product. During this stage, final checks are performed and the product is prepared for sign-off. If in the unlikely event of bugs being found, careful risk evaluation is undertaken, especially for complex software localization projects. Each bug case is evaluated case-by-case and communicated with the client to decide whether to fix or defer. In stage 4, achieving quality means to deliver an acceptable product without introducing significant risks to users.

During each stage of localization, there is a different quality focus. By further strengthening our quality consciousness and achieving a deep understanding of the quality focus during our routine work, we will work smarter, more agile and produce quality levels that exceed our software client’s expectations.


Based in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director at Welocalize.

For more information about software localization and bug-fixing, read Welocalize White Paper: A Bug is a Bug in Any Language.

Languages at World Economic Forum 2015

Spare a Thought for the Translators and Interpreters by Louise Law

149401093This week, global political and business leaders have descended on the Swiss ski town of Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). At the WEF, there are 2,500 participants from 140 countries, including about 40 heads of state and 1,500 bosses from the world’s top global companies. At the WEF, many topics are discussed and thrashed out. This year, some big economic discussions will take place on global responsibilities like world economic growth and stability, crisis management, the balance of wealth, technology and innovation and much more.

With 2,500 international participants, the World Economic Forum is not just a gathering of great minds but also a gathering of many languages and cultures. In this blog, we’d like you to take a moment to consider the teams of translators and interpreters who work hard to translate the words of some of the world’s most great, renowned political, economical and business minds. If we look at the European Union alone, the current official total of languages is 24. Most gatherings like the World Economic Forum will require interpretation and teams of clever linguists and translators.

Interpreters have to make sense of a message composed in one language whilst simultaneously constructing and articulating the same message in another tongue. That’s an impressive blend of sensory, motor and cognitive skills. For some conferences, interpreters may be positioned in booths for the speeches and discussions to make content available in the language of each participant.

Simultaneous interpreting can bring challenges to even the most qualified and experienced linguist. Here are some challenges they might face:

• Speakers don’t pause so neither can their interpreter. Some world speakers can also speak very quickly. Even if the interpreter has been fully briefed and prepared, fast thinking and quick speaking politicians can change the course of their speeches.

• Even world leaders have dialects!

• Word order. For example, with German, the “nicht”, the “not”, can come at the very end of the sentence. This will affects the timing as the interpreter has to wait until the sentence is finished. This will also affect how they “enthuse” the sentence.

• Body language and facial expression contribute significantly to communications. These components are hard for an interpreter to convey through a headset.

• In a discussion environment, where there are many voices and accents delivering words quickly, people are interrupted (which happens in most heated political discussions) which can interrupt the flow of the translation and make it difficult to convey to those listening to the interpretation.

I’m always interested in the discussions and outcomes of the WEF. When I catch up on each day’s activity, I always take a moment to think about the languages and translations. Whatever content was delivered and discussed that day, somewhere there will be a clever, quick thinking interpreter behind the world leader, translating and bringing that content to the world in the right language.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

What is Transcreation?

513355289Do you want to promote your brand globally in a way that really ‘speaks’ to your customers? If yes, then you may want to consider transcreation. In this blog, Louise Donkor talks transcreation, what it is and its role in global marketing.

Transcreation combines two words: translation and recreation. The process involves both. Sometimes called creative translation, the aim of transcreation is to adapt a message into another language. The transcreation process involves a lot more creativity than straight translation. There is not the obligation to stay linguistically faithful to the source text, as long as the key message is still conveyed.

Transcreation takes the source text and translates it so that the original message and intent are still explicit. This goes beyond just literal translation. The source text may need to be completely ‘recreated’ so it has the same effect on the target audience. The transcreation process can completely alter the structure, images, even the subject in the source text in order to fit with the target culture and evoke the same emotions.

The origin of the word transcreation is disputed. Some say the term came from the foreign language copywriting specialist agency, Mother Tongue, whilst others say it was coined by the former head of Silver Advertising Ltd, Bernard Silver. Whatever its origin, the word transcreation is widely used in the localization, marketing and advertising industry and has become increasingly popular over the years.

The use of transcreation depends on the source content and it is often something that is used for marketing materials. Technical documentation is more logical and may not be suitable for transcreation as linguistic style is not important. Being accurate and faithful to the source text is higher priority for more factual, engineering content. Transcreation is mostly applied to creative texts, such as television commercials, posters, websites or even comic books destined for international distribution.

When the Indian version of the comic book, Spider-Man that was released in 2004, instead of adhering to some parallels of the American version, an in-country [Indian] copywriter simply created a completely new comic book story, but kept the overall Spider-Man voice and key story characteristics faithful to the original.

Using transcreation in a global marketing campaign displays your brand in a more intimate and personal way to your local customers around the world. Although this may mean that your brand’s marketing communication may look different from country to country, its voice and message will be consistent, something that basic translation may not be able to do.

Transcreators are often specialist copywriters and designers with a good knowledge of at least two languages to give locale and cultural guidance. They consider how the linguistics of the source text will affect the target text and recreate content to better suit the local market.

Launching a global marketing campaign, global marketers have to consider whether translation, localization or transcreation is right for the brand and marketing materials. As effective as transcreation is, it is also costly and time-consuming. This may not correspond with time restrictions or budget.

Transcreation is also best used when you feel that your brand’s voice and message is the most important thing you want to come across when communicating with customers, quite often in the B2C market where advertising and media budgets can be millions of dollars.

When reaching out to a global audience, there are a variety of ways, methods and tools to do so. Teaming up with the globalization and localization specialists who have in-country linguists with knowledge and resource for transcreation services will ensure maximum impact for any high profile global marketing campaign.

For information about Welocalize transcreation services, click here: Welocalize Transcreation Information

Louise Donkor is a member of Welocalize’s global marketing team.