If you are in charge of buying “marketing translations,” I will let you in on a secret that will make your management love you.
First, a bit of background info:
I have a partner who worked in advertising agencies for decades, mostly for global blue-chip FMCG companies. Add to that many years in B2B sales. His experience is immense, for having seen so much and dealt with so many different clients and markets.
He does not position himself as a copywriter but delivers great German copy whenever asked to. I love working with him for his refreshing take and uncanny knack for what works. Most of all though he has the background. Having himself been in the customer-facing roles that most marketers and especially, salespeople are in on a daily basis, he has the empathy and insights that help him choose the right words and understand what prospects want.
What you may find interesting is that, despite his excellent grasp of two foreign languages (English and Spanish) in addition to his native language (German), giving him a foreign-language source text to use as a basis for delivering great German copy doesn’t work. For some reason, having a source text hampers him.
Give him a thorough brief and a couple of visuals instead and his work will shine.
The reason why I am telling you this is that most professionals face the same predicament.
They either translate OR write copy.
Very few combine both translation AND copy creation expertise.
When these two abilities come together in one process, I call it “Transcreation”, or more precisely, the Transcreation Continuum — which neatly combines the terms “translation” and “copy creation.” I offer trans-creation because my clients love it, and because they have told me that such expertise is hard to come by. It’s definitely a niche. And it’s definitely challenging.
In most cases the results will be much better aligned with what you really want to achieve if you give me — the transcreator — a thorough brief and include the source text only as part of the brief. In that way, I can develop copy based on what you – the client – want to achieve in the target market rather than having to stick to a source text that may work great in your language and market but might fall flat in the foreign target market.
More and more marketers seem to understand that they need to rethink their translation processes when it comes to marketing and sales collateral.
I have lately had the uplifting experience of recommending to a client that I write new copy rather than try to instill life into a text written for a UK audience that just doesn’t work with German customers, given their different expectations and way of thinking. The client loved the result and will increasingly use that approach.
It just proves that certain texts will never be as good as those that have been thought out from scratch by someone steeped in the target market, mindset, and competitive environment.
So, if you are the person tasked with buying “marketing translations” in your company, think twice.
Get in touch with an expert in transcreation to help you and guide you through the process. The results will be so much more attuned to what really resonates with the target market. The marketing people in your company, and the salespeople in the foreign target market, plus your top management (!), will love you for finally getting foreign-language texts that actually work.
Intrigued? Get in touch if you would like to learn more about my transcreation services.