Over time I have addressed many questions asked by project managers at translation companies, by in-house translators at companies (large and small), and by freelance translators.
The following question is representative of issues that project managers at translation companies have reported:
“I recently had one of our freelance linguists translate a marketing text. The linguist sent me a normal translation, not really taking account of the marketing character. I did not have the budget nor the time to have it redone. How can I solve such dilemmas?”
What do you think? What would you recommend?
Here is my take:
The end-client needed and expected a transcreation — that is, a text that sounded as if it had been written by a copywriter in the target market — not a technically true-to-the-source translation, even if he asked for a translation. That is the root cause of the problem.
The service was sold and paid as a translation and that‘s exactly what the client got.
It probably was an accurate translation, but not a text that would fascinate, intrigue, or engage the readers.
Think of it like this:
The client expected to get a sleek, fascinating sports car, but actually got a solid no-frills model. He only paid for the no-frills model, so it would seem only fair. However, the salesperson had given him the impression that he would get a Porsche, at the price of a Fiesta. With cars, we all know that is not possible, but with language services clients think they can get Porsches at the price of Fiestas.
The answer to the above question is that there is not much the project manager can do to resolve the dilemma in cases like these. Some last-minute cosmetic touch-ups to the translation won’t turn it into an adequate transcreation. She risks losing the client.
Here’s what I recommend doing:
As the project manager in charge, you should get back to the client, ask them for an extension, and invest the time to redo the target copy.
Say there was some misunderstanding along the way and the project should have been placed with a transcreator, and that you, as the project manager in charge, are having it redone by a transcreator at your own expense, that is, at no cost to the client this time around.
You can use the opportunity to explain transcreation to the client, including why, in the case of marketing communication texts, it is in their best interest to pay for a transcreation rather than a technically true-to-the-source translation.
Next time around, be prepared to submit a transcreation quote instead of a translation quote and place the text with a transcreator rather than a translator.
The above question and answer is one of many that you will find in Nina’s book “Get fit for the future of transcreation“.