Transcreation is more than just a buzzword — it’s a valuable tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and boost their ROI. By creatively adapting marketing content to fit the cultural and linguistic nuances of their target audience, you can create a more meaningful connection with potential customers. In our opinion, transcreation is a must for any business looking to succeed in today’s global market. So, let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of this powerful technique.
What is Transcreation?
If you’re looking to enter a new, international market, you may think a simple translation into the target language will be more than enough. And, if you’re SEO savvy, then sling a <hreflang> tag on the site and you’re good to go, right? No. We’ve seen businesses miss the mark time and time again with badly translated content and cultural mistakes that alienate audiences.
Transcreation takes the translation process to the next level by combining linguistic creativity with a locals’ understanding of the region or country. In our case, our linguists are all native speakers — and for the most part local as well — so they’re tuned in to the zeitgeist of the target market and bring that unique insight to the copy. This can lead to big changes within the marketing messaging — whether it’s adapting a headline or changing the promotion altogether.
When delivering the work, we always provide back translations and detailed rationales so the client understands how their messaging will be interpreted by their audience. The rationales are, arguably, as important as the copy itself as they give the client valuable insights into the market and how the brand is received, linguistically and culturally. This then allows the client to examine their current marketing strategy and make any changes necessary so they communicate with their customers more effectively.
Read more about our Transcreation work with UNiDAYS
The Benefits of Transcreation
Tailoring marketing messaging to the target audience or your buyers’ persona is the key to a successful campaign, and this is especially true when branching out internationally. For example, the Finnish language doesn’t have a word for “please” — something that would cause shock and horror in any Brit! A Finnish company marketing to an English audience would have to remember the famed British need for “please and thank yous” for fear of alienation. When it comes to fashion retail, neither Dutch nor French have a word for “tailoring” so the content would need to be adapted to a “two-piece look”.
Let’s imagine you’re looking to take your UK-based brand to Europe. You might think that it being just across the water, you have a good understanding of the culture in France, Germany or Spain. This would be a mistake. Having an outsider’s view of the country, culture and local trends will put you at a disadvantage compared to local brands and brands that are employing transcreation services.
By using a locally based native speaker to work on your marketing messaging, you’ll be able to produce content that is enhanced with regional insights, well-known metaphors and references to country-specific influencers or TV shows.
For example, we offered a number of translated headline variations for a German Christmas campaign to UNiDAYS. As it’s rare to have stockings in Germany, the new translations focused on ‘under-the-tree gifts’ instead. In another instance, we provided rationale for combining English and French for promotional headlines, over just French, as it would appeal to the student-focused target market. By tailoring both of these campaigns, the client saw increased engagement, brand awareness and better results than the year before!
Read our guide to learn how to find the perfect translation and transcreation partner
No amount of research can fully equip you to understand cultural nuances and sensitivities — and insulting or offending potential customers is a surefire way to lose any future sales. And if you’re really unlucky, you may end up going viral for a poorly worded tweet or an objectionable ad campaign.
With tensions running high worldwide, it’s even more important to ensure your messaging is aware of potential sensitivities that can occur. Having someone “on the ground” means you’ll have a first-person account of any backlash that may come from your suggested headline or advert.
Just last year we worked with a client on their Diwali campaign. As our linguist was living and working in India, they were able to provide culturally sensitive, yet engaging, suggestions that included holiday-specific gifts promotions and competition ideas. We were also able to give our client a list of “red flags” to avoid, including:
- Specifying the festival is just for Hindus
- Drinking alcohol
- Gifting anything in black colour.
This meant our client was able to create a campaign that would be impactful yet respectful, leading to more click-through rates, email opens and — most importantly — sales!
Anyone who’s worked in retail knows that customer service is key — and that extends to the online world too. Making your customers feel special heightens the chances of retention and repeat business, so tailoring your content is a surefire way to encourage that.
It’s a proven fact that customers are more likely to buy if the site is written in their own language, even if they’re fluent in English. It shows the brand has gone above and beyond to understand the audience, showing potential customers it’s a brand to trust.
When customers trust a brand, they’re much more likely to engage with the content they’re being served. For example, UNiDAYS report higher click-through rates with the language-targeted email campaigns we’ve worked on, while their international promotional materials have led to higher interest and engagement.
And engagement leads to sales.
Assuming the quality of your products or services is up there, then customers will remember the effort you put into your adverts or web copy, and they’ll come back. Again and again and again.
In conclusion, transcreation is a powerful tool that improves ROI by creating culturally relevant content that resonates with local audiences. With transcreation, you can effectively communicate their message in a way that connects with their target market and drives results. Don’t let language barriers hold you back — embrace transcreation and watch your ROI soar.