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From Translation to Transcreation

Where focus should be when producing global campaigns

Elena Arau | 22nd April 2016

A review of our EACD workshop

We recently ran a workshop in partnership with the European Association of Communications Directors (EACD) for a number of their members, talking about the differences between translation-localisation-transcreation.

EY were the perfect hosts in London, allowing us to use one of the meeting rooms in their impressive offices in London Bridge.


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We covered a whole range of topics within the session but kicked it off by firstly explaining that while translations are straight-forward with a focus on words, localisation aims to adapt the text into relevant cultural context. However, when it comes to transcreation, things become a bit more complex. Transcreation tends to be used more within advertising practice and is used when dealing with global campaigns, where the message needs to be localised so that it’s relevant for each and every market, but in this instance, rather than focusing on the source text, you are returning to the original brief, the initial idea, and rewriting the copy so that will resonate with its respective market.

We were joined at the session by one of our clients, Fruugo’s Chief Marketing Office, Glen Richardson, who then gave some invaluable feedback on what running a localisation project is like from a client’s perspective.  Glen shared some interesting insight including the video below that perfectly exemplifies that what you hear sometimes is what you see:


 

We talked about a lot of aspects involved in project management including those from a Desktop Publishing (DTP) perspective. For example, when working with corporate documents, the format ideally needs to stay the same in every language, even though the length of characters varies from one language to another. However, German translations could increase the length of a text to up to 30%. Therefore, the DTP team needs to assess what is the best option to maintain consistency throughout all languages. Some of the options might be to change the copy slightly, reduce the fonts, shrink the images or extend the margins.

Content isn’t just about words but also about fonts, images, and these also have an impact on market and culture. All graphics and copy should be as attractive to the audiences in your target countries as they are in your domestic market.

To make the adaptation process smoother, there are a few things you should avoid when creating the original source of content. A few examples are ‘local’ humour, concepts, images with text (for websites), colloquialisms, slang and acronyms.

As well as talking through project management tools, like Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software and Translation Memory, we also covered off what’s required when translating videos, including subtitling and voice overs / audio dubbing and on the latter, how important it is to get the right voice (considering accent, age, tone) to match your brand identity and to correctly portray your message. It is also recommended that a project manager is in the recording room to make sure that the brand name and key words are correctly pronounced and that the message is being captured perfectly and make live suggestions. Everyone also agreed that that sometimes there is a need for same language subtitles, when what is being said is not clear or the language used is not the audience’s first language.

The session was broken up with a couple of fun exercises too, including a quiz about poorly researched advertisement faux pas, and then each attendee having to transcreate an ad for FedEx from the US, which showed a picture of an American Football Player diving with a FedEx box under the heading ‘Touchdown Overnight’.  We asked everyone to choose a country, a sport and a tag line and transcreate the ad for a new territory, with some great responses.

We covered off a lot of information in the three hours we had, but the feedback was great and we had a really good time sharing our knowledge, but learning from our guests too, based on their own experience.

Thanks go to the team at EACD for organising it and to EY for hosting us.

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