Package Insert 36
Interesting facts and figures for customers and partners of mt-g.
February 2016
Marketing translations – Part 1: Marketing translation vs transcreation
In recent times, marketing translations have become an increasingly common topic of conversation among marketing managers, product managers, project managers, translators and in-country representatives. But when exactly do we talk of a marketing translation and when would we call it transcreation? The basic concept behind both language services is undoubtedly the same: an advertising text is transferred from a source language into a particular target language. That aside, however, there are some fundamental differences.

What exactly are the differences?
For us at mt-g, marketing translations are translations of media which communicate an advertising message about a product or service. This includes, for example, brochures, sales documents, advertisements, websites, product catalogues and mailshots, in which wording plays a special role. Here, we confine ourselves to reflecting the source text accurately in another language. If you order a marketing translation from mt-g, you will receive exactly that: a translation.
In the medical and pharmaceutical fields, especially, translations generally leave little scope for creativity. Our customers' marketing documents are also often subject to strict regulatory guidelines. For this reason, translators concentrate primarily on reflecting the source text content as accurately as possible and on producing a linguistically flawless translation.

Transcreation goes a great deal further than this. The source text is not only transferred from one language to the other but is also adapted to particular cultural, linguistic and geographic circumstances. The purpose of transcreation (also referred to as adaptation) is to transfer an existing text into another language in such a way that it achieves optimum effectiveness with the planned target group. Transcreations therefore require a much higher level of creativity and are usually produced by specially trained copywriters.

How the jobs of translators and copywriters compare:

What are the challenges inherent in marketing translations?
We regularly receive revised translations back from marketing departments and notice how little they now have in common with the source text. In the majority of cases, they are no longer translations but transcreations. One challenge, then, is to find out exactly what is required: a translation or transcreation? If you as the client are not 100% sure of the answer to this question when you place your order, our project managers will be happy to help you decide on the appropriate service.

At the same time, the client's subjective perception (in short, taste) is also an important factor in determining satisfaction with the translation. Particularly if our clients' contact people change, they may suddenly be unhappy with the translation produced by the regular translator. Even though all content will have been translated correctly at
native-speaker level and all customer-specific guidelines will have been followed, the new contact person may find fault with the translation. Different client contacts will have their own different tastes. A language service provider can only find this out by working closely with the client.

How can you, as the client, ensure you obtain the most appropriate marketing translation?

The quality of a translation does, of course, stand and fall by the choice of the right translator. This is why we, at mt-g, work jointly with our customers to find the translators who best suit our customers' tastes.
However, binding arrangements and close communication between the client, language service provider and translator before, during and after the translation are also important for long-term, successful cooperation. You can read more tips on what specifically you as the client can do to obtain the best possible marketing translation in the next issue of our Package Insert.
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