Transcreation Services

Your customer guide to transcreation rates

A bullseye to show how you can hit the mark with transcreation rates

Understanding transcreation rates: how to get the best transcreation to make sure your text hits the mark with the customer

Transcreation and translation have a lot in common. But transcreation rates are quoted differently from translation rates. This article explains how professional transcreators prepare a quotation for their services. And gives you some tips to make the process a smoother one.

Maybe you’ve heard about transcreation. It’s often described as a mix of translation and copywriting. If you’re selling or expanding into new markets, it’s a way to speak to customers using language that moves them. It ensures you make that sale. Gwen’s article What is transcreation (and why your company needs it) is a good outline of how transcreation is different from translation

What’s different about transcreation?

Transcreation and translation are linked. But, they differ in important ways. A good quality translation accurately recreates the text in another language. It takes grammar, idioms, terminology and readability into account. It remains loyal to the original message.

Transcreation is more concerned with how the audience reacts to the text. Transcreation may involve recreating the text completely. The aim is to create the same response in the target reader as for the original text. But, it must take cultural differences and sensibilities into account.

Loyalty to the source text is less important. Transcreators must be both top-class translators and creative writers. They need a copywriter’s flare, and a translator’s understanding of two languages. These differences mean the two types of projects are billed in different ways.

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How do transcreation rates and translation rates differ?

Translation rates are often quoted as per-word rates. For some languages, like German, rates tend to be per line. German uses a lot of compound nouns and this means a lower word count. So, translators out of German often charge per line. A per-word or per-line rate means the customer and the translator can make a calculation on the final price if they know the wordcount or number of lines. Transcreation rates are usually quoted differently. A transcreation project is normally quoted with an hourly rate or a per-project rate.

It might be the client’s one shot at connecting with their customer.

Why are transcreation rates calculated differently?

As Gwen explained, transcreation is more than just creative translation. A transcreation job could be a few words. Slogans for example. Or it could be something more complex. Marketing materials, an advertising campaign, a blog adapted for SEO. A few words can have a dazzling array of possible translations, depending on the context. It takes time to do the research, come up with ideas and choose the right option for the project. It also takes experience to know which option is the best. The transcreator may present the customer with a range of options to choose from. And it takes creative writing skills to execute the chosen option successfully.

Transcreation rates include time invested

Because transcreation takes so much thought, even a short transcreation can take a long time. The article This simple transcreation example raises controversy for translators explains how transcreating a couple of words can take half an hour.

The transcreator has to invest time to research the best option. Otherwise, the translation will likely fall flat. It might be the client’s one shot at connecting with their customer. Their big chance to catch the customer’s attention. So, although it’s only a couple of words, they need to be the right words.

The transcreator may also need to be in contact with the client more often than in a translation project. There is more creativity involved in transcreation and that means the transcreator may have to clarify the brief more often. That takes time. There may be marketing materials the transcreator needs to read before starting. Videos to be watched. All this is part of the transcreator’s billable time.

Transcreation rates are about experience

How does the transcreator know the right words to pick? When you hire a transcreator, you get a professional translator and a professional copywriter. They know their way around writing. They understand marketing as well as the languages they work in.

Transcreators have that copywriting and marketing experience. They use their language, translation, and writing abilities to make sure your text hits the mark. Every time. A poor-quality transcreation can damage your brand. Take a look at some of the disastrous transcreations you can find online. My blog Transcreation Examples: the good, the bad and the ugly has some cracking examples of poor-quality transcreation.

Transcreation rates are about specialisation

If you needed a translation of your medical notes, you’d hire a medical translator. If you wanted a contract translated, you’d find a legal translator. For a press release about a new fashion collection, you’d go to a translator specialising in fashion. The same goes for transcreation. If you want a text that sells in another language and culture, you need a transcreator. Transcreation rates take experience and specialisation into account.

For the best results, choose a transcreator who specialises in your field

How is a transcreation project quoted?

So, we’ve seen that transcreation projects are priced differently from translation. The transcreator has to allow for in their time, experience and specialisation. What does this mean for the customer? It means that most transcreation projects are quoted per hour or per project. This way of quoting includes all the work behind the scenes. Not just the number of words. A per-project rate also gives the customer a final figure to budget for.

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How to get the best transcreation rates

So, how can you make sure you get the best transcreator for your project? And at a rate that works for both of you?

Choose a transcreation specialist with experience

The most obvious way to get the best transcreation is to choose an experienced transcreator. Look for evidence of copywriting abilities as well as translation qualifications and experience. This can include previous projects they are able to share with you. Or their own professional writing, such as blogging. Are they members of professional organisations such as the MET or CIoL?

For the best results, choose a transcreator who specialises in your field. Whether that’s fashion, food, travel or whatever. Gwen and I have different but complimentary specialisations. A team of transcreators like us can be a good option for more wide-ranging projects. It means that when your fashion texts include terms and conditions or contracts as well as marketing prose, you’ve got all bases covered.

Give the transcreator the information they need

Provide your transcreator with as much information as possible. If it’s a marketing text, give the transcreator your brand guide and tell them about your brand voice. Let them see the visuals, and read about your buyer persona. There’s more information about briefing your transcreator in How to get the best out of your transcreator – mapping out the perfect brief.

Keep an open mind

Accept that your message may change in the target language. Transcreation is about taking your text and making it a success in a foreign language. It might change considerably from the original. A good transcreator will be able to explain how they reached the final product and why it works.

Lucy and Gwen offer bespoke translation and transcreation services. Contact us for a made-to-measure quotation for your project.

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