A Customer Guide to Transcreation Rates

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Lucy Williams

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? Is It Different From Marketing Translation?” contains 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. Transcreation may involve recreating the text completely. There may be visuals or other marketing materials that need to be adapted to the culture of the new market. The aim is to create the same response in the target customer as for the original material. 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 differently.

Want to know how #transcreation rates are calculated? Read this. Share on X

How do transcreation rates and translation rates differ?

Translation rates are often quoted as per-word rates. For some languages, like German, rates may be per line. German uses a lot of compound nouns and this means a lower word count. So, translators working out of German often charge per line.

A per-word or per-line rate means the customer and the translator can estimate the final price based on the wordcount or number of lines. A transcreation project, however, is normally quoted with an hourly rate or project rate.It might be the client’s one shot at connecting with their customer.

As Gwen explained in the article I mentioned earlier, transcreation is more than just creative translation. A transcreation job could involve just 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. Gwen gave a great example in her LinkedIn article “A Slogan Transcreation Example and How It Affects Pricing”.

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. As Gwen’s article about slogans shows, 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.

For more information about briefing your transcreator, check out “How to Get the Best Out of Your Transcreator. Mapping Out the Perfect Brief”.

Transcreation prices reflect 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 take specialisation into account

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?

We’ve seen that transcreation projects are priced differently from translation. The transcreator has to allow for their time, experience and specialisation. But 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. A per-project rate also gives the customer a final figure to budget for.

Want to know what goes into a #transcreation quote? Check out this article. Share on X

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 METCIoL or ITI?

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. For help with this, check out “23 Questions to Help You Make a Good Transcreator 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.

Written by Lucy Williams

Lucy Williams is a subtitler and a Spanish-English translator for fashion, tourism and luxury goods/services. She holds the CIOL Diploma in Translation and is a native English copywriter specialising in SEO-optimised long-form content. Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn.

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