How to get the best out of your transcreator. Mapping out the perfect brief.
Your transcreator needs a good brief to work from. Map out what you want them to do to ensure you get the best copy and your brand message doesn’t get lost.
If you sell to other countries you’ll have to create texts in other languages. That means you need a transcreator. Transcreators use their flair for translation and copywriting to help you sell across cultures and languages. But, there’s more to it than just handing over your text. This article is about how to work seamlessly with your transcreator to get top-quality copy.
Not sure about what transcreation is? Read Gwen’s article What is trancreation? (And why your company needs it) for the lowdown on transcreation and why your company needs it.
The transcreator’s brief
Put yourself in the transcreator’s shoes. What do they need to know?
You know your brand inside out. It’s your baby. But, not everyone else has the same in-depth knowledge about your brand or product. Be careful that your familiarity doesn’t mean you miss things the transcreator needs to know. Don’t make assumptions. Give your transcreator a good brief to work from.
How to create a good transcreation brief
Map it out for the transcreator.
Think of your brief like a mind map. It should include signposts for your transcreator. To help them put themselves in the target customer’s shoes. What information should you include when briefing your transcreator?
A good brief means faster turn-around times and will save you money.
What to include in your transcreator’s brief
1. Information about your objectives. What is your product? What is it for? Give your transcreator the background to the project. The transcreator needs to know about the brand and the product. If the product is new to market, what information can you give the transcreator about it? If you’re launching a new campaign, who is it for? All this contextual information will help your transcreator hit the ground running. Saving the transcreator’s time by providing this information means cost savings for you.Do you know what goes in a #transcreator’s brief? Click To Tweet
2. Your audience. Who is the text for? Let your transcreator know your objectives. Who do you hope to reach with this product or campaign? Be specific. Think about your customer’s age, gender, spending power, interests and education. Your transcreator needs to know who your target audience is. What does the customer already know about your product? What do you want them to do? This will help the transcreator tailor the project to the audience you have in mind.
3. Your brand’s tone of voice. This is how you speak to your target customer. How does the copy engage the reader? Will it use humour? Is it informative, light-hearted, trendy, cutting-edge, scientific? What reaction do you want the text to provoke?
4. Deadlines, budgets and what medium it is for. How urgent is it and how much can you spend? Where will the copy be used? Different mediums will need different approaches.
Like I said, it’s like a map. If the transcreator doesn’t know where they’re going, they’ll miss the destination. And that could decide whether or not the marketing campaign is successful. Make sure you fully brief your transcreator if you want the best results. A good brief helps your transcreator navigate the project efficiently.
Why else is the brief important? A word about rates.
The text the transcreator produces must speak directly to the reader. And create interest in buying your product. The transcreation process is time consuming. It involves a lot of research. Your transcreator may have to wrangle with idioms, culturally specific terms, double meanings and imagery that is specific to your brand.
A good transcreator creates copy that feels like it was originally written in the reader’s language.
So, here’s a little test for you. What do you think the transcreation challenges could be with these famous slogans? Put yourself in the transcreator’s shoes. What makes these slogans work so well in English?
- My goodness, my Guinness! (Guinness)
- Go to work on an egg. (UK Egg Marketing Board)
- Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven (Pilsbury)
- Just wait’ll we get our Hanes on you! (Hanes Underwear)
- Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Rice Krispies)
What did you come up with? If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have spotted that the original copywriters use a mix of techniques. They use rhymes, alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery and plays on words.
Let’s take the famous Rice Krispies slogan. Something we’ve all grown up with. A literal translation of “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” into Spanish doesn’t trip off the tongue as well as the original.
“Chasquido! Crepitar! Taponazo!” is a bit of a mouthful. And not a patch on the English. The transcreators had to think out of the box. They needed to create different slogans for different markets. They choose onomatopoeic words that worked in each language. So, we have: “Pif! Paf! Pof!” in Spain; “Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!” in Germany, and “Cric! Crac! Croc!” in France.
How does all that affect the rates a transcreator will charge you?
Slogans are just one type of transcreation project. But, they’re an example of two things.
1. How important it is to brief your transcreator. They need to know all about your brand, its purpose and audience. Remember our mind map? Want to get the most out of your transcreator? Give them those product guides and brand positioning statements. They need to know what your social media plan is too.
2. How a few words can represent huge amounts of work for the transcreator. They have to research the brand and the audience. Tailor cultural ideas to a different society. Think outside the box. The transcreator has to unpick the thought processes used to create the source text. As well as the reactions it creates. And then recreate that in the target language. That takes time.
This means transcreation isn’t charged by the word, which is the usual way translators use to judge how long a project will take. A large part of the transcreation process involves learning about your brand. Reading product information and brand guides. Poring over brand positioning files. Investigating a brand’s social media presence and interaction with the public. That time is a large proportion of the price for a transcreation project.
Getting the best results at the best price
Transcreators usually charge an hourly rate or a project rate. This covers the time your transcreator invests in research. You can save money on your transcreation project by providing as much information as possible at the start. Be available to answer queries promptly. Use your extensive brand knowledge to help your transcreator. The result is a text that sells. And a happy transcreator willing to provide more great service in the future.
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