How to Get the Best Out of Your Transcreator. Mapping Out the Perfect Brief

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Lucy Williams

If you sell to other countries you may need to produce your marketing materials in other languages. You might need to adjust your marketing campaigns for other cultures. The best person to help you do that is 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 marketing materials that help you sell abroad.

Not sure about what transcreation is? Read Gwen’s article “What Is Trancreation? Is It Different to marketing Translation?” for the lowdown on transcreation.

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 information to include in your transcreator’s brief

1. Your objectives. What’s your product? What’s 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? #transcreation #localization Share on X

2. Your audience. Who’s the text for? 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’s for. How urgent is it and how much can you spend? Where will the copy be used? Different mediums will need different approaches.

As 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.

Find out more about “How to Give Translation Instructions for Results That Sell”.

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, culture-specific terms, double meanings and imagery that is specific to your brand.If the transcreator doesn’t know where they’re going, they’ll miss the destination.

What do you think the transcreation challenges might be with these famous slogans? What makes these slogans work so well in English?

  • My goodness, my Guinness! (Guinness)
  • Go to work on an egg. (UK Egg Marketing Board)
  • Just wait’ll we get our Hanes on you! (Hanes Underwear)
  • Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Rice Krispies)

As you can see, the original copywriters used a mix of techniques. The slogans can include rhymes, alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery and plays on words. The “Go to Work on an Egg” campaign also included imagery of an egg with wheels. Visuals tying in with the language used.

Let’s take the famous Rice Krispies slogan. 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 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.

Do you know how they #transcreated “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” into Spanish? Share on X

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? 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. As Gwen explains in “A Simple transcreation Example That Raises Controversy For Translators”, even a short phrase can take a long time to recreate for another culture.

And it’s not just words. Transcreators are copywriters who understand marketing. A transcreator can also be involved in non-linguistic aspects. They might look at visuals or other aspects of the campaign too. Gwen gave a great example of this in “What Is Transcreation? Is It Different to Marketing Translation?”, when she talked about how the recipe section of a website might be transcreated for another culture.

All this means transcreation isn’t usually charged by the word, which is a way many translators use to judge how long a project will take. A large part of the transcreation process involves learning about your brand, which makes an hourly rate more appropriate.

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. For more information, read “The Price Difference Between Transcreation and Translation Explained”.

Getting the best results at the best price

You’re going to be paying for 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. For more information, check out these “23 Questions to Help You Make a Good Transcreator Brief”.

The result is marketing materials that help you sell. And a happy transcreator willing to provide more great service in the future.

Got any questions about a transcreation project? Gwen and I can provide you with a detailed quote for your project. Get in touch and let’s see what we can do!

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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