Being an international communication manager really is complex and challenging. Your colleagues and partners must work together fluently, sharing one vision, common ideas, goals, tools, and content. They all must stay on the same wavelength, and create one coherent brand experience. But each participant has to play a tune that is at the same time in synchronicity with the local audience. You need insights in local market values, know the market’s do’s and don’ts, to hit the right notes at the right time. Otherwise, you risk to throw away your communication budget or even damage your credibility and reputation.
Translations without flair for meaning and culture and lacking an eye for detail loose punch; you end up with a scrabbled result.
You really should never underrate the importance of professional translations.
They allow the consumers to feel positive and respected by your brand. They understand what it is you want to tell them. But in many situations, it simply is not enough to have content that just ‘only’ translates what you have to say.
The beauty of languages is linked to the experiences of people, their culture, heritage, shared values, pride and sense of belonging. Some words and expressions are obvious in a country or region, but simply cannot be translated in another language without loosing part of the meaning. The nice clip of babbel.com gives some fun examples of this universal truth.
To ring true, intelligent localization is often required.
This means it is not only about making sense, it is also about sharing sensibility. Adding stories and testimonies involving real people helps. But even this can feel as an ‘add-on’, a half baked attempt to sell cookies your customers do not really trust or like.
So you might need to take it to the next level: transcreation.
This term started popping up a few years ago and touches the nerve of the question. Besides linguistics and cultural fine-tuning, you add a creative layer. The objective is to make the brand resonate in the market, as a real and likeable cultural identity. Transcreation is about making content really consistent with the culture and the emotions of the audience, and making the brand locally into a success, an adopted taste.
A simple solution for a global brand is to associate with a worldwide sport like football or a singer like Rihanna. But does that really move people? It definitely is not enough if you have to share complex messages in multiple markets.
Making your message locally correct is already half the story. Bringing home the message and make people adopt your idea is the real challenge.
Maybe transcreation is the marketing boost you need!
Want to learn more? Here’s the video on transcreation of GALA, the Globalization and Localization Association.