Every company with a website is a global company by default. But, not many marketers are adapting their content to speak to customers whose languages are other than English.
In fact, 60% of companies that market globally have no multilingual marketing strategy. Of those that do, 86% generate content for a U.S. audience and then translate for international markets, according to MarTech Advisor.
While translation is an important tool for creating multilingual websites, it has limits. In more abstract pieces of content, translations can lead to confusion. This is especially true in the emerging market of machine translation.
Currently, transcreation is the best way to improve global web traffic. It also helps you market to a localized audience and improves your website’s SEO on a global scale. If you’re ready to improve your international conversion rates, keep reading to learn about transcreation.
What Is Transcreation?
First, you need to understand the difference between translation and transcreation.
Translation tends to be more technical. Words are translated in a literal sense from one language to the other. Creative translation services work to improve the readability of their work. But, they may not be recreating text based on their audience’s context.
For example, take the English idiom, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” A literal translation may be confusing in a different language.
It’s easier for a translator to translate a foreign language into their native language. Translation is often better-suited to technical documents, such as instruction manuals.
Transcreation is the translation and recreation of content. It involves taking a concept from one language and recreating it to be understandable in another. You can transcreate a slogan, a phrase, a blog post, or an entire website to customize its content for local preferences and needs.
From the previous example, a linguist could transcreate “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” into another language. They might create an expression that means “You can offer someone an advice, but you can’t force them to live by it.” Or, they could substitute an appropriate idiom from the second language.
While transcreation requires more labor than translation, it’s an essential tool for companies marketing to global audiences.
What about Machine Translation?
Machine translation has the potential to unlock vast swaths of the internet to an international audience. But it’s quality is still emerging and has not yet reached a human professional translator’s quality.
As a whole, the global market for outsourced language services and technology will reach $46.5 billion by the end of 2018. Only a fraction of that market share represents machine translation. Its global market will reach $1.5 billion by 2024.
If you’ve run a decent amount of text through Google Translate, you should recognize the risks of relying solely on this technology. Machine translation may be tempting from a cost perspective, but it could render your content confusing to your target markets. Machine translation may help get more international visitors to your local pages, but once there, can you engage them with machine translated text?
Humans are the most important component of translation and transcreation. You may use machine translation as a starting point, but a human must always step in to make that human connection with your desired audience.
Why Is Transcreation Important for Global Marketing?
Of the most important languages for global business, English is still the most prevalent. Nonetheless, many other languages are becoming critical. For example, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S.
With more and more markets going online, you need messaging that speaks to a variety of cultural groups if you want to be successful on the world stage.
Transcreation is crucial to global marketing initiatives for three reasons. It helps you get listed in multilingual search results, build trust with your audience, and avoid confusion and taboos.
Improve International SEO
Transcreating your online content makes it easier for people who speak other languages to find it in search results. That’s because transcreation will incorporate the keywords and key phrases that are actually used, instead of simply the English or other language keywords literally translated. You’ll be creating unique content that local search engines can index and rank.
There are other SEO benefits: When you transcreate a blog post, you make it easier to digest and relate to. That means it’s more likely to engage its audience and garner backlinks from authoritative multilingual websites than a blog post that is translated literally or by a machine.
You should always transcreate target keywords and come up with new keywords based on your target market. You can identify keywords by language, culture, and locality. Keywords are the DNA of your content strategy!
Build Trust with Your Audience
The easiest way to lose trust with an international audience is to butcher their language on your website. To build trust, your content must be authentic, relatable, and readable.
Transcreation helps you create content for a specific audience. With a skilled translator, your transcreations will take on a distinctive voice that will speak directly to the reader. If you work with a native speaker, they will better understand your audience’s cultural context while representing your brand.
Avoid Cultural Faux Pas in Translation – Marketing
In 2009, HSBC had to spend millions of dollars to repair the damage of a mistranslation in one of their campaigns. The slogan “Assume Nothing” was accidentally translated into “Do Nothing” in several countries. This was an evident translation marketing nightmare!
When you have an entire website’s worth of content to translate and you do not provide transcreated keywords to your translation team, it is easy to make such mistakes. Transcreation of slogans, key messages like marketing messages, keywords, key phrases is the safest method to avoid cultural faux pas or awkward mistranslations.
How Do Transcreation Rates Compare to Translation Rates?
Translation, as well as web, video, media, and software localization, are no longer luxuries for companies who market to customers on a global scale. While rates for these services vary, transcreation rates tend to skew higher than translation.
That’s because transcreation involves an element of content origination. It requires brainstorming, market insight, and research. Just as a copywriter writes a blog post, a transcreator must recreate that blog post for a new audience.
GlobalVision International, Inc. specializes in providing translation, localization, and transcreation services to highly technical industries. If you’re curious about how localization marketing can help build your web traffic, contact us today.
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