Discover why a transcreator should serve as a cultural advisor!

Transcreator: What the Role Entails and the Skills Required

Ready to get creative? Here’s a unique word for you. Transcreator. A transcreator is someone who works on transcreation projects, most commonly in the marketing and advertising space. Let’s step back for a moment. Transcreation is a combination of two words. Translation and creation. Transcreation is a process that helps replicate an original message or piece of content in order to hide that translation occurred. 

Transcreation plays a crucial role in the success of marketing campaigns. Which means a transcreator is an important asset to any marketing or advertising team that wants to take their marketing efforts to new audiences in foreign countries through transcreation. There are a set of skills that a good transcreator should have in order to be successful at this tricky job.

Who is qualified to transcreate?

In order to transcreate successfully, one must have skills and knowledge regarding not just language, but cultural nuances. The transcreator should be able to confidently advise on the look and feel of a client’s campaign, alongside guiding copy, in order to ensure it is a success within the local target market. Point being, a transcreator should serve as a cultural advisor as much as an expert on translation. 

What skills make a successful transcreator?

The number one skill a transcreator should have may not be one you’d expect. Creativity. The marketing whizzes may be the ones who get all the creative credit, but transcreators are a big part of the equation. Transcreators will play with words, rhythm, proverbs, alliteration, and personification in order to make them work creatively and accurately in the target market. 

Aside from creativity, a transcreator needs to be adaptable. They may have to set aside their personal style or preferences to adapt to a campaign’s needs. An expert knowledge of both the source and target language is also extremely important. Having a high level knowledge of both languages will assist when working through cultural differences and language variants, such as with colloquialisms. Being familiar with the culture of the target language will not only help with word choice, but the meaning behind those words. Throughout the world, different societies have varying traditions, values, struggles, priorities, and passions. Working with a transcreator who is deeply aware of the culture they’re targeting will be an invaluable asset. In essence, a transcreator should have the following skills and experience at their disposal.

  • Have proper training in both literary translation and creative writing.
  • Not only be bilingual, but actually be born and educated in the area relating to the target audience.
  • Stay up to date on the cultural and socio political events of the target market.
  • Be able to write creatively and have advertising, marketing, and copywriting skills.
  • Be knowledgeable about advertising regulations that affect the target audience.

How to work with a transcreator successfully

When working with a transcreator or a transcreation team, it’s important to focus on the work being a collaborative effort. You can give the transcreator as much or as little creative leeway as needed. You can work together to make sure they maintain your vision and preferred style, while also allowing them to put their expertise to work. By working with a high quality transcreator who has an expert knowledge of both the source and target languages and cultures, you’ll be able to ensure that your marketing campaigns shine wherever you distribute them.

4 Stages and 8 Rules for Successful Post-editing

4 Stages and 8 Rules for Successful Post-editing

Post-edition is the task of improving a machine translation (MT) output. This service is part of a wider workflow that may involve the preparation of the input, the implementation of MT and the evaluation of the obtained text. It’s a complex process that involves technology know-how, artificial intelligence and linguistic knowledge1 in its various steps.

1. Pre-editing

In order to obtain a better output after implementing the MT engine, post-editors will prepare the source text. This is because there are texts that are more suitable for MT than others. Pre-editing is the process of preparing the source text before MT to obtain a better MT raw output. The most common actions required in this step are the following: 

  • Manage terminology
  • Apply style guides
  • Shorten sentence length
  • Reduce long noun phrases

2. Machine Translation

At this stage, the MT engine translates the source text. The device can be integrated in a CAT tool, it can be a client’s engine or Google Translate, among other options. Depending on the project’s scope or requirements, a sample may be machine-translated to check the output. According to the results — and if needed — the project’s team makes adjustments in the source text or the engine.

3. Post-editing

Depending on the client’s requests and needs, the translated output can be delivered without post-editing at all (raw output), or with light post-editing or deep post-editing. Regardless of which process is applied, there are certain rules that determine the post-editing process. According to the Translation Automation User Society (TAUS), during the post-editing task, the post-editor should bear in mind these rules:

  1. Do not retranslate the text
  2. Decide changes quickly (“2-second rule”)
  3. Translate the whole text, unless some phrases are classified as untranslatable
  4. Correct incomprehensible sentences
  5. Delete inaccurate sentences if they are irrelevant and difficult to correct
  6. Focus on semantic and syntactic mistakes
  7. Don’t correct stylistic errors (their correction is subject to prior agreement)
  8. Don’t replace recurring terms with synonyms

4. Feedback and Evaluation

When developing an MT engine, the post-editor not only corrects the text, but also provides feedback to the engineers. Usually, the evaluation is made using standardized forms. This is a very important step that helps improve the MT device. The MT team retrains the engine based on the feedback provided (changing configurations, uploading new bilingual samples, for instance). With this step, the engine is “trained” so the quality of the MT output improves gradually. 

The Zero Step

Like in any other localization project, there is a step that cannot be skipped. For a successful delivery, it’s essential to have a prior agreement with clients about what they expect of the MT workflow. Specifically, what kind of post-editing process will be applied (none, light, or deep), style preferences, proper nouns treatment, date format and untranslatable phrases, among others, are details that need to be specified before the project starts. This kind of agreement is the foundation of any localization task.

1As we can see in the chart, the skills, and expertise of linguists play a key part in the MT’s workflow.

The Translation of Medical Documents into Spanish & Its Challenges

The Translation of Medical Documents into Spanish & Its Challenges

When it comes to languages, Spanish is a global powerhouse. Over 442,000,000 people around the world speak Spanish. There are 20 states and territories that consider it the majority language. In these territories, Spanish is the language children learn in school. And the language of official documents. In the United States, the Spanish language is also prevalent. Despite not being the official language. Spanish is the most predominant language spoken by immigrants and U.S.-born Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals. With 64% of the total LEP population speaking Spanish. Considering these vast numbers and the regulations regarding health care accessibility for everyone, it comes as no surprise that there is a growing need for the translation of medical documents into Spanish. The needs for medical translation are various, but when translating from English to Spanish and vice versa, medical translators must be prepared to solve a number of challenges that may arise. These are a few of them:

Medication and Drug Names

One of the first missteps in translating medical documents into Spanish is confusing medication and drug names. Names can easily be mixed up because drug and medication names used locally are different than internationally. Both brand and generic drugs can have names specific to the country in which they are sold. For example, acetaminophen is a name used in the United States for what is internationally known as paracetamol.

Mistranslating names can lead to dire consequences. Especially when it comes to dosing. Scarily, the FDA estimates more than one million people each year experience physical harm from medication misuse. This is why translating a medical text requires a specialized translator trained to deal with medical vocabulary.

Units of Measurement

Even without the need for translation, measurement mistakes are easy to make. Parent medication administration error rates are an example of this issue. More than 40% of parent administrators make dosing errors involving oral liquid medications. Units of measure conversions can be difficult, so linguists have to be very careful when translating them. In some scenarios, conversions are necessary. Other times, it is okay to leave the unit of measurement as is. In general, medicine and science utilize the metric system as it is more accurate. Hispanic countries also use the metric system, but U.S. citizens more commonly use non-metric units. It is of the utmost importance that medical translators are aware of whom the target audience is (general population or scientists, for example) and the system used in particular countries. This helps them determine whether conversions are necessary or not.

New Terminology

The medical field is ever-changing. Progress is a good thing, except when it causes misunderstandings. Occasionally, there is not a recognized translation for a certain term. It is challenging for bilingual dictionaries to keep up with new concepts, technology, research, and medical terms. Many bilingual English-Spanish medical dictionaries are direct translations of English. They don’t always take into account the actual terminology used in the target language. 

Translators also have to be wary of what is known as “false friends”. These are words that sound very similar and appear to be the equivalent of two words in different languages. The word “severe” is an example of a false friend. Severo is a term in Spanish that means ‘strict, tough, harsh in treatment or punishment’ and describes the character of a person. But this word is easily confused with “severe”. A word that can have many meanings, such as grave, intense, or strong. Such as severe pain, a severe blow to the head, or a severe problem. The English word “condition” serves as another example. In Spanish, the word for condition can vary depending on the usage intended. When the word “condition” refers to a defective state of health, it is translated as enfermedad. When it refers to a particular state someone or something is in, it is translated as estado or situación. But at first glance, the Spanish word condición sounds like the proper word.

How Medical Translators Can Improve Accuracy

It is important that the medical translator keeps in mind the limitations of scientific and medical dictionaries. Some may find it necessary to purchase additional medical dictionaries to create a comprehensive knowledge base. Furthermore, skilled medical translators must read the latest journals and scientific papers to properly understand the current medical landscape, as well as recognize and translate new terms.

Behind the Scenes The Producer, The Director The Subtitler

Behind the Scenes: The Producer, The Director… The Subtitler

A Spanish-speaking audience lives in a world surrounded by translated content— from books to user manuals, websites to advertisements. The localization process that made these materials available is not always visible. But when watching a subtitled movie or a TV show, we take notice of the translation’s textual process because the source text (the audio) and the translation (the subtitles) are simultaneously present before us.  

Therefore, the job of audiovisual translators has salient visibility. Translating movie or TV show dialogue is subject to the same constraints of other localization tasks (semantic challenges, large volumes or tight deadlines). It also has specific technical requirements that only audiovisual translators master professionally. 

Common technical requirements: line limit and reading-speed limit


Sometimes the text in subtitles is not a literal translation or may seem shorter than the dialogue. This is mostly on account of two important requirements that restrict the translation of audiovisual products. The first is the line limit, which sets how many characters each line must have for a subtitle event. The range typically varies from 32 to 42 characters per line, therefore, a long sentence or idea must be rephrased in a shorter version. In this case, the audiovisual translator can choose either a shorter but non-literal translation that catches the core meaning of the original or they may crop some words out.

The second constraint on subtitling text is the reading speed limit. Generally, for a positive viewing experience, the reading speed is around 17 characters per second (CPS) for adult programs and 13 CPS for children programs with a flexibility of around 30 percent give or take. This can change according to the genre of the TV show. For example, in unscripted shows like reality TV, a higher value can be admitted such as 20 CPS because they tend to have faster dialogues.

Audio wave or shot change preferences

Depending on the clients’ requirements, subtitles must be synchronized (or “time coded”) to mirror the  exact length the dialogue lasts (so it’s time coded to match the audio) or to fit in scenes. Therefore, it’s preferable if subtitles begin to display when the scene starts and finish when there is a shot change. The sequence is more immersive and, hence, better for viewing experience. This practice is actually Netflix’s preference. 

These conditions may also restrict the task of translating. The linguist needs to catch the semantic and pragmatic meaning of the source text and also fit the subtitle according to the scene or the audio wave. 

Why hire professional audiovisual translators?

Considering these requirements (only a few of the specifications an audiovisual project may have), we can see that audiovisual translators master both creative and technical skills. In addition to the task of translating text, they have to be proficient in the software application they use to comply with all the requirements and deliver the highest quality in every project.

Some visual examples

Example of subtitling: 32 characters per line as limit.
Example of subtitling: 42 characters per line as limit.
Example of subtitling: bad line break.

How to Use Adobe Captivate for the Localization of E-learning Courses

How to Use Adobe Captivate for the Localization of E-learning Courses

Language touches every area of our lives. One of the most important ways it does is through educational resources. Today learning is no longer confined to the classroom as anyone around the world can take advantage of e-learning courses. These courses are especially significant for businesses who need to train their staff on complicated processes such as utilizing new software. This tool can also help host smaller training sessions to help master things like safety precautions regarding food or machinery. Which is why it is essential to offer localized versions of these courses. Luckily, technology is ready to help. For starters, the Adobe Captivate tool can make the localization of e-learning courses a much simpler process. 

What is Adobe Captivate?

Adobe Captivate is an authoring tool that professionals use to create e-learning content. This content can range from randomized quizzes, to software simulations, to demonstrations of software. The content is created in either Small Web Formats (.swf) and HTML5 formats. This handy program can also convert any Adobe Captivate generated file formats (.swf) to digital MP4 (.mp4) formats. You can then play the content on a media player or upload it to video hosting websites. 

Adobe Captivate is a powerful tool with a wide range of functionality. When applied to software simulations it can use either left or right mouse clicks, rollover images, and key presses. It can also create screencast and can convert a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to a .swf or HTML5 format. 

Why to Use This Tool For the Localization of E-Learning Courses?

Sometimes an e-learning course needs to be accessible in multiple languages. This is where Adobe Captivate comes in. This program allows the creator to export all text found in the course into a Word document, which is ideal for beginning the translation process. The process of translating the text and importing it back into the proper format for the e-course is made simple by this tool. Multiple columns will be shown in the exported document. The translator will then translate the text in the “Updated Text Caption Data” column and will finish by importing the file back into Adobe Captivate.

It is worth noting that all multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio narration need to be localized separately. The export only includes text. If you are working with a course that has audio, you can translate the scripts and then record and produce new audio to add to the localized version of the course. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Adobe Captivate

If you want a seamless experience using Adobe Captivate, there are a few tips and tricks worth knowing. One very important aspect of using the tool, you should keep in mind is that language does not translate equally in size. Meaning, if you have a perfectly designed PowerPoint presentation filled to the brim with text, you’ll need to consider how translating the text will affect your design. For example, the Spanish text expands by 25% when translated from English. Which could lead to your text no longer fitting on the page if you’ve translated a course from English to Spanish. The same space issue applies with the translation of audio tracks into Spanish. There is a chance that your recording will increase or decrease in time based on the localization of the audio. 

When using Adobe Captivate for the localization of e-learning courses, it is indispensable to remember these three major missteps while handling the files. 

  1. Don’t make any changes to the Captivate file between the export and import process. If you do so, you won’t be able to correctly import the translated text.
  2. Don’t change any values from the columns. This includes formatting. The only column you should update is the “Updated text Caption Data” column. If you change the values, the file can “break” and there is a chance the content and formatting won’t be correctly imported.
  3. Don’t save the file as a different type of file from the original format. Adobe Captivate usually exports to a 97 – 2003 Word doc. If the document is saved in a .docx format, there’s a possibility that it will break and won’t import properly.

Overall, this tool can save ample amounts of time and money during the translation process. It is worth considering adding it to your toolbox if you need to tackle the localization of e-learning courses. You may also want to consider researching other e-learning course tools such as Articulate Storyline, Camtasia or Lectora to help improve your productivity and the quality of your translation work.