The Role of Transcreation in Marketing Campaigns

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t find the words to say exactly what we mean. When we finally do find the perfect words, they may not be easy to translate. Idioms, cultural differences, puns. Not all language choices can translate word for word while maintaining their original meaning. This struggle is particularly true with creative language. Marketing campaigns are one area in particular in which this struggle often applies. The wit, creativity, and snappiness of marketing copy may be difficult to translate properly. The solution? Transcreation. 

Why is transcreation necessary?

The term transcreation combines two words. It is a meshing of translation and creation. Most commonly,  those who work in marketing and advertising use this term. Transcreation can help duplicate marketing messages in a way that hides the fact that translation occurred. Ideally, this process will provide the audience with the same emotional response they would have obtained from the source message.

Culture plays a large role in making an advertisement successful. Ensuring that all marketing materials feel as if they were specifically designed for the culture they’re targeted at is important. Advertisers must make their audience feel a certain way. Unlocking what is important to them culturally, will make that process much easier. 

How is transcreation used in marketing?

Globalization has led to many companies spreading their marketing campaigns to other countries, which can require running campaigns in multiple languages. Because language is so intertwined with culture, it’s important that marketers hire professional transcreators to assist with the transcreation process. A transcreator is usually a professional translator who is skilled in creative writing.

What may seem like a direct translation could actually lose the essence of what made the source copy so effective from a marketing perspective. Slogans that contain metaphors, similes, rhyming, word play, or alliteration, are examples of why transcreation is so important. Those creative writing techniques won’t necessarily translate literally into other languages. 

What are the challenges of translation in marketing?

When moving into a foreign market, there are three options for advertisers. Translate an existing campaign, run new campaigns locally, or run an international campaign in English. If a marketing team chooses to go the translation route, they must incorporate transcreation into their process. Transcreation can be difficult and entail more work than a direct translation, but it’s worth the extra time commitment. When an ad agency or marketing team neglects to hire a professional translator for this process, they may end up with underwhelming results in foreign countries. Potentially their entire campaign can fail or cause scandal. 

Pepsi is an unfortunate example of the dangers of skipping transcreation in marketing. Between 1963 and 1967, Pepsi attempted to market their products in China. The slogan they used in English speaking countries was “Come alive with Pepsi”. However, when they tried to translate that English text into Chinese, the outcome was disastrous. The Chinese translation ended up as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.” Not exactly a crowd pleaser. For a product to successfully enter a new market, all aspects of its marketing campaign need to adapt to the target culture.

Our End of Year Reflections as a Team

At the end of every year, we like to pause amongst the holiday madness and reflect upon what our amazing team at Terra Translations has accomplished. We’re so proud of how hard our team works every day and their ongoing commitment to learning and improving. We’re so grateful for everyone who joined us on our journey this year, from new teammates, to our beloved clients, to all of the friends made through our philanthropic activities. 

What We Achieved

April showers generally bring May flowers, but for our team April also brought an ISO 17:100 certification. Having this certification was important to us because it clearly defines the best practices for providing translation services. When we adhere to this set of practices, we improve our ability to design a smoothly run translation process and deliver the highest quality of translation services to our clients. The fun didn’t stop in 2019, we’re currently getting ready to earn our recertification in 2020.

In July the excitement continued. We took 4th place in the Capability Statement competition at the WPI Volk Field Small Business Summit. Companies from around the state of Wisconsin competed by submitting their general company statements for evaluation and we took home the 4th place prize.  

Internally, there were some gratifying moments as well. Each year we carry out a customer satisfaction survey. This year we also shared a work climate survey with all Terra employees and translation partners in an effort to get feedback from those who contribute to Terra’s success. We are happy to report that Terra team members reported a satisfaction level of 4.8 out of 5. Our freelance vendors also reported high levels of satisfaction (2.7 out of 3). Participants of the survey were spread across 13 countries and their kind words in the survey touched our hearts. One respondent said, “It’s really a pleasure for me to work with such an amazing and humane group of people. I always feel that my hard work is appreciated by the team at Terra. Thank you and keep it up!” Another reported that, “Terra is undoubtedly the best company to work with. More than a company, it feels like family. Thanks to the whole team for your support and trust!”

Our Growth

At Terra, we are committed to providing jobs for qualified translators, editors, and project managers (amongst other roles). We’re happy to report that our team grew by 27.3% in 2019. Fifteen amazing new team members joined us. Most took on Project Manager roles, but we also welcomed some talented linguists who work in a QA/Editor role. Hiring at such a rate was absolutely necessary to keep up with our growing volume of work. In the past 12 months alone, we translated 23% more words than we did in the previous period. Hopefully these numbers continue to grow in 2020. 

How We Gave Back

We’ve always encouraged our team to take on leadership roles and charitable efforts inside and outside of our organization. This year, they went above and beyond to not only foster their own personal and professional growth, but to give back to the translation community as well. In 2019, we extended the reach of Terra Cares. Through this program, we provide pro-bono translation services to select healthcare and legal focused non-profit organizations within our communities. This year we also volunteered with MSF (Doctors Without Borders). Since we began working with MSF in January of 2019, we’ve completed over 100,000 words of translation work for them. 

We wanted to further our charitable efforts and began a collaboration with Chicas en Tecnología. Their mission is in line with our goals to support women. They seek to close the gender gap in technology through programs and initiatives that motivate and train the next generation of female leaders in technology.

Inspired by our desire to continuously support women, our CEO Marina joined the Women In Localization Los Angeles Chapter and occupied the Administrator role of the Translation Company Division in ATA. Through her volunteer work, she contributed to the organization’s mission of helping foster a global community for women in the localization industry.

We also joined the AASL, Association of Language Companies (ALC), and Scale Up associations in 2019. All of which support professional and personal causes that we care about. Two Terra team members joined Translated in Argentina’s board. We have been members of the organization for quite some time now and are thrilled they’ve chosen to join us in supporting their cause.

Our Business Development Manager Florencia Fole doubled down on charitable efforts and joined the Association of Video Game Developers of Argentina (ADVA) as a Board Member. ADVA is a non-profit organization that helps promote the growth of digital and interactive entertainment produced in Argentina. 

She also helped found Women in Games Argentina. Women in Games is a UK movement whose main objective is the empowerment of women in the video game industry. 

Our Human Resources Manager Natalia Quintás stepped out of the office and onto the stage to present at both CLINT and WIL local events. She shared her knowledge about how to manage high performance teams and how those new to our industry can enter the translation industry market.

Prioritizing Team Bonding

We couldn’t appreciate our kind, talented, hardworking team any more than we already do. Which is why we wanted to wrap up the year with a team meet-up in Buenos Aires that included team building activities and a big dinner that brought together a large number of our freelance translators and editors. Our team met up at the Howard Johnson Resort in Pilar, Buenos Aires to partake in a workshop designed to strengthen group dynamics. Teamwork is the cornerstone of Terra’s culture, so spending a day bonding as a team felt like the perfect way to wrap up an outstanding year.

An Insider’s Guide to the Role of a Quality Assurance Manager

The key to any successful translation project is quality. Assuring the highest quality work is what sets Terra Translations apart from other language service providers. With quality as a cornerstone of our workflow, we designed a process that supports error-free deliverables. One of the essential steps in this flow is led by the Quality Assurance Manager (QAM). 

The Role of a Quality Assurance Manager

After the translation and editing process, the Project Manager (PM) assigns the translated project to the QAM for a final review. The primary role of the QAM is to check the accuracy of the edition. 

“I ensure that the text reads naturally and smoothly in the target language,” explained Celeste Moreno, QAM for Terra. “The reader shouldn’t notice that the text is a translation.” 

Accuracy includes grammar and style. The QAM may also compare the edition to the original text to ensure the sentiment and meaning remains intact. It’s important that the translator properly conveys the tone and register of the original text to the target market.

“We’re the last step of the quality control chain,” Celeste said. “So it’s a great responsibility.” 

In addition to this process, the QAM will use the quality assurance features offered by Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. The technology is leveraged by the QAM to catch mistakes and achieve consistency. The audit of the software provides another layer of quality assurance.

After the QAM reviews and finalizes the project, he or she sends it to the Account Manager (AM) for client delivery. The QAM will also send feedback to the translator and the editor. This step is valuable because, through this, the linguists have an opportunity to improve. Constructive feedback will enhance the overall quality of the team.

A Quality Assurance Manager’s Core Skills

Similar to a PM or AM, a QAM’s day is highly deadline-driven. The QAM must ensure that all assignments are reviewed and returned within the allotted timeline. This requires an individual both organized and self-motivated to remain on track. Another pivotal skill is attention to detail. Because some errors can be as minor as format consistency, the QAM must be precise and thorough when reviewing the edition as well as the original brief. There could be special instructions in the brief that were overlooked and need to be addressed. Lastly, an asset a QAM can hold is confidence. There are many moving parts to any translation process. Projects can quickly present unforeseen challenges and easily trigger stress. A proficient QAM will remain calm under pressure and tackle their work with certainty and focus. 

Why is a Quality Assurance Manager Essential?

The additional oversight the QAM provides is fundamental and should be a requirement for every translation project. Even one poorly translated word can affect the entire meaning of content. This, in turn, affects the credibility of what needs to be conveyed and audiences will never connect with the translation. Quality assurance is at the core of an impactful and meaningful translation project. 

“If a company doesn’t have a Quality Assurance Manager, an editor, or someone who reviews a translation, it could be a recipe for disaster,” said Celeste, “You always need an extra set of eyes on a translation.”

Localization of Medical Software: A Global Need

Safety first. When it comes to patient welfare, safety is always the goal. Which is why the localization of medical software is a topic worth discussing. In the context of medical software, localization refers to adapting the strings of text in computer software to different languages, regional peculiarities, and technical requirements of a target locale. Medical software influences a patient’s health. A fault or bug in the code can put a patient at risk. But risks can also stem from a lack of proper translation of the languages used for medical device software. With more than 1.5 million medical devices available in the homes, medical offices, and hospitals, there is ample need for the localization of medical software.

Where Medical Device Regulations Come Into Play

Medical software aids in decisions that affect patient care. It is vital that manufacturers build their software to meet medical device standards. Meeting those standards is not mandated, but will help ensure companies build software safely. Developing software with medical device standards will save you time and money if at a point your software is considered a medical device. Tackling these standards up front instead of at a later date will be most beneficial.

What is Medical Device Software?

Some software programs are already considered medical devices, which come with their own set of regulations. The International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF) defines software that is a medical device as, “software intended to be used for one or more medical purposes that perform these purposes without being part of a hardware medical device.” Medical device regulators from across the globe came together as a part of IMDRF to determine the framework and principles that enable stakeholders such as regulators to protect patients and promote safe innovation.

Medical device software has to meet strict manufacturing standards that help ensure quality. These standards vary by country. In the United States the FDA and HIPPA set these standards. In Europe and Canada the standards are set by the ISO and IEC commissions.

What is Not Medical Device Software?

Not all software programs utilized in making medical devices are regulated by medical device standards. For example, software that controls a medical device isn’t considered to be an actual medical device. Other examples include software that relies on data from a medical device, but which does not have a medical purpose. Software used to enable medical workflow such as scheduling patient visits. And software used to monitor performance and functioning of a medical device.

Why the Localization of Medical Software Matters

Even if a software is not seen as a medical device, the localization of medical software is of vital importance. Not only on the safety side, but the business side as well. In order to market a medical device and its accessories in a foreign market, companies must remain compliant with any international and local regulations. Instruction for use, packaging, labeling, and manuals must be presented in the national language of each country it is registered.

Typically, user interface translation is one of the key areas of translating medical device software, as any language confusion while using medical software can have perilous results. The FDA and the European Medical Device Directive are extending their purview to medical software. This is to ensure that medical software functions correctly. As well as to help users and health care providers know how to use the software in its intended way in each territory.

Our Rewarding Experience with Doctors without Borders

On Tuesday November 19th, 2019, Terra Translations’ Project Manager Gabriela Lucero represented our organization at a breakfast hosted by MSF (Doctors without Borders). The purpose of the event was to introduce industry players to the new General Manager of MSF. Gabriela received a warm welcome from everyone at the event, “There was such a friendly atmosphere! It wasn’t just the people, it was also the place. You could feel it’s an amazing environment to work in,” she said. 

The Event

After enjoying a quick breakfast, event attendees watched a video about the organization’s accomplishments. You can watch the video here, which Gabriela highly recommends doing. The new General Manager shared how MSF addresses issues like mass immigrations, institutional violence, natural disasters, and epidemics. She shared that the organization doesn’t have any ongoing projects in Argentina. This is a good sign as it means there are no extreme cases in Argentina that require their assistance. Despite not needing aid, there is a very strong Argentinian presence in the organization. Terra Translations is proud to contribute to this collaboration. 

Who Attended

There were a variety of distinguished guests at the event. Some of the attendees do collaborative work with the organization like Terra Translations does. Other attendees contribute to the cause by donating money or goods required for missions. Some help spread the mission’s message or find volunteers. “It all adds up. That’s the message they wanted us to walk away with. All of us can do our part from wherever we are, regardless of how much or how little we have,” Gabriela noted. 

How We Work Together

Our Director of Human Resources Natalia Quintás was the one to initiate a relationship with MSF as she felt the organization aligned with our specialty in medicine and life sciences. She believed we could lend our knowledge to a cause that benefits a lot of people in need throughout the world. MSF’s mission also aligned with the work we were already doing with Terra Cares. “We take pride in being able to contribute professionally to a high-impact mission,” Natalia said. 

Terra Translations began working with MSF in January of 2019 and has completed over 100,000 words of translation work with them. We’ve translated a variety of projects like financial reports, newsletters, and medical articles. Our team is always happy when a new MSF project comes their way and they are aware of the responsibility it entails. Teammate Celeste Moreno feels it is an honor to be able to contribute to an organization that does so much for our world. “When I translate text for MSF, I cannot help but feel utter responsibility for what I’m about to transmit in words. I feel so overwhelmed by the life or death stories that help change the world.” Celeste said.

Fellow teammate Silvina Oddino is also proud of the work we do with MSF. “I assume that my mission as a translator is to communicate, to help people exercise their rights, or to assist medical professionals in their research to find a cure for a disease. But translating for MSF has been uniquely meaningful, it has given special significance to my mission,” Silvina said.

The Takeaway

Gabriela walked away from the event feeling proud of the work our team does. “The whole event was very emotional, to be honest. It’s incredible to be a part of this initiative. As a member of Terra Translations, being able to help an organization with goals so admirable and generous makes me very proud.”

Behind the Scenes: Terra’s Annual Team Building Workshop

On Saturday, November 16th, Terra Translations’ staff enjoyed an exciting afternoon engaged in a series of team building activities at the amazing facilities of the Howard Johnson Resort in Pilar, Buenos Aires.

The aim of the workshop was to strengthen group dynamic because teamwork is the cornerstone of Terra’s culture. Through inspirational speeches, ludic activities and shared time, the team consolidated the values of commitment, confidence, leadership, respect, and creativity.

How was all this possible in one single day? Here are the highlights of the team building workshop.

13:00. Lunch

Lunch was just what the team needed for the workshop to launch. Terra’s staff reconnected over a delicious shared meal. It was a relaxed moment for catching up and building energy for upcoming activities.

 

14:00. Master class

Once lunch was finished, the team moved into a conference room to listen to Carlos Melo, an expert teacher with over 15 years’ experience in business development, consulting, and marketing.

A little bit of theory is always useful. Carlos invited the attendees to rethink the concept of “persuading” by emphasizing the notion of “negotiation” as a key action in every team. He also remarked that for better staff relationships, members should prefer the “Y-Position”. This means paying attention to different opinions on one matter and being open to learning from other options, which can be rewarding for a team. He also gave useful insights about assertiveness, feedback, attitudes to be avoided, and much more.

15:00. Fun and values

Then it was practice time. The group went to the park where different games were setup ready to be played. These entailed applying the skills that are part of teamwork done every day. Some games needed creativity, coordination, and trust in other members, while others relied on improvisation and strategic thinking. All the members were impressively committed to the tasks, but there was also time for laughs, fun, and cheers.

16:00. Oh, do we actually have to build?

It turned out that “team building” was literally about building! The whole Terra team constructed a huge fortress using logs, rope, and the principles needed to build: organization and mutual confidence.

17:00. Instagram time!

Once the task was completed, the team posed for a photo (boomerang included).

 

17:30. Break and getting ready

Mission accomplished. The team had a moment to rest and take stock of the activities of the day. Some coffee and mate were shared and, afterward, the team went to get ready for dinner.

20:00. The dinner

Such a special day needed a unique ending. In the evening, the team welcomed freelance translators and editors to the annual dinner. The event was the occasion for sharing a joyful time among long-time vendors as well as meet those who came to the event for the very first time.

When all vendors had arrived, Terra’s equation was complete. To have the in-house team sharing time with the vendors means being in the presence of the heart of the company. They all are the talent that, combined with teamwork, make Terra’s quality and commitment possible every day.

Take a look at our photo album here!