How to Measure the Quality of a Transcreation Project

In business, the stakes are often high. Many times, you have only one chance to nail important business objectives, such as entering a new market, and failure simply cannot happen. This is often the case with projects that require transcreation. For some business objectives, a literal or more straight forward translation can get the job done. When it can’t, that is where transcreation comes in. 

One of the main challenges of transcreation is measuring quality. Doing so can be more difficult than when handling a more typical translation. Transcreation requires a level of creativity that is difficult to measure. Addressing quality while the transcreation process is actually happening is imperative. While quality standards will vary from client to client, there are ways to work towards general quality standards during the transcreation process.

The Transcreation Brief

Before a transcreation project even begins, steps towards quality assurance must be taken. The transcreator can get a strong start on the project with a solid brief that provides context on the purpose of the content they will be transcreating. For example, a marketing campaign will have different transcreation requirements than a movie would. Understanding the purpose is key, as transcreation projects don’t require a word for word translation, but instead aim to adapt a piece of content to have a similar meaning while conveying the same feeling in another language. 

While the brief should encourage flexibility and creativity, it must give the transcreator clear guidance on what direction to take. Who will be reading the final text? What was the original purpose of the text? Why does it require transcreation? These are all important questions that require answering in the brief. A brief can also share brand values, how the client hopes their brand to be perceived in the target location, and what the desired approach to break into a new market is. 

The Timeline

Transcreation is not a project that should be rushed as it can involve a high level of research and creativity to master. Providing a transcreator with a clear timeline without expecting rushed work can help ensure they manage their time in a way that leads to a quality final project. 

The Back Translation Process

The back translation process involves giving the translated version of the text to a separate independent translator who has not seen the original text. They then translate the new text back into the original language. Their results will help ensure clients that the meaning of the source text was not literally lost in translation. 

Back translation is a quality assurance step that can be useful in certain scenarios such as when content requires a high level of control because semantic errors can have consequences. Or when a client doesn’t speak or read the target language, back translation can allow them to check the accuracy of the translation by themselves.

How to Measure Success

While the goal is to achieve quality during the transcreation process, there are post-publishing measurements that can check if the transcreator accomplished the intended effects and purpose. Pre-publishing, there are tools that can be used to measure readability. Post-publishing measurements require more collaboration though and can involve human intervention. Changes to text can sometimes be made post-publishing, so using the following methods to test quality can provide value.

  • Seeking an objective corroboration that examines sales and site traffic data. 
  • Employing a third party editor or reviewer. 
  • Hosting market surveys and focus groups.
  • Undertaking blind A/B testing. 

At the end of the day, the ultimate “quality test” can be uncovered through the feedback the client receives or the bottom line results of the project. If feedback is positive and the expected results arise, the client can have confidence that the transcreation project was successful.

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