After identifying and sorting out with the web development team on the parameters and structural issues (refer to Understanding Content Localization Part 1), you’re ready to provide your source content writers with pertinent instructions and to let them be aware of potential consequential effects on the content localization workflow.

It’s imperative that the writing team understands that the content being written will be used as the source text for the LSP’s (Language Service Provider’s) translation workflow. Whether you have the best writers internally or you outsource to a third party, you need to prepare them by communicating your needs clearly, to eliminate snags and get the best finished localized content on time, the first time.

Express Your Concerns Succinctly

To maximize time and efforts, clearly communicate the requirements of your localization project to your writers, whether they’re on staff or contracted. LSPs generally price translation services by the word count (number of words), as do writing and editing agencies. As such, it’s prudent to seriously consider what content is relevant and necessary to be translated to support the marketing campaigns to respective target audiences (for example seasonal offers applicable only to specific regions, campaigns to sync with major local events, etc.).

Explain to your writing team that humor, satire, colloquial expressions, and puns usually should be avoided as they don’t always translate well to different cultures or languages.  Briefly review all content that will be translated. Source copy for translation should be concise; avoid the use of mnemonics and kept within its official mood.

Rely on Creative Transcreation to Insert Character in Your Target Content

Where applicable, your transcreation LSP should indicate notes to explain the rationale behind intended humor or expressions used in the source text. It’s important to remember that your LSP employs translators for their native linguistic skills and the source text for translation is usually in a language that they have learned academically.

Not surprisingly, content translated from language to language (culture to culture) may not be read with the same impact. Elusive meanings are easily lost in translation. Translations of wrongly understood source text may appear to be disrespectful to the target readers, or in a worse-case scenario, the fumbled translation could be stepping on antecedents that should have been altogether avoided.

Beware of Nuances

Because of the risks involved in literal translation, it’s important that you remind your writing team to avoid fanciful styles or tones that they may be using regularly in writing their source language. Examples include:

Culture-specific symbols. Various symbols or icons, such as (†), (♀) (Œ), etc. may not be understood internationally. Therefore, they should be avoided and substituted with descriptive words that can be translated appropriately.

  • Varying address formats. Consider there are varying ways that a region may adopt a preferred writing or form-filling of address details, postal codes, units of measure, currency, and the like, which are commonly used amongst readers in specific countries.
  • General editorial matters. Some of the issues that may impede the translation process are:
    • Use of abbreviations, acronyms, slang
    • Coined or gender words
    • Jargons, shortened plurals
    • SMS-type text or telegraphic style
    • Word combinations or words with multiple meanings
    • Culture-specific topics

Workflow Processes Deserve Attention Too

Revision and update procedures apply during respective localization workflows as well as periodically from campaign to campaign. At this stage, it’s prudent to define a preferred method of identifying the content that requires updating, so that these can be efficiently routed to the respective parties involved in a pre-defined and orderly manner.

For CMS that supports automated features, procedures will include routing through to the translation team as well as receiving translated copies back into the system. An effective monitoring measure should include file version control, importantly, to prevent confusion or mixed-up on which is the most recent project file, files pending approval or already approved, etc.

Be prepared for contractors who may have limited software knowledge to a project. LSPs and their translators are hired for their linguistic expertise and not for software or programming. Text for translation should be clearly defined within the third tier of a typical 3-tier enterprise site. Consider that the easier it is to identify all texts for localization, the faster it will be for the LSP to turn around their target language content workflows.

Experience Counts

Ideally, you want to hire an LSP or transcreation team that has adequate experience to work on a CMS platform, to avoid inadvertent alterations of source codes or programming scripts. Oversights or erroneous actions can lead to excessive stoppage time if the LSP’s team is ill-equipped or needs to learn specific workflow processes.

For more knowledge, join online conversations centered on translation vs transcreation or related topics. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, editorial teams should be familiar with the different workflows applied for standard translation as well as when transcreation plays an integral role in a content localization process.

  • Translation is applied to source information that’s written in its ordinary language and required to be understood in an equally factual, topical and meaningful context in another (target) language. The translator’s objective is to thoroughly understand the source information and to translate meanings of the words into another language using its proper syntax, and in a customary way, for the localized information to be clearly understood by its target readers. Translation is mostly suited for non-marketing content, or content considered technical, legal or financial in nature.
  • Transcreation (Translation infused with creative editing) is defined as written words and meanings aptly adapted to the norms of a target language using proper syntax, collocation, currency, date and address format, measuring system, etc. It brings due consideration to the target reader’s sensitivities toward culture, religion, traditional beliefs and social mores.

Transcreation must be applied to source information that contains colloquial or tongue-in-cheek phrases intended to promote reader’s interest or when a call-to-action is intended in the text. Transcreation brings out the emotions of the content to stimulate reader’s imagination, to prompt readers to act — to read more, to make an enquiry or booking.

Due to cultural or vernacular differences between the readers of the source language and the readers of the target language, an effective workflow requires a bilingual editorial team familiar with the cultural perspectives of the source language content, that also possesses creative editing skills in the target language. In essence, they are able to mimic the various attributes of the source information (abstract and physical) in a culturally relevant stance, and at an equally emotional and intellectual level. Transcreation should be applied to copy of content relating to publicity and marketing, branding, advertising and advertorial.