Marketing: text type versus specialisation
There are two types of marketing translations: on the one hand, there is the specialised variety during which marketing is considered objectively as a corporate field. On the other, there is marketing translation in the sense of transcreation.
In other words: a marketing expert well-versed in economic principles and terms cannot automatically produce good texts or creative translations! And conversely, a translator capable of delivering hard-hitting copy is not necessarily marketing savvy – in the same way that an author, artist or film director creates a work of art, but cannot possibly offer an unemotional analysis and review like an objective art critic can.
Anyone who masters their discipline should of course be familiar with the fundamental requirements and conventions of their profession though, such as the different painting styles or the main components of a film script or stage play. However, creative work is above all about how a wordsmith uses sophisticated creative techniques and the power of their imagination to capture the spirit of the times and forge something new. What does this mean for multilingual copywriters?
Marketing translation as an art form
Like a skilled sculptor, a multilingual copywriter must be familiar with the fundamental forms of presentation to compose their clients’ content and messages. Press releases and newspaper articles have a set basic structure and certain basic stylistic rules must be observed, for example.
However, there are also other factors such as the client’s requirements and the recipients’ expectations. Which is why marketing translators are actually like a kind of commissioned artist. They have a clearly defined brief and a set target audience for whom they write on their client’s behalf.
Within this strategic framework, marketing translators enjoy relative freedom though. Their success largely depends on their individual creative powers as multilingual copywriters, who also require a certain amount of talent and feel for the language, along with the specific skills required of a constructive translator, a comprehensive repertoire of creative techniques and practical experience in their fields of specialisation.
Resourceful, well-trained multilingual copywriters with creative powers and translation skills are required here. Proficient wordsmiths commissioned to produce texts that are perfectly in tune with the times and recipients’ tastes and impart overtly positive messages that align with the company’s corporate identity and brand image.
Note: transcreation and creative translation = translation PLUS copywriting = multilingual communication for brand identity/sales
A brief review of the necessary work steps reveals how elaborate and multilayered the transcreation process is if it is planned strategically and impeccably executed. To recap: it is about conveying the feelings, messages, emotions and connotations of a foreign language from one culture into another. The work involves far more than merely creating advertising copy, which is itself a demanding task:
• Draft translation
• Further research
• Final checks
(Adapted from the workflow by Nina Sattler-Hovdar, copywriter and trainer for transcreation)
This workflow can naturally also be adjusted to suit the client and requirements profile. An adequate brief with a client questionnaire should be as much the standard as extensive research to thoroughly familiarise oneself with the client’s area of expertise. It would of course be a massive advantage if the translator were to already specialise in this field.
This is followed by brainstorming using different creative techniques, among others imparted during seminars. The subsequent consolidation involves taking a step back and considering the work thus far from the perspective of the target audience. This distance is key to be able to filter out the most favourable idea from all of the intuitive inspiration, which best fits with the overall concept, brand image, corporate identity and target audience. Allowing the copywriter to arrive at constructive solutions from which they can compose print-ready texts and adaptations.
The material must then undergo the requisite grammar and style checks. Only then is the text given one last polish before the final checks are conducted.
As a multilingual text coach for international clients, Thorsten Distler has been taking the game of his clients to the next level since 2003. The track record: several million words of hard-hitting copy.
Thorsten Distler Diplom-Übersetzer (BDÜ) EN|FR|DE
Phone +49 9270 349216
Mobile +49 151 22885868
Mail for press contact email@example.com
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