Transcreation: other name for localization?

Transcreation vs. Language Translation for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

By GlobalVision International | Published: July 8, 2011

If you have attempted to use a standard language translation service for the purpose of converting a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad campaign into another language, I am sure you learned the hard way all its shortcomings.

Why is language translation insufficient? Because ad campaigns for PPC cannot simply undergo language translation, they have to undergo transcreation!

What is Transcreation? It is the adaptation of the text into a target language while meeting certain constraints that require creativity to overcome. A transcreator can veer from the source text to achieve a high priority desired goal while maintaining the original intent of the source. Transcreators are knowledgeable of all goals and have the creativity skill to accomplish them.

For instance, when translating Google AdWords, or Tweets, most of us know that there is a character limit constraint that cannot be exceeded. But does this limit change with other languages? Yes, if you are dealing with double-byte languages. It gets even trickier when mixing double-byte with single byte characters as is often the case with Asian languages. If the character limit is exceeded, the string or ad will be truncated or not allowed.

Furthermore, search engines prohibit the use of certain words in their allowed ads. This list of words varies with different languages. If you simply translate while abbreviating to make sure that the character length is met, your ad may still be rejected.

Another important requirement is the proper use of keywords in the ads and in the keyword list. Will language translation of keyword suffice? Are these translated keywords used frequently by web visitors? Are they very competitive making your ads ranked low on the ad list, or driving your bids up? All these factors vary with each language and should be considered in the design of the campaign.

Your transcreation team will also be concerned about the naming of the landing pages. Often file names are not converted by language translation companies. But file names make a big difference in the SEO ranking. What about meta-tags and alt tags? Are you considering translating them?

You can simply translate your ad campaigns and hope that all the language variables will not cause you serious technical problems. Once the ad campaign is launched however, make sure you allocate a huge budget to pay search engines and expect lower return on investment, for your campaign will not be optimized as it would with correct transcreation.

Transcreation’s return on investment for PPC ads and keywords is significant. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish; hire transcreation professionals that know what they are doing!




Red on yellow, deadly fellow


A recent encounter with a King snake reminded me of the rhyme:
Red on yellow, deadly fellow
Red on black, venom lack

Phew! I am safe, I thought to myself. Glad I know the rhyme to tell apart a King snake, which is harmless, from a Coral snake, which has one of the most potent venoms in North America!

As the manufacturer of the Coral snake anti-venom ceased to produce it due to low financial returns, it has become more important for people to remember this rhyme to stay away from Coral snakes.

So, to help our readers south of the border avoid the Coral snake lethal bite, we decided to translate the verses into Spanish using the most popular free machine translation engines. Here we go…

Google Translate
Red de compañeros de amarillo y mortal
Rojo sobre negro, la falta de veneno

Say what?!

Bing Translator
Rojo a amarillo, mortíferos colegas
Rojo sobre negro, falta de veneno

OK, a bit better. But will someone remember it? Absolutely not!

This is why in certain cases, transcreation and not translation (and definitely not machine translation!), is the obvious answer. In Spanish the acronym RANA is used to remind people of the dangerous Coral snake. RANA is the spelling of frog. RANA stands for Rojo, Amarillo, Negro, Amarillo—i.e. Red, Yellow, Black, Yellow. Be aware of RANA!

With transcreation, is the translation literally the same? No. But is the intended effect reached? If done correct, absolutely!

When engaging translators, you are paying them to translate, not to create. If you need transcreation, such as when you translate your ads, your keywords and your marketing messages, then look into hiring a transcreation firm that can meet your language and creative needs to reach the intended effect in creating a lasting international brand and image.

Keep in mind, hiring the right team can save you from a lethal bite!


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