Transcreation

Since 2012, we’ve worked with a top-three beauty company as their global localization partner, adapting all packaging, digital, eLearning, POS, and ATL materials, from TVCs to classic print. Servicing this cosmetic giant’s language needs involves a bevy of services—translation and proofreading, but also transcreation, VO direction, and creative production—across new product launches, market expansions, philanthropic efforts, and internal initiatives for over a dozen brands.  

Although thrilling, adapting all content for an industry-leading, multi-brand company presents some unique challenges. In the world of retail, brand image is paramount, and as global brand guardians, it’s imperative we effectively communicate the brand identity of each subsidiary to international markets. This means understanding the nuances, differentiators, tonality, and personalities of the individual brands and pivoting to accommodate their particular messaging, creating content that resonates with their specific target audiences; the voice and lexicon of a premium fragrance line, for example, differs widely from that of a cosmetics brand catering primarily to Generation Z. Thankfully, we have a buzzing, global network of beauty-specialized linguists whom we train via brand immersion sessions to fully grasp the minutiae of each brand and achieve the desired tone. 

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One skincare company asked for our help reaching Spanish-speaking populations living (and shopping!) within the United States. Known for their catchy headlines and beautiful POS displays in high-end department stores, the brand wanted their US-based, Hispanic audiences to experience the same witty playfulness as any English-speaking consumer. The client recognized the potential of this diverse community, but wasn’t having much luck with their existing translations. Simply pulling the copy written for other Spanish-speaking markets, such as Mexico, just wasn’t cutting it. 

To find the perfect voice for US Hispanic audiences, we put our transcreation plan into action: 

  • First, we weighed in on which dialects to feature based on demographics. We advised that while Mexican-Americans constitute a large portion of the US Hispanic target audience, overly Mexican-sounding copy would alienate the Cuban population of Florida, or the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in New York. Additionally, many shoppers from other Latin American countries would benefit from more universal Spanish headlines.  
  • Based on this, we assembled a linguistic team of experienced, US-based Hispanic copywriters from different Latin American origins in order to achieve a balanced, inclusive dialect that was still representative of, and relevant to, US Hispanic audiences and cultures.  
  • We then tackled some essential questions, analyzing the unique transcreation challenges ahead. For example, how to address clients, how to rephrase rhetorical questions to avoid a negative connotation, how to navigate the wordplay/creative devices of the iconic English copy, etc. 
  • We also established a system for what to translate vs. keep in English. Our main takeaway was that proper nouns of products should remain in English, but that we incorporate more descriptive language to ensure the nature of each product is evident. 
  • With this strong foundation, we began transcreating, making sure to adjust the TOV and approach slightly in accordance with usage. Print is by nature a little more formal, but POS is often more playful, especially for this brand. 
  • Once transcreation was underway, we worked on building a glossary of go-to terminology to ensure perfect consistency in materials and stores nationwide, and establish the US Spanish brand voice. 

 

And all this while reimaging the iconic TOV for US Hispanic audiences, keeping overarching brand voice integrity and brand identity intact! 

We repeated this process for Chinese-speaking communities in North America and French for Canada, helping the skincare company spread the word and untap the consumer potential of local foreign-language markets. 

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