Translation and transcreation are a core element of a successful regional or global marketing campaign. Companies that operate across borders — or even within multilingual countries — have to ensure their message remains consistent with their brand, while also appealing to each local market.
The language and branding challenge is complex enough. Technology should help global marketers reach audiences faster and in a more targeted manner, not add additional layers of complexity.
Opting for a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution is a start. SaaS solutions are typically highly scalable, more competitively priced, and integrate more easily with existing software and marketing tools.
So how do you manage the linguistic component of a global marketing campaign at scale, a process that requires liaising with dozens of client stakeholders, and deploying hundreds of linguists? That is where Wordbee comes in. Wordbee Translator is a cloud-based Translation Management System (TMS) with integrated CAT tool. It enables in-house localization managers and external collaborators to work together in real time with linguists. Both large language service providers and enterprise buyers run on Wordbee.
One of Wordbee’s clients is Hogarth, the WPP-owned, marketing implementation agency that produces advertising, and other marketing communications for global brands across all media and most languages. Hogarth is a world leader in transcreation, and works with its clients to strike the right balance between global brand identity and connecting with consumers in local markets.
At Hogarth, over 5,000 internal project managers, linguists, and external client stakeholders use Wordbee. And it runs like clockwork.
Making the Switch to Wordbee
Prior to Wordbee, Hogarth used another TMS for three years. As their business grew, Hogarth felt their TMS would not be able to scale well alongside. So, they looked for alternatives.
“I spent six months testing pretty much every available solution in the market”—Rui Milheiro, Director of Localization and Translation Technology at Hogarth
“After growing year-over-year at 20%-30%, it was really difficult to scale file-based solutions so we decided to invest in a SaaS solution. I spent six months testing pretty much every available solution in the market,” recalled Rui Milheiro, Director of Localization and Translation Technology at Hogarth.
Factors that were considered in selecting a new system were platform licensing, annual cost, user-friendliness, translation memory, and text extraction.
“Obviously, platform licensing was on the top of my list. Then, user-friendliness and a smarter way of working. It would have to be a tool that would already meet, at least, most of the requirements we had as a marketing production company. We need to deliver very high quality content, customizable to the different requirements of different clients. Then, of course, there were the translation memory and text extraction features,” said Milheiro.
As Hogarth works in all media, across print, digital, and broadcast, working with the right file formats such as HTML, ASPX, XML, INDD, and others, reduces production time and the risk of human error.
“As part of WPP, we are bound by very tight policies in terms of security and compliance”
Wordbee’s very robust translation memory backbone was also a key factor. “I know that some platforms don’t function so well when they are hosted online. I don’t notice any shortcomings in terms of the [Wordbee Translator] translation memory engine or the algorithm that calculates matches. It works perfectly. You can add as many translation memories as you want. It’s really easy to import, it’s easy to remove duplicates, it’s easy to make them available, so I’m very happy with the translation memory mechanism, for sure,” said Milheiro.
IT compliance and security aspects were also a key part of the decision-making process. They did a “very thorough security and compliance audit,” Milheiro said, adding, “As part of WPP, we are bound by very tight policies in terms of security and compliance.”
One overlooked factor when choosing a new TMS is how well it will be adopted by the thousands of linguists asked to switch to a new tool. According to Milheiro, Wordbee Translator scored well for adoption.
“Acceptance was very good, so the success rate was very high. It was 75% to 80% across all the freelancers we had. Of course, a few resisted because they had made massive investments in their own technologies,” said Milheiro.
He pointed out, however, that this did not become a long-term issue because with Wordbee Translator you can use either the embedded CAT tool or download localization packages using XLIFF and TMX, so translators can use their own technology.
Transcreation at Scale
On the challenges of executing global campaigns for clients, Milheiro said one issue with global marketing is that when master files are created, they are not suitable to be adapted for other markets.
“So what works in the United States about Christmas, for instance, will not work in Finland or Saudi Arabia. We always have an insight check to ensure that materials will be localizable into all markets that have been specified,” he said.
The next challenge is to get the transcreation and editing done correctly; adapting a message from one language into another while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.
“Acceptance was very good among freelance translators”
“This is why technology is very important. We need to work with a very good talent pool, with specialized linguistic talent, and we need to combine that with software technology to facilitate the collaboration between all stakeholders in projects of this complexity,” said Milheiro.
Complexities include sharing content with translators and editors; adaptation and editing by experts from local markets; initiating production, and then sharing the files again with the local markets.
Milheiro explained that transcreation is directed at above-the-line materials such as TV ads, posters and print advertising. The copy has to be short yet appealing, as if written for the local market — a time-consuming process, Milheiro noted — which requires a lot of interaction between all stakeholders.
“It also requires an explanation as to why a particular term or a particular sentence has been selected, how it appeals to the consumer, and checking to see if it complies with the original client brief,” he said, all to ensure the quality will live up to the standards of transcreation.
31 Markets, 24k Words, 4 Weeks, 3 Stakeholders Per Language
Wordbee Translator was put to the test when Hogarth used the technology in a localization project for a large US tech company. It was a large scale project: 24,000 words, 31 markets, with three stakeholders, and a turnaround time of four weeks.
“Everything that was copy-related and the review cycle was supported by Wordbee”
“For this campaign, everything that was copy-related, and the review cycle was supported by Wordbee. All the client’s subsidiaries went through all the copy so they could have context and then validate the full copy,” said Milheiro. The project proved to be a logistical challenge as it required three stakeholders from the client for each language combination.
First, all 24,000 words had to be reviewed to ensure everything was consistent and written to the highest quality. Then, the copy was reviewed by a local subject-matter expert on the topic, edited and proofed, and then sent to a local contact within marketing in the client’s company to ensure the right terminology had been used and that continued to make the right impact.
Another challenge, said Milheiro, was they could not impose deadlines. “So we recommended deadlines and then it depended on client availability. But client cooperation was great. And Wordbee made it easy.”