In today’s episode, co-hosts Shaheen Samavati and Kyler Canastra chat about marketing localization and when to translate content for new markets versus creating content from scratch.

Shaheen and Kyler start the conversation by clarifying key marketing localization terms and explaining the difference between translation, transcreation and localization. Then they dive into when it makes sense to localize content for new markets and when it’s better to create original content for each region. They also give a few examples of brands that VeraContent has worked with, mentioning which strategy they went with and why.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

Translation vs. transcreation vs. localization: What’s the difference?

There are several terms and techniques for adapting content from one language to another. At VeraContent, we commonly refer to translation, transcreation and localization. While you’ll often use a combination of all three in marketing localization, it’s important to know the difference.

Translation is the most commonly understood term and basically means adapting text from one language to another as accurately as possible.

Transcreation takes it a step further. The term is made up of “trans” from translation and “creation” from creative writing. With transcreation, the translator has more creative liberty when adapting the text so that it sounds as natural as possible in the target language, without losing the original meaning.

As Kyler puts it:

“With transcreation, translators can take texts and really put their own twist on them so that the same message resonates in a new market.”

Examples of when this is necessary include play on words, local expressions or the use of alliteration. In these cases, you have to get creative on how you transmit the same message across in the target language.

See also: Translation vs. localization: What’s the difference and why should you care?

Localization looks at the entire context of the content. It ensures that the content is translated or transcreated in a way that makes sense culturally for the market and also adheres to local regulations, laws, formatting, values, and more.

“Localization is really making sure that you’re transmitting information in a way that’s understood and allowed in the target market.” – Kyler Canastra

For more insights into transcreation, you can listen to one of our previous episodes with Meag Gardner: Expert insights on the creative translation process.

What’s more important for marketing: translation, transcreation or localization?

“Marketing localization is a combination of creative translation and localization. Marketing content tends to be creative, and it requires going that extra mile.” – Shaheen Samavati

All three processes go hand-in-hand. Some projects may require you to lean more towards transcreation than localization, while others may need a higher level of localization. But as Kyler says, “You can’t really do one without the other.”

How far you want to go with transcreation depends on your brand.

See also: 5 ways to ensure a quality language localization, even if you don’t speak the language

When can you translate or transcreate existing content?

“If you’re selling exactly the same thing, in the same way, and the context is the same, then you can probably reuse more content.” – Shaheen Samavati

There are many cases when you can take the same content and translate it for new markets, but some degree of localization is always needed. An example is general website copy if it’s global content and you want to convey the same message in all markets.

Product pages are another example if the product is exactly the same in each market. Some social and blog content can also often be translated. However, for blog content, Shaheen added that it’s important to localize your SEO even if the base content is the same. Keywords can’t just be translated but need to be localized.

See also: What is international SEO and how to do it the right way

“Many clients do a mix of translation and creating new content for the market as needed. So it really depends on the strategy that the company is following.” – Shaheen Samavati

When is it necessary to create completely new content?

It depends on your business strategy and how different your business is in each country.

“If your product offering has to change because of something in that market, then you’ll have to change your messaging around that.” – Shaheen Samavati

Another reason to create new content is if the attitudes towards that product differ in the new region, as your messaging then needs to change. 

Kyler also mentions that it depends on the platforms that you’re using. In some regions, you may want to target different social media platforms, requiring you to create new content.

A lot of B2B content is region based. As Shaheen mentions, “It’s important to have local case studies that are relevant to each market.” At VeraContent, we’ve also created a lot of original white papers in just one language rather than translating them into several languages. 

Examples of when we’ve created new content at VeraContent

We created new multilingual content for global real estate platform Spotahome as they had a unique opportunity to target landlords in each country. It was important to have original content for each country as landlord laws, relations and pricing are very different. We created SEO blog content in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Portuguese.

See our client story about Spotahome.

Another example is Current Foods, a plant-based food company coming from the US to Spain. Plant-based food alternatives aren’t as common in Spain as in the US, so the messaging has to change, and in many cases, we’ve created completely unique content. We also have to pay attention to different regulations, for example, not sharing nutrition labels on the Spanish content.

See an example of our work for Current Foods.

“Creating a new product category in a market that didn’t have it offers a different context for a product than their home market.” – Shaheen Samavati

PopSockets is another brand we’ve worked with that involved taking a US product and bringing it to an unfamiliar European audience. For this client, we ran local social media accounts in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Poland.

See our client story about PopSockets.

Does social media content require more original content than website content?

Yes and no. There are viral trends that are global, but there are also more local trends that brands should keep an eye on.

The best way to be relevant on social media is to be current and engaged with your audience. To do that, you need real-time access to regional audiences’ behavior, climate and daily happenings.

“You have to be able to create spur-of-the-moment content that taps into the trends happening in the market and how people react to your page. That often means having to create original content in that language as it’s not enough just to translate content.” – Shaheen Samavati

You can check out Shaheen and Kyler’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

Check out more posts on marketing localization, translation and transcreation:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.