How to become a better transcreator

Super transcreators are as rare as unicorns. They need to understand marketing and copywriting, have deep knowledge of two languages and cultures, and write beautifully. Whether you’re a natural talent or want to hone your skills, here are a few tips and resources that may help.

1. Become a marketer

Transcreation is deeply entwined with marketing assets, so a solid understanding of marketing is essential. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to know enough to produce work that aligns with the company and campaign’s goals. Podcasts are easily accessible – Hubspot’s Skill Up is digestible and entertaining, Copyblogger FM focuses on content and copywriting, Hootsuite’s Hootcast dives into social media, Shopify’s Masters features examples of ecommerce marketing, the Worldly Marketer’s podcast is very relevant to global marketing, and business and tech shows ZigZag and Reply All are great for inspiration. For reading material, marketing platforms offer a wealth of useful content: Contently’s Content Strategist blog, Mailchimp’s Master the Ways of Marketing resources, and LinkedIn’s marketing solutions blog are just a few of your options.

2. Read in your own language

It’s easy to become obsessed with learning a second or third language – we at Supertext can relate. But the key to writing better is to read good writing in your own language. The New Yorker (US), AERA (JP) or Revue des deux Mondes (FR) are great places to start.

3. Subscribe to newsletters

I know, I know, your inbox is overflowing already. But well-crafted newsletters can help you spot trends (emoji’s in subject lines?) and experience targeted marketing (content that’s tailored just for you). Keep the range diverse – from news outlets to fashion brands to technology providers – and observe the impact the copy has on you.

4. Put on your editor hat more frequently

Whether you’re editing for yourself or another writer, take every opportunity to kill your darlings. Editing is a great way to get into the minds of the readers, focus on style, and learn from others about how they’ve bridged the gap between languages and cultures.

5. Explore transcreation resources

Good resources have started popping up as transcreation establishes itself as a localization buzzword: TAUS’s Transcreation Best Practices and Guidelines gives a great overview, Nimdzi has published a buyer’s guide to transcreation, and Nina Sattler-Hovdar’s Get Fit For The Future Of Transcreation comes highly recommended. UCL (UK), the BDÜ (Germany) and TAUS (Japan) also offer transcreation-related seminars and courses if you prefer a classroom-based approach.

Cover image via Twenty20

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