World Vision

Once more with feeling: transcreating annual reports

Corporate storytelling is everywhere these days – including in annual reports. The facts and figures may be important, but so is the story that surrounds them. That’s why forward-thinking organizations like World Vision are now looking beyond the numbers and focusing on creative texts and translations that turn readers into fans.

“166 million people needed help in 2019.” That’s how one section of the aid organization World Vision Switzerland’s 2019 annual report begins. It’s a straightforward fact, but it still grabs the reader’s attention. Why? Because it’s presented in an emotional manner. To ensure that the same emotions come across in English as in the original German, the foundation turned to Supertext’s transcreation service. The aim was to make the values and achievements behind its development work come across clearly to readers – in every language.

When the words count as much as the numbers

“Corporate storytelling” is the current buzzword in the reporting world. The focus is on a company’s story. And the words used to tell it. That’s why, for example, the Swiss Annual Report Rating now includes text quality as part of its rankings.

“The annual report is a company’s calling card – and in our case, an image brochure as well. A literal translation won’t cut it. The stories need to grab the reader.”


Barbara Mooser, Head of Content at World Vision Switzerland

So what does this creative translation process look like in practice? Instead of “readers”, the English version of the report addresses the “friends of World Vision”. “Successes” become “achievements around the world”.

But just telling powerful stories isn’t enough to make a report successful. Authenticity and credibility are also key, particularly when it comes to sustainability reporting. An open, honest and self-critical account of the previous year’s activities will draw a positive response from readers. That’s why World Vision’s report contains chapters such as “Knowing what works”, which transparently details the indicators used to measure the organization’s success.

Perfectly tailored translations in every format

World Vision Switzerland has now opted for a transcreation of its annual report for the second year running. Rather than using a specific publishing tool, the foundation sends InDesign files containing all the necessary texts to Supertext. Supertext carries out the translation directly in these files, eliminating the need to adjust the layout afterwards. World Vision considers the language service provider’s readiness to adapt to its desired format “very client-friendly”. And the choice of a creative translation has also paid off – according to World Vision, its annual report was well-received by readers, and the foundation is “very satisfied with the results”.

Cover image via World Vision

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