Idiomatic Case Study: Bridging New Frontiers

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Idiomatic Case Study: Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East

As the world becomes more interconnected and living standards worldwide improve, many previously ignored countries are entering into the global economy as serious players. These so-called emerging markets -- including many countries in the Middle East, South America and Africa -- have booming populations, high internet connectivity and increasingly educated workforces. These markets represent serious growth opportunities for any business. Investors and businessmen need to look well past the traditional markets of Western Europe and the United States.

Recently, a large technology startup (let's call them Acme Inc.) approached Idiomatic Dubai in our Middle East headquarters to assist with a series of ongoing translations. This technology company, based in The Emirates, had recently acquired a branch of a well-known multinational media company, and wanted to capture significant market share in francophone Africa, as well as Latin America. 

In order to best attract potential consumers, Acme Inc. understood the necessity provide top-quality multilingual content in the native language of the target audiences. While Acme Inc. handed Arabic translations in-house, Idiomatic Dubai was contracted to work with their materials for French and Spanish.

Creating Trust

After the initial contact and having received the marketing materials from Acme Inc., Idiomatic's native speaking translators got to work. Following thorough revision of the translations according to ISO standards, the translations were delivered to Acme Inc., whose CEO and founder had no reservations in saying that he wasn't at all pleased with the final result.

Idiomatic Dubai, with help from the Canada and US branches, opened a non-conformity to review the translations and provide a quality revision. However, the proofreaders agreed that the translations were correct, and a good representation of the original text. A few stylistic and grammatical changes were made, and the translations were delivered once again to the CEO. Once again, he wasn't happy. 

A meeting was proposed with Acme Inc.'s CEO in order to address the problem. Interestingly, the CEO was not at all disappointed in the quality of the translations on a technical level, but felt that the tone of the translations just wasn't the right fit. He wanted his company's message and vision shouted from the rooftops, but didn't see it happening with the translations as they were. He wanted the marketing materials to be playful, young, inventive and his words, "disruptive". He didn't want a translation that adhered to the original text, but rather that the originals be used as a springboard for creativity in another language.

Before going any further, Idiomatic asked the CEO to define the why, what and how of his product. Why did he want to bring his product to the world, what was the purpose of his product, and how would he use it to change people's lives? 

Transcreation, Not Translation

A few day's later, Acme Inc.'s CEO came back to Idiomatic with a clear definition of his creative vision. He explained to us that he wanted to break the rules in the technology space, and wanted his multilingual content to back that up. 

We came to understand that Acme Inc. was actually after transcreation, not translation, for their marketing materials. Transcreation is a term coined from the words "translation" and "creation", and a concept used in the field of translation studies to describe the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.

Idiomatic Dubai was given essentially free rein in creating French and Spanish language content, as long as we adhered to the brand's basic principles. Our linguists created new slogans, used wordplay, and made inventive references. Following several more back and forth conversations with Acme Inc., Idiomatic produced a series of marketing materials that captured the company's ethos, as envisioned by its founder and CEO. 

While the translations themselves were technically challenging, the most difficult aspect was understanding the client's needs and goals. Many translation companies (especially big ones) try to apply a one-size-fits-all approach in order to achieve economies of scale. Idiomatic, on the other hand, has global reach, but is still small enough for our directors to be able to sit down and speak directly with clients. By listening to our client's needs, we were able to come up with a creative solution to a creative problem, and in turn, form a business relationship based on trust. 

At Idiomatic USA, we love a challenge. Do you have complex translation needs? If so, feel free to get in touch here.

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