Tag Archives: translation

Do You Care Enough About Translation?

At Rhubarb Fool we consume all kinds of media with about as much enthusiasm as we attack a certain fruity, creamy dessert…

Inevitably, we come across all sorts – magazines,

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books, logos, apps, supplements, maps, and more, all in different languages. But something else that varies wildly is the quality. And all too often the place where the quality is sorely lacking is in the translation.

It’s almost understandable – perhaps some businesses are more concerned with their home-based audience, or maybe others are just too comfortable communicating only in English. These concerns, together with the distance that foreign languages seem to have in comparison, mean that translation takes a back seat.

It all too often feels like a poorly executed afterthought, with the results being little better than something run through Google translate. And there is just no excuse for alienating members of your target audience in this way. At least, in our opinion there isn’t.

Think about taking the time to make a delicious meal. You go to the finest deli in town (or, let’s face it, Waitrose) to source the very best ingredients money can buy, consult a complicated recipe, and pay attention to detail to make sure every stage is executed perfectly.

Now imagine looking at that delicious meal you’ve just created, and pouring cheap tomato ketchup all over it before serving it up to someone. That’s a little like what getting

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a substandard translation is like. However sparkling the English copy is, however brilliant the design, it’s all for naught if the translation doesn’t convey that.

The fact is that, with English being such an important world language, we’re all a little bit too used to everyone speaking it. It’s so easy to say ‘but they’ll understand the English anyway – why bother with the translation?’ It’s worth bothering because the extra effort to identify with target demographics on their level fosters more meaningful connections.

The effort doesn’t go unnoticed by consumers, and more importantly, you can establish your company as a brand that does things properly –

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do you really want to ever put your name to something below par?

At Rhubarb Fool we have a deep respect for the importance of translation, and its slightly more nuanced sister, transcreation. Catch up on some of our other blog posts for more insights.

Entrepreneurial journalism. Part III

Don’t be Afraid of a Funny.

You have to see your interaction as potentially impinging on your readers’ leisure time. So lighten up, be cheeky, use rhetorical questions and have a giggle. People warm to and try to remember a funny. So if you’re fortunate enough to have a good sense of humour, use it,

Have a Point of View.

Social media can encourage the bland and the insipid. Just look at Facebook. Many people would rather blend into the consensus than risk treading on someone’s toes. But what’s the point of any writing that demonstrates no point of view? After all, people made incredible sacrifices so that we could say it as we see it and express our opinion. Don’t be afraid of that right.

Break. It. Up.

Readers’ searches for content will generally be determined by how fast they can skim read. You’ll only succeed at slowing them down by getting your hooks into them. Ease the function of rapidly shifting eyeballs by breaking up your pieces with short passages, lists, images, bullet points and captions. Clever use of subheadings can break your story down and captivate your reader.

Tell stories.

You’ll always be able to engage readers with how-to pieces, predictions, top-tens and other similar staples. But think of yourself as being a storyteller too. There are certain key elements to storytelling such as time, place, characters, conflict and resolution which can help you to take your reader on a journey.

Arouse.

I don’t wish to be too bold. But maybe I should. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of sensory stimulation. Great writing leans heavily on cliffhangers. So build curiosity. Suggest. Surprise. Hit. Twist. Do the unexpected. Whatever you can do to make eyes dilate and hearts pound will make you mean more to your reader.

Teach.

Advertising is essentially preaching. We like to think of entrepreneurial journalism as being more about teaching. Your mission is to educate, and entertain. You’re going to have to talk about your brand, but you’ll never build an audience if that’s all you talk about. Share your knowledge with generosity and make the reader feel that they’ve engaged in something valuable.

Converse.

Entrepreneurial journalism can lead us to write conversationally. It helps when you ask your readers to ask questions, add comments and join the new media interaction party.

Demand Action.

As any comedian will tell you, it’s always best to leave your

funniest gag until the end of the show. But entrepreneurial journalism has no point of closure. After all it will be motion that you’re ultimately measuring. So never bid your reader farewell. Tell them what to do next. Share. Sign up. Register. Download. Try. Buy.

Grasp these points of entrepreneurial journalism? If you do you’ll succeed in engaging readers. Whatever happens, let us know and don’t be a stranger.

Entrepreneurial journalism: the written word and commerce. Part II.

Entrepreneurial journalism: the written word and commerce. Part I.

Rhubarb Fool Translation services

Translators or Transcreators?

When it comes to marketing your brand, adapting your message for your specific target audience is key.

Your voice needs to be clear and on-brand. Translation services rarely provide that function.

Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to marketing a brand. Marketeers and content generators love nothing more than peppering their paragraphs with flowery speech, obscure idioms and even slang.

This is why sometimes straight translation is not enough (I have mentioned before in a previous blog the perils faced when a translation house decided to translate House of Fraser to Fraser’s Home. I still shudder at the thought).

Here at Rhubarb Fool we prefer to work with a network of transcreators. These are not dry,

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technical documents we are translating after all.

At Rhubarb Fool, we rely on our transcreators to think about our audience. Consider the tone, usage and syntax and most of all how the content will best play out in their native language.

A good transcreator, and we only employ the best, truly understands that they are marketing the brand as much as we are.

We help them as much as we can by ensuring our team are given a brand style guide first and foremost. Most of our style guides are evolving documents, and some only a page long, but they make a good reference point.

A good style guide will help with band perception, tone, language and the audience, perceived or otherwise. Brands can help on this from the outset. it’s in their interests after all.

We ensure that as much reference material as

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possible is also provided including previous campaigns in English or even the native language if any are available.

Before they put pen to paper each transcreator will spend time researching both the brand and the target market.

Other things we take into account are ensuring all our transcreators live in the country whose language they are translating into. Obvious, non? You’d be surprised.

We ensure our editors are not only language experts and experienced copywriters, but they are all renowned writers in their own right. With high-end retail and tourism being a given.

Finally, every transcreator is aided by a separate proofreader. We all make mistakes after all.

Drop us a line if you want to know more …

Entrepreneurial journalism. Part II.

Identify and focus on the ultimate objective.

If you can succeed in entertaining and educating your reader, then you’re half way there. But we never lose sight of the fact that strong entrepreneurial journalism should be aimed at eliciting a response from its reader, rather than entertaining or educating him or her.

The exact nature of that response can come in different shapes and sizes. But is has to be clearly identified and targeted from the outset. Unless we know precisely what optimum reader response we’re seeking, then we’re not practising entrepreneurial journalism.

Add Value and Establish Credibility.

Reading various other peoples’ work on commercial content, we’ve seen the word “value” come up again and again. But how do we add value to a product by writing about it?

Let’s approach this question by way of analogy. We like to think of a football commentator, who’s giving a commentary on a match you’re watching. A good commentator will offer a sense of excitement and provide an accurate description (players’ names etc) of the game.

A great commentator also does these things. But they’ll also tell you things that you didn’t previously know and point out details of the match that you hadn’t previously noticed. A great commentator will be on your level. They’ll give you the sense of being on your side by helping you to derive as much enjoyment from the game as possible. It’s easy to understand that some people have favourite football players. But it’s our experience that people also have favourite football commentators as well.

Connect and Empathise with your readers.

We all need a friend out there. In market places that sometimes seem rapacious and bewildering, it can be nice on occasions to be taken by the hand and helped to make a good decision. But it’s nicer if you feel that the person who is taking you by the hand has an unambiguous understanding of what you’re actually looking for in that market place. And to understand your readers you’re going to have to take the time to get to know them before you start communication with them.

Visit the venue before the Event.

It’s important to be mindful of where or how your reader is going to encounter your content. This can be tricky because the answer(s) may not be singular. You may be firing some shots in the dark. However, you’ll be a far more valuable resource if you’re able to integrate your content into a

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media-driven strategy.

Think about how the media best serves your reader. Try and identify a realistic time and place where the interaction will take place. Is it going to be one or two way traffic? Will the experience be superficial or more profound? Is it a first time meeting, a regular spot on the social calendar or a follow-up? As much as is possible try to focus on the where, when and why factors and you could increase the relevance and accessibility of your content.

Put Meaning into your Message.

Your content should be based on an idea. But that idea can’t be arbitrary. However basic this may sound, anyone can call themselves a content creator. Style without substance can still turn heads and, though it will always be found out sooner or later, in the short term it can even win contracts. But we want you to do things properly. We want you to thrive and still be reading our blogs in years to come.

So every element of the content you create should be a step towards an ultimate objective. Put another way the macro message you want to deliver will never be successfully constructed unless the micro messages are intricately, thoughtfully and meaningfully delivered in a manner that is more than anything joined up.

Contextualise your Message.

Interactions in the public sphere no longer occur in isolation. This is a fact that is even more evident in commercial spheres. So make sure you’ve got a good sense of who’s doing what in the space that you’re entering. Find out where the party’s at. Learn what’s tired and what’s fresh. Identify your market’s most influential individuals, organisations, publishers and companies.

Never be afraid to rigorously research your competition. Familiarise yourself with the tactics and tone that have traction in the market place. While you’re ultimately going to be served by making yourself unique, it will always help to know what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Make your content come alive.

The best way of doing this is by having a headline that makes an impact. Your headline is an invitation to like-minded people to join you and enjoy what you’re enjoying. So you can’t afford to be coy. Make people feel that they’ll be missing something unmissable if they don’t get on board with you. Make it clear this one can’t be missed.

Excite. Tease. Tantalise. Strike a chord. And be ever mindful of the fact that you only get one shot at a one liner. Make your opening salvo resonate. It needs to be exciting, resilient and most importantly something that you won’t be tired of seeing a year from now.

Listen. Create. Communicate. Three words that occupied us for days. They’re probably not words that are going to get anyone hot under the collar. But they’re words that accurately headline what we do.

Maintain Perspective.

You live, breathe and sleep your company. Good. It shouldn’t be any other way. But let’s be fair. Not everyone is going to share your passion. The easiest way to lose someone is to ply them with information about something that they have no interest in.

You won’t turn a single head by talking about your brand or product. Regardless of the message you’re trying to give, the central character of the piece has to be the reader. Make “you” your stand out word. Assume that your reader’s favourite subject is him or herself. After all everybody warms to someone who is interested in them.

Encourage a Realisation.

Let’s assume your headline worked. Your reader gets your message. But never is the old adage “many a slip twist cup and lip” truer. You could still lose that reader if you don’t consolidate the initial connection. So pose a question or make a statement that encourages the “yes, that’s me” realisation. Let your reader know you get them and you get their needs.

Feelings are your friend.

Your reader will process information firstly through emotion, and secondly through reason. So your writing should be connecting straight to your reader’s limbic system; the sub-cortex section of the brain, the centre of desire and motivation. Use words that suggest passion (and if you’re passionate about your subject that helps) and feelings.

Mates’ Rates.

Drifting? Lacking ideas? Words aren’t flowing? Not hitting the right tone? Each of these issues is probably linked to you over-thinking what you’re doing. So approach your content without fear and formality. Singularise the interaction by talking to just one person. Try imagining it’s a mate or someone you’re relaxed when talking to. And start typing the way you’d talk.

Enliven with Verbs.

Use adjectives sparingly and use verbs vigorously. Engagement is about doing. Support. Promote. Achieve. Do. Be. Do.

Express yourself.

In a world defined by increasing homogeneity people tend to remember the one offs. The writers that are remembered: Shakespeare, Joyce, Twain and Camus had voices that were as unique as their fingerprints. And you are unique. So find your voice. Let it define your writing. And never be afraid of being you.

Plain English is Big and Clever.

Want to alienate a reader? Go to the manual. There’s nothing worse than industry-specific, technical language. All it will do is cast your reader back to the hellish hours they spent assembling a flat-pack piece of furniture. No matter how much you love your industry’s jargon, leave it where it belongs.

But, perhaps conversely, avoid any process of dumbing down, in pursuit of perceived accessibility. Just be yourself and focus on little words that showcase big ideas.

Rhubarb Fool

China still lead the BRICS in global travel and tourism

China remains the most important emerging economy for the global travel and tourism industry.

However, some of the 1,277 global industry bosses attending World Travel Market this week who responded for the report admitted that their attention is no longer focused on the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

When asked if the five BRICS nations were still the most important for their business, more than half (56%) said “yes”, although one-in-five (20%) responded “no” with a quarter undecided.

With China’s population now estimated at 1.354 billion, it is little surprise that global travel bosses are interested in appealing to Chinese people wishing to travel, making China the most important BRICS market in terms of outbound travel.

Russia (16%), India (13%) Brazil (13%) and South Africa (9%) have less appeal as source markets although for all five countries the overwhelming appeal – for more than 70% of respondents – is the sheer volume of potential customers.

As destinations, China is also the most popular of the five

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among the global industry. Around one-in-five (18%) tipped China as having the greatest inbound potential, followed by Russia (11%), Brazil (11%), India (10%) and South Africa (9%).

For China and Russia, the sample noted that business and trade links were driving interest from corporate travellers visiting on business.

However, a significant proportion of respondents are focussing their attention elsewhere. For inbound tourism, 41% said that none of the BRICS nations were important to their business. And nearly three-in-ten (28%) admitted no interest in outbound business from the five countries.

Reed Travel Exhibitions, Senior Director, World Travel Market, Simon Press said: “China is still dominating the headlines, and its economic success continues to be reflected by the level of interest from the global travel industry.

“WTM has been actively working with travel suppliers from the BRICS nations for a number of years, and we have expanded the brand into these regions, with the launch of WTM Latin America in Brazil this year and hosting WTM Vision events in Moscow and Shanghai.”

– See more at: http://www.wtmlondon.com/page.cfm/action=press/libID=1/libEntryID=2209/listID=1#sthash.VRLiQKva.dpuf

Rhubarb Fool

Brand Integrity

Brand integrity‘, it’s one of those phrases that trips off the tongue in pitches and presentations. And that’s probably no bad thing.

As stand alone words, ‘brand’ and ‘integrity’ are each great. They convey a value in terms of your company and you. Moreover, used in tandem the words become a phrase, which offers a desirable message that’s both corporate and personal.

At Rhubarb Fool we’ve decided to avoid using language, if we weren’t completely clear about its meaning.

In our industry we know that the quest for style can come at the cost of substance. This is a path that we have been determined to avoid taking from the outset.

So between us, we’ve had a long (and ongoing) conversation about ‘brand identity’.

What it means to us as individuals and what it should mean to our company.

Allow us to share some of our thoughts with you and hopefully encourage you and your staff to engage in a similar conversation. Because at Rhubarb Fool it’s helped us work out what, how and why we want to be what we want to be.

Integrity.

The integrity of your brand will need to be defined in the first instance by your company’s objectives. It’s here that we started understanding the true meaning of the word integrity. The easiest way that we could understand this was by thinking of the foundations of a house.

The worth of the most beautiful residence will ultimately be determined by what is beneath the soil, not the brick work or the paint job.

Much of the desirability of a Georgian house is based on its sheer durability. We’re attracted to things that don’t bend in the face of adversity and show some staying power.

So let’s assume it’s your company’s objective to build a three storey house. Your company strategy will be the architect’s plan. And your brand will be the facade of that house.

It’s a great positive to have a clear idea about the final build of the house and the look of the facade. But there’s little point in starting work on the third floor or the facade, until the foundations are firmly in place.

And laying down foundations has to be a methodical and incremental process, which takes time, patience and application. In this task there is no room for short-cuts and each step has to be determined by the architect’s plan.

However, each step you take towards putting your company’s objectives into action (implementing the architect’s plan) represents a step towards establishing the substance (or integrity) of the ultimate facade (your brand).

The

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analogy of a house-build is useful to a point. However, the process of building a company and establishing a brand can often involve as much art as science.

There are intangible processes that can’t be readily equated to bricks, mortar, a trowel and a plumb-line. So we’ve distilled some of our thoughts about the art of establishing brand integrity into seven simple points that we hope will help you.

Integrate Your Brand with Your Business Model.

Your brand is not your product. It’s reasonable to assume that you won’t be the only provider of your product in your market-place.

However, your brand does allow you to define both how your customers perceive you and how you make your customers feel.

Work out what your company does best above and beyond your product.

Then set this as the cornerstone of your brand and your business model.

For example, Barbour doesn’t just sell rain coats; it sells well-designed, well made and good looking clothing. They probably don’t sell the best outdoor clothing (Aigle, Musto and North Face all deliver similarly high quality products).

However, when people buy Barbour they are not just buying an item of clothing. They are buying into the

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lifestyle and social grouping that Barbour is seen to represent.

So try playing the word game with some well known brands. Volvo = safety; Chanel = sophistication, Waitrose = quality and Disney = magic. What does your brand equal? Just answer that question.

Decide the most important aspect of your product or service, and make it a part of every facet of your brand communication.

Be Consistent in Your Message.

Now that you have focused on a central brand attribute, be sure that this underpins all your communications — especially inside your own company.

Don’t talk about things that aren’t relevant to or don’t enhance your brand. Added a new photo to Facebook? What does it mean for your company?

Does it strike a chord or support the message you are trying to convey, or is it just an amusing ditty that could confuse your audience? If the messages you are putting out aren’t in line with your brand’s message, you may struggle to differentiate yourself from competitors.

And don’t stop reinforcing the message, in meetings, in the staff room, or just over lunch. Don’t be shy about taking the opportunity to encourage the feelings you want your brand to engender in your employees, as well as your customers.

When employees are onside (especially those who have greatest exposure to your customers) — your message will be diffused to new customers organically and effectively.

Connect Emotionally.

Customers can either approach your product or service rationally, or they can approach it emotionally.

How else do you explain the person who pays thousands of pounds more for a Volkswagen, rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made car? Because there was an emotional voice in the customer’s mind, whispering “Buy a Volkswagen…well-made, trendy, stylish.” It’s just the way the brand makes you

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feel.

Like you belong, like you’re somewhere you want to be in life, like you’re part of a larger group that’s more tight-knit than a simple cross section of motorists. Volkswagen has established a brand that encourages such a level of loyalty and adherence among its customers, that they have established social groups and organisations independent of the brand. (Volkswagen Owners’ Clubs).

Find a way to connect to your customers on a deeper level. Do you offer reassurance? Make them feel part of a social or peer group? Do you make life easier? Connect with your customers on this point before and after the point of transaction. Address their questions and concerns on social media. A little goes a long way. As an industry commentator succinctly observed: “Batman doesn’t have any real superpowers, but whenever that signal lights up the sky, people trust that he will be there — because he always is”.

Reward and Cultivate.

If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just lie back and bask in the sunlight of their approval! Reward them for their loyalty. These customers have gone the extra mile to give you positive publicity in their peer group or in social media. See them as brand ambassadors. Cultivate loyalty from these people early on in your business and you’ll reap the rewards of returning customers who bring their friends with them. Sometimes, just a thank you is all that’s needed, but successful brands do seem to go further. A personalised letter can have enormous traction. Or you could ask a happy customer to write a review, and feature them prominently on your website. Consider the following news report “Porsche reached 1 million Facebook fans quicker than any other automotive brand, so to thank its fans, Porsche made a wraparound for its GT3 Hybrid that included all 1 million names”.

We should all be clear that offering such a positive outcome to a customer or brand supporter will only consolidate the special place that your brand has in his or her heart.

Measure.

Life doesn’t always go the way it’s planned to go. For all of the time and effort you put into devising a campaign to support your brand strategy, it still might not work. That’s business.

Try and see this not as a mistake, but as a learning opportunity. So be sure to closely monitor your return on investment, as you roll-out the new campaigns that you hope will strengthen your brand. If your brand isn’t touching your target audience through the campaign, you haven’t given them a good enough reason to engage.

At the start of each new campaign, re-assess and strengthen your marketing assessment tools for branded and organic search. If it goes up when you launch your campaign, it means people are engaging with your campaign and becoming more interested in your brand.

They are searching for you – often by name – because you have stoked their curiosity. And again if you’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed success, don’t rest on your laurels. Stay quick on your feet, nimble and evolve constantly.

Be Flexible.

Now we’ve raised the subject of agile marketing. In this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible if they are to maintain relevance. On the plus side, this is very liberating. It enables you to be creative with your campaigns. Lots of brands have reintroduced themselves to new generations of customers – look at Ribena and Lucozade – because they realised that they could not afford to stand still.

So if your old tactics aren’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to change them just because they might have previously been successful.

There’s no room for complacency, the phrase that came up in the Rhubarb Fool boardroom harked back to that old western movie: “The Quick and the Dead”.

Watch Out for Competitors…a Bit.

See your competitors as friends, as much as you see them as enemies. With them snapping around your heels, you’ll be incentivised to improve your own strategies and create greater traction and positive perception in your overall brand.

You’re all in the same business and you’re all in pursuit of the same customers. So don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing, particularly if they’re successful at it.

And of course you can learn as much from your competitors’ failures as you learn from their successes. It could reasonably be argued that the decline of the British and American car industries was down to an obdurate unwillingness to accept that their competitors might be doing things in better ways than they were and that their new customers might actually be making good choices.

Accepting this, you can’t let your competitors dictate what you do and what you don’t do. After all, belief in yourself and what you are doing is why you started a business in the first place.

By trying to anticipate every move your competitor makes, you’ll be at risk of merging into a homogenous provider mush. You want customers to be able to make a clear differentiation between your company and your competitors.

So keep a mindful eye on your competitors when experimenting with your brand strategy — just don’t get blinded by them. Ultimately you know what’s best for your company and that’s your brand integrity.