Translation or copywriting

Translator or Copywriter: Which Do You Need?

You’ve decided you want to create a website, blog or marvellous content in a foreign language to tap into a new market. Brilliant.

Now you’re looking for the perfect professional to help you out, and you’re pretty sure you’ve got two options:

  1. Get your existing texts translated into your new target language by a professional translator.
  2. Have new texts (aka copy) written from scratch by a professional copywriter.

But you aren’t sure which is the right way to go about it.

You don’t know whether working with a translator or copywriter would be best from a financial point of view. And you don’t know which would make the most sense for your specific target audience.

After all, if you’re trying to crack a new market you need to be sure your new copy in the relevant language hits the mark. You don’t want to cut corners.

It’s decision that might seem insignificant on the face of it, but could actually have a massive impact on your success.

To help you decide, I’ve explained a little bit about what translators and copywriters actually do, and under what circumstances you might want to go with one or the other.

When is a translator your best option?

A translator will be your best friend when you need to communicate certain information clearly and fluently in another language.

You already have all the texts you need ready to go, and you’re looking for a native linguist to transform them into perfect English, Czech, Thai… whatever it may be.

A professional translator will aim to produce a text that’s as close as possible to the original in both form and content, whilst also making sure that the translation reads beautifully in the target language, serves its purpose and sounds natural to the ear of a native speaker.

Translation may well work out cheaper than copywriting, depending on your project, as it’s generally charged for by the word. But don’t be tempted to just opt for the cheapest translator you can find.

As with anything in life, if you want quality results that will impress your readers, customers, visitors or investors then you need to be prepared to pay fair rates for an expereinced professional.

When is a copywriter a better option?

Getting your copy written from scratch for a new target market is often a good idea when you’re dealing with creative texts that could make or break a marketing campaign.

After all, if you’re investing in opening up a new market, you need to be sure that your copy will really speak to your new audience and give you the results you’re hoping for. What will sell to one culture probably won’t sell to another.

Working with a copywriter means you can brief them about your business, your product and your target audience, and they can produce persuasive marketing copy accordingly. They’ll be unconstrained by the ties of any existing texts written with a totally different culture in mind.

This may be a more expensive option than translation, but remember, this is an investment.

With a translator, you pay them to effectively communicate your existing message into a new language (which is a hard-earned, specialist skill that you should expect to pay fair rates for).

But a copywriter is starting from scratch and producing targeted, tailored results, which is often more time-consuming.

Copywriters normally charge a project fee or a day rate, but will sometimes charge by the hour.

The middle ground: transcreation

Traditional translation isn’t always enough, especially in the world of marketing. If you want your translated texts to hit the nail on the head you often have to go one step further.

You need to get creative and translate the message and ideas behind the words, rather than just the words themselves. You might need to move further away from the original to make sure the finished product really resonates with its reader.

Translator or copywriter: transcreation

Transcreation is often the perfect solution for marketing texts when you know they just won’t have the same impact if translated word for word, but you don’t want or need to start from scratch with a native copywriter, either.

Most linguists will charge for this by the hour, not the word.

That’s because it can take far longer to do the necessary research and come up with a perfect transcreation for a four-word slogan that will be the centre of an expensive marketing campaign than it would to translate a standard 4,000-word text.

Translator and copywriter: multi-talented freelancers

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m both a translator and a copywriter. Convenient, right?

Translation and copywriting often go hand in hand because they both rely on an ability to write well in one’s native language.

So, if you’re not quite sure which service is right for you, or you think you could use a mix of both (translating some of your existing content, transcreating a few snippets and getting other parts written from scratch) then someone just like me could be perfect for you.

Another bonus of working with a translator-copywriter is that even if you just want to use their copywriting services, you can communicate with them in the language you’re most comfortable with, or the language that your team uses to communicate.

I, for example, have a few clients that I write original blogs for in English so that they’re fully targeted to a UK audience, but all our communication is in Spanish.

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If you’re looking for a British translator or copywriter (or a mix of the two!) for your sustainable brand, then I’d love to hear all about how I could help you connect with an English-speaking audience.

If it’s a Portuguese or Spanish-speaking audience you’re aiming to target, I can put you in touch with the perfect professional.

And if you have any questions, just shout!

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