Knowledge Translated: All Things Language Services

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Marketing material can be one of the most difficult types of document to translate. In our last blog article we had discussed why industry expert linguist are necessary when working with highly specialized material. While a mistake in the translation of a patent could cost a company millions of dollars, misunderstood branding in an international market could cost a company more than just money, it could offend the audience that it is intended to reach.  This is where transcreation comes into play.


What is Transcreation?

Transcreation often referred to as creative or adaptive translation is a hybrid of new content, culturally adapted content and imagery, and straightforward translation. It is the process of adapting a company’s message in its source language, so that it carries the same emotion, tone and context in the target language. Transcreation enables you to convey your creative messages in a way that is both relevant and engaging, while maintaining your original brand concept. It is a vital part of any international marketing campaign.

A common question that is often asked of our team is “Why do I need a subject matter expert to perform my translation?” I can provide you with a real life example. Suppose you are translating a patent application for an experimental drug. Throughout the document there is the common term used in neuroscience “potassium channel blocker.” A linguist can look at this phrase in two different ways. Should it be interpreted to mean a potassium substance that blocks channels, or a blocker of potassium channels? Without a background in neuroscience, the translator is left with a 50/50 chance of interpreting this phrase incorrectly.

Have you ever stared blankly at a page containing scientific, technical or medical text? These documents are full of specialized terminology that can make anyone’s head spin. Technical fields practically have their own language.  Just try reading a medical text in your native tongue without any prior knowledge, and you will see just how difficult it can be!

Then add translation to the mix. Think about a medical text and all of the specialized terminology that it contains. To properly translate a medical document, you will not only need to know the two languages, but also understand the “language” of medicine. 

Technical texts are dense with uncommon, specialized terms; non-specialists don't see things like "ventricular tachycardia" every day. Keeping track of all the terms during a translation and staying consistent with those terms throughout a text during the translation process can be a challenge (especially when there are 20,000+ words to get through).

What is Terminology Management? 

Terminology management is the process of documenting terms in a systematized and orderly fashion. The process can be as simple as creating a list of terms that appear in a text and their equivalents in the target languages, or as complex as creating concept maps and diagrams of how terms are related to each other. In the middle would be a list of terms and equivalents, plus term definitions and perhaps even examples of contextual usage of the terms.


Often when we ask our clients what type of Spanish they need for a translation project, they simply say "Just give me the best Spanish." Once we explain that there is no "best," they move on to request a "universal Spanish," which is also an impossible task.

Spanish is the most widely spoken romance language and has the second most native speakers in the world. Most Spanish speakers live in Central and South America, and 21 countries list it as their national language. Spain has a population of 39 million, and Mexico has 100 million. Argentina has 36 million people and Chile 15 million. 

With all the different Spanish speakers in the world, there is no one "best" type of Spanish. Spanish speakers from disparate areas recognize differences in a variety of ways. It is important to know the different types of Spanish and the best on suited to your target audience so that your project can be translated and localized accordingly. 

Keep reading for an exploration of the differences between Spanish spoken by people around the world and how they impact your translation, localization or interpreting project.


Have you ever been asked to have a back translation and reconciliation done for your forward translation and you weren’t sure what that means or why it was necessary?

Back translation and reconciliation services give you additional quality and accuracy assurance for your most sensitive translation and localization projects. Both back translation and reconciliation become important when you have high value content that you need translated across languages with as much certainty as possible that the exact meaning is conveyed.

Back translations and reconciliations can be performed for all types of translation and localization projects. 

Keep reading for an overview of both back translation and reconciliation and an exploration into why these can be important.