Ian McAnerin had a great idea today at SMX to help us get through some of the most difficult parts of website translation. He’s called it a Symantec Expression Equivalency Document, which, in his words “rips the soul out of the marketing copy” while it’s being translated and then re-insert it later.
Creating a stripped-down version of emotional marketing text can serve as a vehicle for moving to a new destination language by freeing it from the burden of carrying nuance during translation.
Well written English marketing copy is often full of culturally-specific emotion, which is very difficult to translate. Nuance that drives us to convert in our native language may not work after the perilous path of translation. This is especially true with website translations from English to Asian languages, for example.
Ian pointed out the following process in his slides.
1. Bulletize the facts of the original copy
Stripping it down to its basic facts. Ian suggests that by removing the emotional component and stripping the “soul” from it – leaving a fact-oriented bullet list of things to discuss.
2. Use the stripped down version as your translation source
After you’ve created this fact-oriented English version, you will ask for it to be translated into your target language. You can use software or human translators for this part.
3. Re-Insert the Emotion using a native speaking-skilled writer
The last phase of the journey is when the fact-based document is handed to a native-speaker who understand the delicate emotional details for the target language. In this case, the person may not even know the original language the document started in.
4. (Sometimes) Re-translate the resulting copy to English
This is a round-trip approach that can be used for quality assurance of your translation efforts. If you have the budget and the copy is important enough – it make sense.
Kristjan Mar Hauksson points out that doing a great job in translation shows ‘respect’ for the market, and that regional credibility will take a boost.
Search marketers who ignore international SEO are severely limiting their reach and abilities. The above ideas show that even without a lot of knowledge about the destination language you can still prepare information for effective use around the world.