Work August 22, 2023

A briefing checklist for transcreation success

By Living Word

Few people will argue with the importance of a clear brief. It’s hard for creative agencies to meet clients’ expectations if they’re not sure what those expectations are. Exactly how to go about creating such a brief, however, is more of a conundrum to many.

We often find that we have to go back and forth with our clients, asking follow-up questions to clarify what they’re looking for and get them to define the core of their needs. That’s why we decided to put together a checklist to help clients write a transcreation brief. By checking off a few key bullet points and asking the right questions before we get started, they can brief us successfully and effectively and make sure that they’ve really considered deeply and thoroughly what the purpose of their transcreation project is.

Here’s what our transcreation briefing checklist looks like:

transcreation briefing checklist

The first point – tone of voice – is so obvious to many that they sometimes forget to mention it at all. In reality, however blatant you might think that the voice of your brand is, anything that’s left to individual interpretation is likely to cause confusion and potentially affect both timelines and budget. Whether you have existing tone of voice guidelines in place or not, covering this point in your brief means that we never have to guess.

The same goes for brand guidelines, non-translatables and the level of creative liberty granted to us with regard to the target transcreation. If you have a manifesto, it will impact on how we interpret the source copy. If there are terms you’d prefer to keep in English, save time by making sure we’re aware. And if you’re happy for us to really think outside the box, please let us know and we’ll make sure to have fun with it!

Informing us about the creative rationale behind your straplines and other creative copy is a bit like removing a veil of ignorance and letting us in on your creative secrets. There’ll be reasons why you chose one word over another in your main campaign strapline, and while that might seem like old news to you now, it could prove crucial to our understanding of the concept you did end up with. Don’t hold back! We really do want the full picture.

As for artwork and visual references, don’t worry – we’re not going to be opining on your typographic decisions. We might, however, need to know if space is limited, as some languages tend to use a lot more words than others to say the same thing. If your visuals are informing the copy, we’ll need to know what they’re like in order to keep the holistic message intact.

What’s more, if we happen to notice that you’re using a colour or visual reference that’s particularly emotionally charged or deemed offensive in the target culture, wouldn’t you rather find out before it’s too late?

Our briefing checklist is not exhaustive, and nothing’s set in stone. We’ve certainly found, however, that it’s improved communication with our clients and made the transcreation process clearer and more efficient. Take a moment to check off the items on the list before you submit your brief, and you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to get the very best return on investment.