“We don’t translate,” says Andy Candler, The Creative Engine’s Digital Retail Expert and eLearning Specialist. “We localise. The distinction is subtle, but important.”
As a world-leading digital media agency, The Creative Engine has been producing multilingual content since the mid-1980s, when it helped launch both Microsoft Windows and Excel. Many of the relationships it built in those early days are still going strong, and it’s just rolled out a French-language On Device Demo for Darty and Microsoft France, plus a French and Dutch Retail Kiosk for Nest.
Creating across borders
“Languages aren’t an issue for us at all,” Andy says. “We support over 36 of them, and our Creators and QA are particularly hot when it comes to both grammar and nuance.”
“There are two ways to localise text,” Andy says. “One is to send it to a translation agency in the country in which it is going to be used. This is far better than using a native speaker permanently based in the UK, who will likely have lost touch with the latest phraseology.”
“The other is to supply our clients with a script, produced in-house, and allow them to parse any phrases that have specific meanings and styles in their country. ‘Intel Inside’ and ‘see an assistant for more information’ are two good examples here. The former needs to be locally-styled, and the latter should be scripted to not only direct the customer, but also generate sales.”
Once the script has been localised, The Creative Engine’s system makes it easy to incorporate the results in anything from in-house training courses to shop-floor point of sale. This is useful for clients with a presence in several countries, allowing them to roll out multiple localised editions simultaneously.
Selling across borders
Language isn’t the only consideration, though. When developing in-store content, The Creative Engine also considers the different ways that various aspects of a single product will appeal to shoppers in different countries.
This is particularly true in tech, an area of expertise for The Creative Engine that has seen it producing content for Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Sonos, and Intel. As Andy explains, “shops in the UK may find that they sell more cameras if their content focuses on technical aspects, such as each model’s pixel count. Yet Saudi Arabian customers, looking at precisely the same model, may ask about its battery life and styling.”
A straight translation could never take this into account, which is why turning to a specialist producer like The Creative Engine is more likely to result in a product that talks to, rather than at a store’s clients.
Working across borders
With long-standing relationships in Europe and beyond, cross-border working is part of The Creative Engine’s DNA. This helps greatly when it comes to building rapport with each client.
“The start of any new project is always a learning process, for both sides,” Andy says. “Every country has a different working culture. Language differences need to be overcome if we are to understand one another.”
The Creative Engine maintains close contact with each of its clients throughout a project. In the early stages, this will take place by phone or Skype, with voice- and video-meetings at least once a week. “We prefer video conferences,” explains Andy, “because you can pick up on the visual cues and unspoken nuances. After three or four calls, things are already bedding down, and when the project reaches the production stage we can devote one or two members of staff to each client to make sure we deliver what they need.”
The team is just starting work on a new product for the Spanish market, and has completed its first two video meetings. “These early stages require a degree of patience. The client will often need to put us on mute and have an internal discussion before coming back with answers,” Andy says.
It is something The Creative Engine factors in to every international project, alongside an emphasis on simple written communications.
As The Creative Engine approaches its thirtieth year of working in Europe and beyond, its focus on delivering country-specific, and customer-relevant content is stronger than ever.
If you have an idea for deployment in multiple territories, call the team on +44 1483 799 200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Its experience of localising content, not just translating it, can help make your product more relevant to staff and customers alike, wherever they happen to be.