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Behind the Scenes with a Transcreation Manager

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Tag’s own Eva Krocakova gives us the scoop.

What is a Transcreation Manager, exactly?

A Transcreation Manager is essentially a project manager dedicated to language and localisation requests. Their main role is managing advertising production workflows requiring adaptation and localisation for various markets around the world. The projects they work on include standard translation but can also involve vetting a concept for suitability in a certain market, creating new in-language content from scratch, transcreating marketing copy, or ensuring the linguistic validity of existing assets. A Transcreation Manager’s duty is to receive a project, assess it, create the storyboard or other briefing assets if needed, and brief in-market copywriters to work on the language itself. They then quality-check the WIP copy and later finalise the content along with the linguist, making sure it’s perfect and ready for production.

How does one become a Transcreation Manager?

In my personal opinion, the role is mostly skill-based, however you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of education. Luckily there are many different degrees and areas of study that can prepare you for success as a Transcreation Manager: Foreign Languages, Linguistics, Marketing, Business Studies, Anthropology and Communications, to name a few. As in many other industries, a combination of education and practical knowledge is the most effective approach.

What sort of skills or experience do you need?

I believe in the power of transferable skills. Many people already have the basic skills required (like organisation), but need to learn how to apply that skillset in a new way and be poised to learn on the job — enthusiasm for learning new things is key. Most important are communication skills. Email tonality varies widely whether you’re talking to a client, a linguist or a colleague, and the tone can make or break a relationship. Transcreation Managers are the main contact points for linguists, so building trust via positive, healthy alliances is crucial. Plus, having a strong relationship with your contacts makes the work more enjoyable for both sides.

Do you need to be multilingual to work in the localisation business?

It might sound strange, but I don’t think you need to actively speak multiple languages, although it does help. More important is passion. On our team, for example, we all share the same love for languages and learning about different cultures, even though not all of us are polyglots. That said, even tangential knowledge of languages comes in handy. For example, I used to study Latin in school. I don’t remember much, but certain words in Romance languages sound familiar to me now, and even though I don’t actively speak German anymore, it is still quite easy for me to understand.

What have you learned in this particular role?

Via constant effort, I’ve honed my ability to stay on top of things. It keeps me sane and saves mine and everyone else’s time, making the whole work experience more enjoyable. For example, I keep a personal tracker of my active job assignments and overall activity — it’s like my version of Dumbledore’s Pensieve.

Even though I already had some experience in previous language project manager roles, those were all in the translation field and involved using translation software. Now as a Transcreation Manager, I use creative software, which I learned how to use once already in the position. I’d love to develop these tech skills further. That would help me not only at work, but also in my private life and my hobbies related to video and photography.

In sum, it’s all about looking for fun and opportunities for self-development. And if you’re relatively new to a business like me, keep your eyes and mind open. Be like a sponge, constantly absorbing knowledge and experience.

What challenges do you encounter on a daily basis?

There are no concrete rules on how to approach a new task — almost every project is different. In some situations, you might need to think outside the box and find a solution on your own. This approach sounds daring, but you have your whole team standing behind you, which means there is always someone with whom you can discuss any dilemma. Personally, I like having this kind of freedom and trust. It allows me to come up with my own solutions in a safe environment — I know I can always turn to a more experienced colleague for advice when I need it.

In terms of the projects themselves, cut-down TVC scripts can be a real challenge to adapt. How can we create a 15-second video out of a 20-second script when most of the content can’t be modified in any way? We have to take many factors into account, like maintaining the messaging, tonality, storyline and narrative while keeping the product in the spotlight.

What do you love about being a Transcreation Manager?

I love the fact that we are a multinational and multilingual team. There are so many stories hiding behind every one of us, coming from different parts of the world with different backgrounds.

Transcreation Managers are often perceived as the connecting link between the linguists and the clients, but our job contains much more fun and creativity than merely emailing or doing admin. There is a story in every piece of content we work on and all projects require our full attention.

Overall, I believe the individual brings great additional value to a role. You bring your job title to life, giving it your face, your voice and your unique personality. What I most value about being a Transcreation Manager at Tag is the atmosphere on my team. We all work together and have the freedom to be ourselves.

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