Transcreation of Product Copy for the French Canadian Market: A Case Study

Transcreation of Product Copy for the French Canadian Market: A Case Study

Multicolor notebooks
Transcreation supports and enhances the work of creative marketing teams.

Today we’re going to talk about something really exciting: Office supplies.

I’ve lost you. And I don’t blame you. Office supplies are not, on their own, very interesting. The market seems saturated with ballpoint pen options and sticky note systems, all virtually indistinguishable from each other at first glance. This is where a good creative team comes in. And, this is where we begin our case study.

Product Text Can ‘Pop’ in Any Language

An office supply retailer aiming to reinvent traditional workplace items for a modern aesthetic, our client spent a lot of time developing their brand identity. From the product names (like Under-desk File, Pebble Eraser, and Bits-and-Bobs Tray) to the colors (like Snow Cone, Pool Blue and Island), to colloquialisms (like “eye-poppin’” products), the creative team developed a language unique to their company–and uniquely challenging to translate.

The process of transcreation fills the gaps that translation alone can leave. When our client sought to translate their materials for a French Canadian audience, we mobilized a carefully vetted, highly qualified team of 4 French Canadian linguists with specific and extensive cultural expertise and facilitated collaboration with the client’s creative team. Through our unique and highly effective transcreation process, our linguists worked to develop materials that preserved across linguistic and cultural lines the branding our client had worked so hard to develop.

What You See Informs What You Say

In this case, as is the case with many projects, the visuals were critical pieces of the transcreation puzzle. By providing our linguists with images of the products along with the text to translate, they were better able to understand the origin of the branding text and to make informed creative decisions.

With the visuals, we provided our linguists with a working file in which we listed all products and descriptions, as well as any other text to be translated, and added notes to clarify details about the product features (what is a “spiral” notebook? How big are “giant” sticky notes?). Our linguists used these notes and the visuals to develop translations that most accurately aligned with and upheld the client’s brand identity, all while staying true to the products themselves. Where needed, in the working file the linguists provided additional notes, options, and explanations of their translation decisions, and those additions served as reference for the rest of the team members as well as the client.

Polling for Product Points

Once we received the notes and suggested translations from the linguists, we compiled them and submitted the customized polling report to the client, giving them the chance to review it. Then, with the client’s approval, we sent the final polling report to our team of linguists for reference and guidance moving forward with translation. The result was a suite of translated product names and descriptions that were catchy, current and fun–just like the products themselves.

In addition, we leveraged 15 years of experience preparing marketing collateral for the Canadian market to train this client’s designers in laying out bilingual Point-of-Purchase collateral that was compliant with Canada’s stringent bilingual packaging laws.

Whether a client is selling office supplies or fancy sports cars, they invest a lot of time and effort–and money–into developing a brand identity that elevates their product and entices consumers. Through transcreation process, we help to preserve that investment, ensuring that their brand and messaging carries across linguistic and cultural lines.

Related Links

Transcreation for HR Materials: A Case Study
For global companies with multilingual staff members, corporate communications present unique linguistic challenges–particularly when translating materials related to workplace culture and personnel matters. We look at the ways in which one of our recent projects, for a global aerospace and defense company, demonstrates the efficiency and efficacy of our unique transcreation method when dealing with such corporate materials. Read more.


For more information on MultiLingual Solutions’ transcreation services, contact Shane Reppert at Shane is the vice president of MultiLingual Solutions and head of the firm’s business solutions division.

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