More often than not, I find myself chasing after my partner teams to understand why they made small changes to the copy our translation vendors sent us. It’s not because I don’t want to implement these changes – it’s so they won’t be needed again, thanks to content feedback.
So many service providers don’t hear from a company between their contracts, especially when it comes to marketing translation or to copywriting. Our operational teams receive a fully copyedited, ready-to-use blog post; they review it and post it. That’s what usually happens – and sometimes, since I’m lucky enough to be part of the client team and a content reviewer, I notice that the team has made small changes.
Maybe they’re replacing one word with another because they feel like the original one doesn’t convey the brand image that we’re going for. Maybe the content is about a new feature and the English-speaking team forgot to send a glossary to the translation team, so they search and replace it before making the announcement live. Sometimes, it’s just because the team wants a cohesive voice for the brand, and the main writer at the company prefers one spelling over another, or doesn’t like a common idiom that the freelancer used.
Personal preference is not worth bothering the freelancer about, right?
It’s worth it. It’s always worth it. The whole point of working with a stable vendor pool and of long-term contracts with freelancer is to get higher quality from one piece of content to the next, thanks to the content feedback that has been shared with them.
Replacing one word with another for the brand image is style guide-adjacent. I’d recommend putting it in an appendix to your style guide, but whether you have a style guide or not, sharing the feedback with your freelancer immediately allows them to update their working documentation and to use the phrasings that your company prefers.
In the previously mentioned case of a new feature that’s not in the glossary: it would be nice if it never happens, but we all know it does! Your vendor can write down that new name and keep it in mind for next time, until it’s added to the proper places. But if you go for a search and replace because « it’s no big deal », you’re dooming yourself to do the same search & replace every single time you receive a finished post.
Next time you receive a piece of content from a vendor, turn your Track Changes feature on and send it back to them (with comments if you want to go the extra mile).
It will take you less than five minutes and will save you time and effort down the line – it might not feel like much, but it all adds up with each contract. You’ll offset that early « investment effort » in no time!
Working long-term with a trusted freelancer makes a real difference. When a vendor starts to really understand you and your brand, they can start surfacing your identity in their writing, and that’s when the content goes from good to stellar. That’s when you get to truly stand out in your audience’s eyes.
Help your translation and copywriting providers do a better job for you: next time you receive an asset, track your changes and send it back for your vendor’s information.
The following post you’ll get will require less content feedback from. And after five or ten pieces of content – well, after that, your company’s true voice will shine.
(And if you want me to be your company’s true voice, I’m currently taking freelance requests – check out my services and work samples!)