Website Translation for the Company Behind Type

Swiss burger in an English pub – I thought that might get your attention. But what exactly have burgers and pubs got to do with branding? And more specifically, the translation of brands? Well, you’ll find this line on Monotype’s recently redesigned website, which the world-renowned type foundry asked us to translate into German.

It’s a type sample line (for Joanna Sans NovaTM), and just one small part of the brand’s web content, which is also packed with type terminology and technical expertise, and peppered with creative lines and type-related wordplay. All things which must be localised, or retained in translation. And exactly the kind of challenge we relish at Creative Translation!

Here we’d like to give you a snapshot into our world (which rather neatly, is the world of creative translation), with special focus on localisation of the Monotype website.

A sort of “project in the life of” Creative.

Or rather, “a few days in the life of a project in the life of Creative”. But I’ve seen snappier titles. Let’s call it “Dear Diary”… (more on that Swiss burger a bit later, by the way).

Day 1 December 2015 – the project begins!

SO excited that we’ve been asked to translate Monotype’s website into German. Hard deadline for the website launch is end of January? Wow, that’s pretty tight. Is this going to be possible? Quick cup of tea, then down to work. OK, let’s make a list… we love a list… First things first, put together our specialised translator / editor team. Create master documents, translation brief, and a work planner. So much to do, and a tight deadline! Really interesting subject matter, though!


Day 3 – translation and editing begin in earnest

Translation is under way. Responding to any linguist queries, making sure everything is understood… Checking that we’re retaining the brand’s personality and tone of voice in the content. For Monotype this is authoritative, yet playful. They’re highly respected leaders in their field, and at the same time enjoy being creative with language. This must come through as the brand connects with its German audience, too.

Note to self… don’t get distracted playing with the font samples on the website… it’s so much fun…

Day 8 – Keyword Research and SEO optimisation

Working with SEO specialists Maxus on this one… 130+ English keywords to research in German, and weave into our translations. I find SEO fascinating, seeing how the average monthly search volumes of the German keywords compare, and which German keywords we should be using in order to create optimised web content… Then integrating the search optimised terms before Monotype’s German team review the copy. And finally, translating and optimising the URLs, Meta Descriptions and other SEO content.

Day 12 – Localisation of creative lines

The linguists have completed the transcreations. My favourite bit, seeing how they have adapted these lines. The creative straplines, headings and font sample lines are witty and playful, and we need to retain this in translation.

“A Swiss burger in an English pub”? “Schweizer Käse im englischen Pub”. OK, so that’s “Swiss cheese in an English pub”. A slight variation on the English wording, our editor comments that Swiss cheese is more recognisably Swiss than Swiss burgers, for the German audience. The delicacy has been localised, but without losing the flavour of the original line. Yikes, I am starting to think in puns!

Day 22 – working hard on the project…

White Christmas? I’m dreaming about type… We are using some of the available time between Christmas and New Year to review all materials produced so far and plan for the start of 2016.

Day 33 – shops, final copy, tight deadlines…

Monotype have an online shop! (that’s new). Very nice stuff…

Final few pages for translation which need to be turned around quickly… we knew these were coming, so with a little planning our brilliant translator and editor were able to jump to it. We’ll totally get it done on time…

Note to self: Try not to get distracted by the Monotype shop… It’s such nice stuff…

 Day 37 – Monotype reviews our translations

Just sent the last of the files to Monotype for review by their German team in Berlin. Feels like judgment time in a TV bake off. We have done a great job; I hope they like our translations!


The website is populated by Monotype…

Really pleased to receive great feedback from Monotype. It’s been brilliant to be involved in this project, and to help such a respected and innovative company reach their German audience.

We’ve done our bit for now, the copy is being uploaded to the CMS by Monotype’s web team…

End of January 2016 – Phase 1 of the website launch!

website localisation is live, and looks amazing!

Sleep… 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into our brand translation service. As a self-confessed typophile, this was a hugely satisfying project for me. At Creative we are lucky enough to work with many wonderful brands around the world, adapting their creative campaigns, tone of voice and brand identities, and guiding these creative concepts through different cultural landscapes.

It’s something we are all passionate about at Creative Translation. No two days are the same and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

To find out how we could help your brand reach an international audience (whatever the platform may be), or optimise your web copy, and for more insights into how we handle creative translation, call us on +44 (0)20 7294 7710 or email us at and we’ll be happy to help.

This article was written by Rebecca Arnold, lead project manager, and originally appeared in the Creativepool Annual 2016.