Transcreation – what it is and why you need it

Transcreation plays an important part in translating content – whatever the language. Transcreation is based on the idea that certain translated texts need adapting to ensure the tone, context and colloquialisms make sense in the local language. Direct translations of specific words and phrases must be relatable in different countries and cultures where humour, syntax and cultural norms may differ. Put literally, the word transcreation itself is derived from ‘creative translation’. In this blog, our language specialists answer your questions…

What is transcreation?

Transcreation covers the translation of texts but the concept also considers emotions and creativity. This means that the text being translated is not just literally transposed to the other language; it’s adapted so as to be sensitive to different cultures and ensure aspects such as humour are accurately conveyed depending on the market.

This requires the translator to understand not only the language but also the culture and other influences in the local market. They may need to use their own flair and discretion when translating the text so that the meaning stays the same without losing the brand tone, style and messaging.

What content benefits from transcreation?

Generally, transcreation is useful for texts that are less formal. This includes more creative texts where humour or references to local culture might be used such as in marketing and advertising. It may also be useful for websites and consumer-facing documents. Crucially, businesses often overlook their branding when it comes to transcreation – straplines and logos need to work in different markets too.

Missing the mark in this area can make all the difference between generating plentiful sales and falling short; it’s more than just a ‘nice to have.’ If you operate an e-commerce business, for example, having a product name that means something different in another language can turn consumers away from your brand. This is where reviewing your wider business communications is vital.

As many businesses employ staff from around the globe, internal communications may also benefit from transcreation. This can help gain employee trust and buy-in to company initiatives and policies, thus creating an inclusive workplace.

How does transcreation work?

When a text requires transcreation, our Project Managers will begin by conducting a thorough, in-depth analysis of the text to identify those points that will be the focus of the transcreation efforts. They will work closely with you to understand the wider context of the content – where it will be used, whether references to popular culture will be employed and what images might accompany the text. The positioning of the text is also important for us to understand; what medium it will be used in and where the text will appear on a page as part of a wider advert or campaign with pictures and logos.

Our transcreation experts will also advise on areas such as brand names, images, colour choices and other forms of non-verbal communication. We have experience of this practice in a variety of sectors including food and drink, IT and hospitality.

Why is transcreation important?

Transcreation can preserve your brand message and embrace the subtle emotional and cultural nuances expected by the target audience. Transcreation can also ensure content doesn’t risk being offensive in the local culture. This helps to build trust in a brand and drive sales. These touches benefit both local markets but also your business – it is essential in building your brand abroad.

How to get the best results

While not obligatory, it’s helpful to have a document outlining your company’s tone of voice and brand identity. This lets the translator make informed decisions on word usage but also tailor it closely to your company’s language. Provide as much context on the usage of the content as you can; marketing campaign concepts need to be carefully thought out and the process is no different for transcreation.

Transcreation services should be done professionally by a linguist with experience of creative writing as they will need to inject personality into your content and use discretion in word choices. Online translation tools that simply transpose phrases from one language to another will be of little use and risk missing the point of transcreation entirely.

If you are having a website translated, consider using professional translators with a working knowledge of SEO. It can be difficult to strike a balance between making a marketing text both user-friendly and optimised for search engines but a good translator should be able to do so.

Want to find out more about how our transcreation experts can help bring your content to life and make it work for you in your target markets? Contact us today to discuss your requirements!

 

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