Transcreation is a convenient marketing strategy especially for those who speak multiple languages. It’s an advantageous tool for marketers seeking to penetrate new markets where customers speak different languages.
For the uninitiated, transcreation refers to the process of converting a marketing or advertising copy from one language to another. It is like a translation of marketing copy but with emphasis on keeping the original tone, style, intent, and context. It is supposed to evoke reactions or emotions similar to what the original advertisement has on its intended audience.
Transcreation is employed in international marketing campaigns to get past the hurdles created by differences in languages and cultures. It is not limited to the translation of texts but everything in marketing or advertising content including the images, symbols, and videos.
Transcreation is a portmanteau of the words “translation” and “creation.” It’s more than just translation. It involves creative thinking. It is associated with the terms creative translation, international copy adaptation, cross-market copywriting, marketing translation, free-style translation, and cultural adaptation. It requires someone who is not only proficient in the source and target languages involved, but it also needs someone who is acquainted with cultural differences and sensitive issues in countries or regions.
Such differences and issues need to be taken into account as they can affect a marketing campaign either positively or adversely. If there are foreseeable positive effects, these should be highlighted in the marketing copy or made more prominent to achieve better impact with the target audiences. If the effects are negative, they should be filtered or substituted with something favorable.
As mentioned, transcreation is a higher form of translation. It is more than just the rendering of the meaning of a message from one language to another. It goes beyond the conveyance of the equivalent message in another language. It is particularly used in the field of marketing to convey a message from one language with the same impact to the intended audience.
Transcreation does not emphasize faithfulness to the literal and overall meaning of a message. It is more on evoking the same reaction or emotion among audiences who speak a different language and have a different culture. That’s why it has the creativity aspect. A good transcreator can ingeniously generate a marketing copy in another language that is not literally similar but comparable in its intended impact.
For example, a snack bar ad depicting a king as a grumpy hippy when hungry may be acceptable in the United States, but it’s going to create controversy in countries where monarchies are supposed to be revered. The transcreator will have to change character or its characterization.
While transcreation is regarded as a more advanced form of translation, it does not necessarily mean that translators can’t be great transcreators, especially in the case of language service companies that provide topnotch localization services. Localization is almost comparable to transcreation. It is not fixated on the meaning of a message. It also factors in the cultural dissimilarities, sensitive issues, and the overall relatability of a message. That’s why many reputable language service companies are already offering transcreation services.
Localization experts are also translators themselves who are trained to have heightened mindfulness for several factors as they convert websites, marketing copies, documents, press releases, and other published materials into other languages. They can be highly creative as they produce translations that may no longer retain the literal meaning of a message but produce a comparable effect that is more acceptable or relatable to the intended readers or viewers.
Translators can become wonderful transcreators because they already have the proficiency in the languages they specialize in, and they tend to be quick and creative thinkers. Their exposure to numerous copies, documents, or texts makes them familiar with a wide range of literary styles, information, and insights – something that makes it easy for them to spin ideas and play with words.
Don’t expect translators to be similar to robots that know nothing but to focus on specific tasks. Human translators have the natural propensity to do things on a higher level, in a more important degree. As artificial intelligence and neural networks continue to improve machine translation, human translators likewise continue to improve in their craft. As such, human translators are unlikely to become obsolete or irrelevant. When it comes to human communication, there will always be things humans can do that machines can’t.
The perpetual evolution of human communication will always present instances that machine translation cannot competently deal with. There will always be things only humans can effectively comprehend and translate to other languages, at least in the foreseeable future.
To clarify, the line “a translator can be a great transcreator” refers to a human translator. Machine translators are still far from rivaling humans in the field of language translation; let alone transcreation. Human translation experts can produce brilliant transcreations given their language expertise, inherent quick wits, and exposure to a wide range of written works. It’s natural for humans to get bored with repetitive tasks and seek sophistication or more advanced tasks that make them exert more brain power. Transcreation is the logical next step for people who want to encounter some challenge beyond plain translation.