Industries evolve over time. It’s a must, because if you don’t, or can’t, you find yourself left by the wayside.
While transcreation isn’t a new concept in global business, it is certainly now much more in demand by our clients at EDMF. Let’s take a look at why.
What is it?
Coined from the words “translation” and “creation”, transcreation could be construed to mean creative translation, or perhaps cross-market copywriting. In reality, you have translation on the one side, transcreation on the other, and between the two you will find marketing translation.
Sometimes, just translating the words you see in front of you is the right idea. This can be the best approach when translating a technical manual, when what matters is that the reader understands what the exact equivalent of a particular component is in their language.
Yet other times, opting to translate like this will bring you up very short indeed. It’s not only the meaning that needs conveyed, you have to take into account cultural differences and harness them for mostly marketing purposes. It is no surprise that this is often required mostly with advertising or promotional texts, and also with websites. A complex website translation, for example, may well require translation, marketing translation and transcreation, and can involve several translators working together.
Why do I need it?
When you ask for a text to be translated, you obviously want it to have the same impact on your target-reader audience as it does with your original audience. That’s a given. But sometimes finding the equivalent word is not enough. Transcreation digs that bit further and looks at the emotional reaction triggered by a text, with a view to eliciting the same response in the translated language.
This is where the language professional is given freer rein than they might with conventional translations. Since it’s not so much the words and their literal meaning that count, but what effect they have on the reader, the transcreator is able to stray from the original text in order to achieve that goal, possibly even recreating everything if need be.
Transcreation in practice
One good example of transcreation is Intel, who changed its English slogan, “Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow”, to “Intel: In Love with the Future” for its slogan in Brazil, because they had realised that in Portuguese this would otherwise imply the company would not deliver promptly as promised.
Transcreation in websites can also involve using different colour schemes or layouts, and sometimes it can even impact on the product. Red Bull, for example, changed the colours of its energy drink when entering the Chinese market. It switched to red and gold because these colours are deemed to bring good fortune in China.
I need transcreation. Where should I go?
There are many examples of companies who failed to do their research and had to rebrand newly launched products as a result, throwing money out of the window in the process. But with a bit of forethought, and the right partner, you can avoid the pitfalls with taking your product or service to other countries.