The Art of Transcreation: What It Means for Your Marketing Content

Translation Services

Depending on the text for translation, there are a variety of styles that may be utilized to render the best possible translation.

For more creatively written marketing-style texts, your translation team might suggest utilizing a process called transcreation.

Similar to localization, transcreation is the process of adapting the message of the source (original) text into that of the target (foreign language) text, all while maintaining the style, intent and tone.

Transcreation goes a step further by emphasizing the translator’s creativity, which is why it’s an ideal translation strategy for creative texts like marketing materials, social media posts, and advertisements.

If your company is seeking translation of marketing materials or other creative texts, we’ve outlined what you can expect from the transcreation process below.

How does transcreation differ from translation?

For many translation projects outside of creative texts, the main goal for a translator is to translate the source text directly into the target text. While the word order or sentence structure may change to make it read naturally in the target language, the actual content of the text itself does not inherently change.

In contract, the translation team may need to take more liberties with marketing-style texts to make sure the message’s original tone and intent remain the same in the target text while increasing the likelihood that it will resonate with the market it’s intended for.

In this case, it is unlikely that the text would remain 100% true to the source material in terms of language. The idea is to use language that feels authentic for the target audience, even if it no longer matches the source text exactly.

When to use transcreation for your company’s translation needs

The word “transcreation” is a combination of the words “translation” and “creation.”

As such, this process is typically best suited for more creative projects, such as advertisements, social media posts, slogans, marketing campaigns, or essentially anything your company has written or created where the emotional response and tone of the text is more important than the words themselves.

In contrast, you would not typically see this style of translation implemented in text where the literal meaning of the source document cannot be changed, such as technical manuals, textbooks, healthcare documents, or really anything where the terms used are vital and should not be changed.

How transcreation can improve your global marketing campaigns

Creative texts and marketing campaigns are generally created to evoke an emotional response from the consumer, usually with an end goal of driving your audience through your sales funnel in hopes of turning them into paying customers.

Just because a particular slogan or advertisement written in English goes over well in the United States, it does not mean that a straightforward translation of that exact text will perform will in other languages or abroad.

The advertisement should be created with your new audience specifically in mind, which may mean that the translation team assigned to your project will need to take certain liberties in order to achieve that result.

If a text does not feel authentic or does not make much sense in the target language, a consumer in a foreign market will be able to tell that what they’re reading is a translation, and it is unlikely to resonate with them.

The emotional response that you get from your English-speaking market will not be the same unless the text is adapted entirely for your foreign-language audience.

A language team skilled at transcreation will be able to adapt the text accordingly so that the desired emotional response is achieved.

Achieving this will have great benefits for your company and brand, allowing you potentially to achieve more success in your efforts to launch your products or services to a new audience, especially when paired with other strategic approaches while taking your business global.

What to expect when you receive a text that has been adapted using transcreation

Since linguists who adapt text via transcreation do take extra liberties with how the text is translated and adapted, you should expect that the target material will differ slightly in meaning from the original source text.

For example, if your original copy has the phrase “hit it out of the park” (a reference to baseball), the translation team might include a soccer-related reference instead. While baseball is considered an American pastime and this phrase works well with U.S. audiences, this wouldn’t resonate with consumers in a market where baseball is not a sport they’re familiar with.

If you have people in your office who speak the language of your newly transcreated content, they may mention that some of the text is not translated directly. This does not necessarily mean that the translation is wrong.

Remember, the idea is to evoke the same response in your target audience that you have with your original audience.

To achieve this result, some text may be different in order to appeal correctly. Jokes, idioms, specific references to a society or culture itself, and slogans are all examples of things that will need to be adapted for a foreign-language audience in order to make sense. You should not expect a word-for-word translation of these.

In addition, visual elements like layout, images, and fonts may also be updated to be more appealing to your target market.

With this said, we understand that certain elements of a text or image selection may be a critical and integral part of a company’s brand.

If you have preferences about items that absolutely cannot be adapted, make sure to let your language provider know about these ahead of time.

If there are any concerns about how something you may wish to keep the same will be received in the context of the target audience, your language provider can let you know and will help you discover the best solution for maintaining your brand while still appealing to this new market.

Of course, if you have any concerns about the quality of the text you receive from your translation provider, please let them know! Their teams are specialized and should be able to answer any questions you may have or adjust the content according to your preferences.

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