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What is transcreation?

Translation is a varied and diverse world — it's not just Google Translate, in fact, it's much, much more. Professional translators each have their own fields of expertise and their own specialties.

This is why it's essential that you have different linguistic specialists work depending on your requirements and expectations. For example, for a legal document, you may go for a certified translator, who'll ensure total compliance for every aspect of a translation of legal content.

To successfully expand into a new international market, translating your content will give you the key to open up those doors! Beyond simple word-by-word translation, you need to make sure that your content is adapted to your target, so that you can effectively win over a given audience. Localization is one of the ways that you can achieve this! Find out more about localization in this article.

That said, if your content requires something even more advanced to guarantee a seamless transposition into your target audience's context, transcreation is the service for you. To help you understand what transcreation entails and its importance, Powerling has written an article to tell you all.

What is transcreation?

A fusion of the words "translation" and "creation", transcreation is essentially creative translation. As you can probably guess from the name, transcreation requires a more creative approach than simply taking the words in one language and putting them into another language. It involves translating concepts, ideas, sentiments, and reactions. Thanks to this type of translation, your content, whether it's a marketing document, an advertising slogan, or anything else will be perfectly tailored to the target. Thanks to this type of translation, you can adapt puns, jokes, word play, taglines, and slogans so that your brand makes the same impact with any target audience.

Transcreation is all about recreating an equivalent message in a target language, communicating the same emotions and effects. The aim is clear: To create an identical impact across all places where the message is distributed, taking cultural, symbolic, and even philosophical differences into consideration.

Translation vs. transcreation

The advantages of transcreation

When should you be opting for transcreation instead of simple translation? Powerling has put together a quick summary to clear things up!

  • Adaptation: The key word in the transcreation game! This type of translation takes into account any characteristics specific to each new region, ranging from culture and philosophy to values and sense of humor, avoiding any faux-pas and avoiding the risk of anything getting lost in translation. This way, your transcreated content will be perfectly adapted to the country you're targeting.
  • Creative freedom! Unlike translation, transcreation gives linguists leeway to move away from the exact wording of the original text. Specialist translators are skilled enough to stray from the source text while conveying the same message and provoking the same reactions in the target readers, which requires a significant level of creativity and marketing copywriting skills.
  • Let creativity run wild! With fewer restraints, linguists really have the space to flex their creative muscles. However, this does require specific expertise to guarantee not only a high-quality translation but also high-quality copy in its own right. To make sure it's a success, the specialist needs to be innovative, know and understand the company and its values, and especially the target country for the translation.
  • Gain an edge over your competitors! When you select this type of translation, your brand is able to reach out to consumers from all walks of life and to step into the mindsets of various consumers around the world. This gives you a competitive edge, carving out a space for your business on the international market.
  • To promote the international development of your business! As you'll have understood by now, transcreation is a way of effectively expanding your business into various international regions. International development will be in the bag with this service.

When should you opt for transcreation?

Sometimes, a simple translation is all you need, but sometimes, you'll need those extra aspects of adaptation. Here are three top uses for transcreation by businesses:

  • For a brand or product name. Sometimes, you need to adapt your brand name or a product name to make sure that it has the same effect in the target market. This will allow you to align with the market by offering a high-impact name that makes sense in another country.
  • Advertising slogans. This is the #1 case in which transcreation is used. Adapting your advertising slogan to the specifics of the target country will give you a leverage point for a bigger impact in the target market, conveying your advertising message clearly and efficiently.
  • Web marketing content. Offering high-quality text in the targeted region's language will boost your visibility and your referencing.

Combining classic translation with transcreation can allow you to optimize your content, so that all your clients receive your message crystal-clear.

How transcreation is used

An example of when it goes wrong: Lost in transcreation

Transcreation is important, because when it goes wrong, it can go really wrong! A bad translation that isn't adapted to the target country may not only lead to incomprehension, but it can also have a negative impact on your brand's reputation. For example, KFC's "finger-lickin' good" slogan is all well and good in English, but its translation into Chinese as "eat your fingers off" didn't exactly have the same effect on customers… Plus, anyone who has visited an IKEA store has probably come across an unfortunately named product (the Fartfull workbench, for example). Whilst sometimes it can just lead to chuckles from consumers and perhaps the odd viral social media post, it can also turn nasty, resulting in offending certain audiences and/or costing your business a lot of money. In short, it's better to use the services of a transcreation specialist to avoid the risk!

An example of when it's done right: Nike: Just do it

While there are plenty of examples of when it goes wrong, when transcreation goes right, it's almost an art form in its own right. One of the great examples is Nike's infamous "Just do it" slogan. Nike haven't always translated the words exactly, but they've always conveyed the same meaning in a way that leans into the target market's preferences. For example, in India, it was translated as "कुछ कर गुजर” (Kuch Kar Guzar), which means "Do something remarkable" or "Make it count", tapping into what the brand identified as a leaning for high achievements and aspiring for excellence in the target culture.

Another example is the translation of "Black Friday" as "White Friday" in Arabic countries, as in Arabic the world "black" means mourning and tragedy, unequivocally loaded with connotations of sadness and negativity, which is certainly not a way to get shoppers through the doors.

To be sure of successful transcreation for your projects, you need to use the services of specialist linguists that are able to effectively adapt your content to your new targets. This type of translation requires linguistic skills and creative talent, as well as a thorough understanding of different cultures. It's certainly worth the investment, as successful transcreation opens up valuable doors into new markets! Thanks to Powerling and our multilingual resources and teams, your project will be handled by experts who can translate and adapt your content to extremely high standards. Got a project in mind? Got any questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!

NEWS : Powerling has recently acquired WCS group.

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