What’s transcreation?

Transcreation is a rather odd sounding term but which is primarily used in the advertising and marketing industry. It refers to the necessary process of adapting a piece of text, message, advertising copy from one language to the next dialect or variation of it. The objective is to maintain its style, intent, and context but yet adapt it to the region’s culture, religion, ethnic background, and language style. A text that’s successfully and professionally transcreated will evoke the very same emotions which are associated with the original version and yet it will do so in the target region or audience.

Transcreation is increasingly used in the international marketing and advertising industry. It is especially helpful for running diversified campaigns since advertisers want to cross language and cultural boundaries. The transcreation process also takes the images that are used into account, to ensure that they are best suited for the target market.

The difference between Transcreation and Translation

It’s important to highlight the fact that both translation and transcreation use similar or related processes, but they are not the same. The western world has been using translations for many centuries and has two approaches: one is the metaphrase which is a term used to describe word-for-word translations, and the other is paraphrase which chooses an appropriate translated word or sentence for each. However, due to the use of idioms and an array of variations in many local languages the word-for-word approach is inadequate and so the best translations take grammar, vocabulary, domestic usage, syntax and idioms that the target audience can understand into account. Plus above all the primary context of the original document has to be retained.

Trancreation in a way expands upon the methods used by conventional translators by moving the majority of focus from literal text to focusing on getting the same message across but for the intended audience. It’s in a way like taking a concept from the source language and then recreating it for another audience.

Transcreators are not bothered with the absolute fidelity of the translated text as they are with eliciting the required emotional response. Since different cultures perceive the same content in various ways, eliciting the same response may require a different approach each time. So, at times even the context of the text may change.

How are transcreators used?

Transcreators mainly find themselves employed by companies and agencies that need to market products and services across different cultures and cross language barriers. Some transcreation agencies will have marketing and copyrighting experts who work as part of the transcreation process which can come in handy for businesses that want to transcreate their marketing content.

The right combination of transcreators and copywriters, in addition to language experts, can end up mean the difference between spending thousands of a marketing campaign with no results or if the combination is right receiving an excellent response. Many companies offering transcreation services also put their staff through cultural appropriation seminars and employ natives from the languages and regions they specialize in.