Transcreation

Translation and creation, at your brand’s beck and call

Transcreation is an alchemical process, a merger of translation and copywriting. It’s a linguistic and cultural adaptation of advertising copy (and other content types) for a different audience.

Language and culture are closely intertwined. Idioms, slang, metaphors, these and other forms of expression vary across languages, and in each language they have unique connotations. These form part of the cultural heritage of a community.

Slogans and promotional copy are crafted with a clear goal in mind: to reach your ideal clients, trigger emotions and inspire actions.

Transcreation is all about preserving the intensity of the original message by distilling it into a new text that is designed to sweep a new audience into your arms.

With transcreation, you can expand your business beyond geographical and cultural borders.
By addressing people’s hearts.

My transcreation services, for your company

Transcreation of advertising copy, slogans and micro-copy from German into Italian. Worlds apart with a different approach to marketing.

Transcreation from English into Italian. Everybody knows “some English” nowadays… but if your brand speaks Italian, your local clients get you.

What’s the difference between translation and transcreation?

Transcreation is a chimera, that blends elements of copywriting (i.e. the creation of ad copy from scratch) and translation of a message that originated in another language (in translation-speak, a source text).

To clarify:

  • Translators transfer a source text into another language.
    Creativity and adaptation come into play, for each sentence could be translated in many different ways with unique subtle differences in meaning. However, a translator does not alter the content or style of a source text.
    In translation-speak, we say that translators craft an equivalent text in another language.
  • A transcreation expert’s work, on the other hand, is based on a source text and a brief. The brief is a document commonly used for copywriting projects. It includes all the key information about the brand (such as mission, vision, target, tone of voice), and the specifications for the writing project (goals, medium, etc.).
    As your localised ad or slogan needs to compel people that speak and think differently, an equivalent text rarely does the trick. Hence, the transcreator taps on varied know-how (including copywriting skills, market knowledge, linguistic and cultural skills) to craft a new message that recreates the emotional impact of the original copy.
    To do so, transcreation experts rely on references, rhetoric devices and symbolic language that capture and intrigue the new audience. In the transcreation process, the source text is a pointer for creativity and structure.

Do you need to be a copywriter to become a transcreator?

Not necessarily. But, based on experience: you do need both writing and translation skills.

Being Frank Zappa or Robert Fripp isn’t just about playing a guitar. On the same note, transcreation isn’t just about creativity.

You also need to:

  • Master the building blocks of the language and know how marketing communication works.
  • Understand the local market, and perform thorough research.
  • Vary tone of voice, register and style according to the client’s needs and target goals.
  • Play by the rules: How long is too long for a slogan? Any length restrictions for calls-to-actions? Which words or associations should be avoided to further differentiate the brand?

Furthermore, you need to live and breathe the culture of your client’s target audience. And that’s why transcreation specialists only craft adaptations into their native language.

Do you need to recreate the alchemy of German or English copy for your Italian clients? My alchemy lab is at your service. Do you need to adapt Italian marketing texts to expand your business in Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom or the USA? I cannot do this myself but I can refer a trusted professional.

Get in touch and tell me all about your project.
Together, we’ll find the perfect formula for you.

Would you like to know more about transcreation?

Today, the term “transcreation” is mainly associated with the adaptation of slogans and marketing copy. However, it was first used to refer to the translation/adaptation process of Hindu epics and sacred texts.

You can learn more about this – and the reasons why translation and transcreation are different – in an article I wrote for the German association ADÜ Nord. You can find it in the June 2017 issue of the association’s Infoblatt, on pages 8 and 9.
And if you’re a translator looking for hands-on transcreation workshops, check out my Courses page.

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