What is Transcreation?
Too often, we approach translation in its simplest terms. We take a sentence in our language, adapt it like-for-like, and accept the result for what it is. “What’s the problem?” I hear you ask. Well, nothing, at a surface level.
But, there are more layers to translation than many come to appreciate – rarely can one language be directly reflected in a second.
If we carry common phrases across borders, we run the risk of unexpected complications. Moreover, if we choose to take a literal approach to translation in a business context, there is a fair risk of ending up with egg on our face.
The answer? Use idiom wisely and consider transcreation.
Business Across Borders
Economies are expanding. Globalisation is here to stay. And, the majority of companies have international interests – or aspirations thereof. The barriers to entering a new market are as low as they’ve ever been, which is why language services such as transcreation are in growing demand.
As we take propositions to new geographies, there is a high volume of associated activity to establish a brand’s presence within the minds of a new audience. We’ve already applied years of research into crafting the perfect pitch for an entity – through imagery, copy, and a specific tone of voice – so, it is pivotal we uphold such a considered brand design – or communications strategy, in general – no matter where we deliver it.
This is where transcreation comes in.
Transcreation = Contextualised Content
Pure translation is a linear process. Take words, establish corresponding meaning in the foreign language, and move on. In static environments, in the case of a conversation, or when translating contracts or technical manuals, this might be OK. However, when you have an array of marketing materials that are heavily contextual – with imagery, word choice, even specific colours – chosen particularly for the environment in which we intend to display them, a literal translation may not suffice.
Transcreation is a holistic approach to translation, used mostly by marketing professionals. It adapts to the local market while preserving the essence of the content. The message remains the same, you can identify with the offering as your own – but the finer detail is precise to the locality. By approaching the activity in this way, we can be sure of creating content that will resonate, as well as reflecting our original intentions on a broader scale.
Nuanced delivery is critical to the success of any message; transcreation is the tool that facilitates this. Moreover, it is the means by which we can be sure we are sticking within the realms of what is acceptable at both a cultural – and regulatory – level.Future-Proofed Content
Export markets present a vast opportunity for business – but only if managed diligently.
An inadvertent slip in a machine translated text could ruin a brand’s image overnight, while a perfectly-pitched multi-lingual product launch could be the key to success. Therefore, businesses should consider their translation requirements under the lens of transcreation. We will only prosper if our communications strategy maintains consistency, no matter the language in which it is consumed.
International prosperity lies in the hands of the seasoned transcreator.