Translation vs. Transcreation

September 14, 2016

Unlike “we, the people,” not all translation is created equal; some is actually “transcreation,” which entails a whole different approach and process. Allow us to provide a little history on how transcreation has become the new “hot commodity” in the marketing and language service industries, which will offer you some guidance in deciding when you might need transcreation to meet your localized branding needs.

Born of the video game industry back in the 1980s, the term “transcreation” (a.k.a. creative translation, in-language copywriting, cross-market copywriting or marketing translation, among others) was adopted by marketers and advertising agencies in the 1990s to distinguish their work from straight translation work. The term was even registered in the UK as a trademark, expiring in 2010. Today, many advertising and marketing agencies have dedicated transcreation departments to better recreate campaigns for their clients, that will be culturally sensitive and commercially successful in markets worldwide.

Transcreation can be defined as “adapting a concept to make it culturally appropriate” —it requires marketing knowledge, copywriting skills, and a profound understanding and knowledge of the source and target cultures.

The following is a series of crucial DOs & DON’Ts that the creative/linguistic team must follow to achieve a successful transcreation:

DO:

–  Know your “classics”