transcreation translation creative advertisement

Translating ads: transcreation – between language and creativity

Transcreation is used in marketing to translate and create effective messages. Find out how to best communicate your message.

In the marketing sector, the translation of creative content, such as advertising claims, is not as simple as you might think. Many times, it happens that you encounter words or expressions that are untranslatable or have a different tone in another language; some examples are word games, proverbs, and idioms. In these cases, a compromise between translation and copywriting is adopted: the transcreation.

Transcreation is the process used in the marketing and advertising sectors to translate advertising messages so that they are effective in the target language as well as the source language. Transcreation is a word composed of “translation” and “creation” and identifies the process of combining translation and copywriting techniques; it is a creative translation through which sometimes the message is rewritten by creating a completely new version, but retaining the sense of the original one.

Transcreation is mainly used in marketing and advertising content and claims. The perfect example of an effective and successful transcreation is the claim of Haribo, a famous German candy and confectionery company.

Haribo has established itself on the domestic market with the claim “Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso“. Obviously, in English speaking countries, the claim could not have gone well in any way and it was essential to translate it. The literal translation is “Haribo makes children happy, and adults too”.

Well, the translation is there, but is it effective as advertising? Is it catchy? Does it stick in consumers’ minds? Can you sing it as an advertising jingle? The answer is: no.

The English translation, although correct, could not be good for marketing. Therefore, the translators of the claim resorted to transcreation, taking into consideration the meaning of the claim. The result is a claim created from scratch that maintains the sense of what the company wants to communicate: “Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo”.

The goal of transcreation is to translate the meaning of a message and make it attractive to the audience of a given culture. Transcreation focuses on texts with a high creative and promotional rate, texts that have to persuade, creating an emotional connection between the message and the target audience.

For this reason, transcreation is necessary when we intend to localise a persuasive text in a language and culture other than the original one, when the language choices and cultural approach of origin are not relevant to the target audience and may not be understood or may be misunderstood.

Some examples of persuasive texts in which transcreation is necessary are:

  • advertising campaigns;
  • claims;
  • payoffs;
  • product claims;
  • micro texts;
  • brochures;
  • texts for the web;
  • texts for printing.

The transcreation process involves understanding the target market and personalising the message, using appropriate language, images, style, and tone of voice to make the message effective. This is the main reason why transcreation requires not only a good translator with language skills, but also experience in marketing and a solid knowledge of the culture of the target audience.

Conquer your Italian audience with effective messages!

Transcreation allows translators to inject their creativity and cultural knowledge into the creation of content for a new audience. What distinguishes the transcreation process from the translation process?

Usually, professionals who provide transcreation services are also copywriters as well as translators.

Unlike translation, which starts with the analysis of the original language text, transcreation begins with a creative briefing with the client requesting the service. The aim is to unequivocally clarify the intentions of the texts and the objectives to be achieved. Usually, different paths are explored and more ideas are considered before the actual work begins.

Translation is usually billed per word or standard page, while transcreation is billed per hour or per project. This difference is necessary because transcreation is a creative service, more like copywriting, graphic design, or video production.

Usually, messages oriented towards a particular audience do not have the same effect if they are re-proposed to a different audience. Transcreation aims to create new messages that are localised, conceived, and designed for a specific target audience.

When the text is designed to urge a consumer to take action, the translation of the marketing message is entrusted to the field of transcreation.

We have now understood what the goal of transcreation is; we have also made it clear that the person in charge of this service must be a translation and copywriting professional. But what are the aspects we need to look for in the transcreator we intend to contact for our project?

The transcreation provider you decide to entrust your project to must be an experienced copywriter, as quality transcreation implies some experience in creative writing.

The transcreator you decide to rely on must be a professional native speaker of the market in which you intend to launch your message. The transcreator must share the native language with the target audience; only in this way can communication between you and your audience be natural and immediate.

The transcreator must have a clear understanding and knowledge of the target market. When you need transcreation services, you do not just need the translation of a text; you need someone who can speak the language of your audience and who can touch their heart. If the transcreator knows the target market very well, he/she will certainly understand the audience of that target market as well.

The transcreator must be an expert in the content that will be localised. If the transcreator does not know the subject matter of the content he/she is required to work on, it may be difficult to produce effective quality messages. Of course, the transcreator can always study and deepen the issues he/she needs to address to, but the learning process may take longer than the time you have to complete your marketing project.

For an effective marketing campaign, companies must create ads that also touch consumers’ hearts. Not an easy challenge at all. That is why the transcreator should have the ability to transcend language and cultural barriers if he/she wants to create a message that fits into a successful global marketing strategy.

Transcreation is one of the most important tools for companies wishing to market their products internationally or who want to make themselves known in countries other than their country of origin.

Thanks to transcreation, your message can be received in several countries at the same time and with the same emotional intensity. You can also improve the recognisability of your brand, increase the engagement of your target audience, and keep yourself away from possible missteps that you can encounter when doing advertising communication in a different cultural context.

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