Professional Translators

What Does a Transcreation Service Look Like for a Freelance Translator?

by | Last updated Jul 24, 2019 | Professional Translators | 5 comments

Freelance translator sitting at desk thinking about her transcreation service
As a freelance translator and copywriter, I adapt my transcreation service to the job in hand.
Transcreation is a hot topic at the moment. Artificial intelligence is becoming a threat. So, creativity in the translation process is a way for humans to differentiate themselves from machines. This article explores what a transcreation service might look like for a freelance translator.

Transcreation is a combination of translation and copywriting (see my article “What is Transcreation? Is It Different to Marketing Translation?”). But, in our daily work, a transcreation service covers a broad spectrum of activities. Sometimes this means donning our translator’s hat. Other times, we switch into the copywriter’s seat.

Lucy recently explored price as one way of differentiating between transcreation and translation. She said that part of a transcreator’s job may involve creating a text based on a Spanish brief or notes. This is controversial because a strict definition of transcreation might require there to be a finished source text.

The real world seems uninterested in rules. A practical example of what Lucy describes is SEO blogging to target a specific customer base. E.g. a legal blog targeting British retirees in Spain. The lawyer will know what content they want. But, if the target client is British, why would they go to the trouble and expense of producing a final version in Spanish? And who better than a transcreator specialising in law and SEO copywriting to create a sales blog based on the lawyer’s brief and notes?

Do you think #transcreation is a fixed or a flexible service? Click To Tweet

Further controversy lies in whether there is a difference between transcreation and creative translation. In “Transcreation Services for the Creative Industries”, Lucy focuses on transcreation in marketing. But she also describes how she used transcreation when translating subtitles for the Lucky Fred cartoon. Some may argue that creative translation would be the term to use there. I can see how this works as a way of breaking things down academically. But, on a real job, will the customer care what you call it as long as you do it well?

If a literary translator spends months trying to get into the head of an author, to produce a creative translation for the title of a novel, how different is the thinking process from a transcreator researching a client’s brand strategy to transcreate their slogan? Both are destined to sell.

What do you think about the points raised in this article? We invite you to join the discussion.

5 Comments

  1. Genevieve Shaw

    Interesting article! I think transcreation is the way forward for translators. In fact, I also believe that creativity in general is a must for all companies in the current market. There is an abundance of products and services, and if a company wants to stand out above the rest they need to get creative.

    Reply
    • Lucy Williams

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Genevieve. I agreee, I think the world has changed and businesses need to be more creative than ever to reach their customers. I also agree that transcreation is a growing market and a useful string to a good translator’s bow.

      Reply
    • Gwenydd Jones

      Agreed. Getting top-quality creative copy and translation is a relatively small investment when thinking in terms of new leads generated and eventual sales. Thanks for commenting, Genevieve.

      Reply
  2. Barbara

    Hi there,
    Thanks for this article. I actually tend to explain “transcreations are creative translations”.
    I believe the important thing to keep in mind is that clients want their content to resonate with their foreign audience. This might demand creative translation/transcreation (especially when translating creative marketing materials).
    It all depends on the source text and its purpose.

    Reply
    • Lucy Williams

      I agree, Barbara. I think you have hit the nail on the head, the client needs the text to resonate with the target audience and sometimes that needs creative solutions.

      Reply

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