What is transcreation? (And why your company needs it)
What is transcreation? An entire spectrum that involves combining professional translation and professional copywriting skills.
What is transcreation? A combination of translation and copywriting. Like any creative process, transcreation is different every time. Sometimes there is more translation, other times there is more copywriting. Transcreation is what the customer needs it to be.
What is transcreation? The black-and-white answer
Language providers will often answer the question what is transcreation? by telling you that it means translating advertising and branding materials. For instance, in Spanish, you may find a cheese advert playing on the refrain “uvas, pan y queso saben a beso”. With an amateur translator, you get a result like: “grapes, bread and cheese taste like a kiss”. Okay, we get what it means. But, that translation hardly trips off the tongue and makes us all want cheese. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to know a literal translation like that won’t sell.
So, one answer to the question what is transcreation? is that it can mean localising advertising and branding. The transcreator does this by combining their language skills with their copywriting skills. They come up with an idea that respects the spirit of the original and that will sell in the new market. Beyond looking at just the words, the transcreator can also offer advice about visual elements, like the people shown in images and what they’re wearing.Get the lowdown on what #transcreation is Click To Tweet
What isn’t transcreation?
I’ve also seen translation agencies answer the question what is transcreation? by saying that it is adapting US English to UK English. Like an ad that uses American Football, which needs to be changed for a UK audience. That is a type of localization. But, since there’s no translation involved, it’s a copywriting job.
What is transcreation? The colourful answer
Transcreation is much broader than adapting adverts to new readers. Transcreation is a new movement in translation. An entire spectrum that involves combining professional translation and professional copywriting skills. It’s how translators are adapting to the demands of the modern company. These days, if your company needs a marketing translation, transcreation is where it’s at.
So, to answer the question what is transcreation? you have to think outside the box. If red is translation and blue is copywriting, below is what you might find in the middle.
“Transcreation makes sure the new text sells by tapping into what moves the new target customers.”
What is transcreation? Professional Spanish copy transcreated into professional English copy
A professional copywriter writes a blog in Spanish. They do it using your brand voice and style. Now you want an English version of it. One that gets the same results, and that is adapted for SEO. Obviously, you need a native English-speaking copywriter. But, this copywriter must also know how to translate from Spanish. They have to be able to see the cultural undertones, double meanings and nuances in the Spanish text. And then figure out how best to convey them in English.
It isn’t a question of throwing out everything in the Spanish text. It’s about recreating it, by judging which of the original elements to keep, and which ones to change. That is where transcreators come in. We have a translator’s ability to identify all the different facets of the original text. And a copywriter’s ability to convey them in English, to make sure your target customer buys.
What is transcreation? Non-pro Spanish copy transcreated into professional English copy
The same blog as in example 1 is written by a member of your team. A good writer, but not a trained copywriter. You want to translate it into English. But, it’s a big investment. So, you also want professional marketing copy. SEO-optimised copy. Because the copy must sell. This time, the transcreator adapts the original AND injects professional copywriting techniques. You start selling in English.
What is transcreation? Non-native English copy overhauled into professional English copy
The same blog as in example 2, but the Spanish person is writing it in English. You can tell a non-native speaker wrote it. So, it doesn’t sell. You could get a copywriter to adapt the English copy. But, if they don’t speak Spanish, their understanding of the text will be superficial. A transcreator can imagine what the writer would have said in Spanish. They know the typical errors. They know how to ask for clarification. With all this information, they edit and transform it. To create professional English copy that attracts new clients.
“These days, if your company needs a marketing translation, transcreation is where it’s at.”
What is transcreation? Notes in Spanish used as the basis for professional English copy
Our client is tired of blogging in Spanish. They just want blogs in English. Or they want different English content. All this drafting, editing and proofreading takes so long. The client writes a set of notes in Spanish and the transcreator uses them to write the English copy. English copywriting for a Spanish client.Learning about transcreation #xl8 Click To Tweet
What is transcreation? Brief in Spanish instructs professional English copy
The Spanish client orders a copywriting service from the transcreator. They do business together in Spanish. But, the transcreator has to be a native English speaker. A copywriter with bilingual benefits.
That covers the question what is transcreation? But I also promised to explain . . .
Why your company needs transcreation
We all have a cultural background and way of thinking. The original writer creates their text for a certain readership. They write things those readers will like and understand. They select the content based on their own understanding of the world. We’re all limited by our own experience.
The readers of the new text will be people from a different culture. So, they’ll have a different way of understanding the world, and like different things. The transcreator will be one of them. But, transcreators also have a deep understanding of the original context and culture. So, they’ll know how to take the original and adapt it to the new culture. Transcreation makes sure the new text achieves your goal. It makes sure your new text sells by tapping into what moves the new target customers.
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