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  • Emanuela Di Rosa

Transcreation & Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Transcreation and Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Many think that creativity only belongs to painters, sculptors, composers and writers.

But what about translators? They are writers, too, in a way. And when translation is combined with creativity, the target text isn’t a mere translation anymore, but the creation of a new and adapted text. In this case, the process to be implemented is transcreation. But what is transcreation and why is it important in marketing localization?

Translation + Creation = Transcreation

Have you ever seen an advertisement from an international brand? In most cases, its message is in your language. Why? Because marketing must appeal to potential customers; and what better way to do that than using their mother tongue? That is why a simple translation of the text just wouldn’t do.

When it comes to advertising, language is not the only aspect to take into account; cultural references and target markets are other two pillars. That is when transcreation steps in. It can be defined as the process of translating, adapting and converting the content of a text from one language into another, where other factors like target culture and markets need to be included in the final rendition of the text.

Transcreation and creative translation are often used as synonyms, but there is a key difference: in transcreation, linguists have more freedom to make changes and try to elicit an emotional response from the target audience, as long as they stick to the original concept and convey the same message.

The Importance of Transcreation in Marketing

Transcreation and marketing have a close relationship as the first one was born with the specific purpose of fulfilling the needs of the latter. But how does marketing benefit from transcreation?

  1. You can reach a wider audience: Brands that want to expand to the international markets need to consider adding transcreation while conducting marketing campaigns.

  2. It is the best approach to show your customers you care about them: If a proper transcreation has been carried out for several languages, customers will be loyal to your brand as they won’t feel left out from your campaign, and they will appreciate your efforts in adapting your message to their culture and needs.

  3. You can stand out: Some brands are known for their original marketing campaigns, which is a bonus for expanding the business. In some countries, their slogans have even become idioms and common phrases used in the current language. Transcreation can help you do so on an international scale.

Where is Transcreation Used?

As already mentioned, transcreation is used in marketing and specifically in:

  • Apps

  • Websites

  • Press releases

  • Product launches

  • Video games

How Transcreation is Done

One thing that is worth mentioning is that the linguist who carries out a transcreation must be specialized in the field and have copywriting skills. This is extremely important because the linguists work from ‘scratch’, that is, from a document sent by the client known as brief. A brief usually contains relevant information regarding the brand, its style, the scope, the tone of voice to be used and the actual text to be adapted. It may also include some visual reference used in the campaign, which is essential to the linguist, for example, when there is a pun based on an artwork or picture.

Once the target text is ready, the linguist is asked to provide a proposed transcreation and one or two alternative versions; each version often features an English back translation and a comment section where the linguists explain their choices and why they prefer one version over the other. Ultimately, the client will choose the option they like the most.

This is the most common approach, but it might differ depending on the brand’s needs and on the content that requires transcreation.

The Costs of Transcreation

Since transcreation requires a high level of specialization and a set of different skills among which there is a priceless one – creativity – it is definitely more expensive than other services. Therefore, the usual rates for translation wouldn’t apply and they aren’t calculated per word/character, as you might have only a few words that will require hours or even days to be transcreated properly. That is why some linguists charge per hour, while others adapt their rates to the project.

Either way, if the aim is to expand the brand, investing in transcreation will benefit your company in the long run.

Transcreation as your Best Ally

As this brief consideration has shown, transcreation can be your best ally if you want to stand out in the international markets by showing your customers you care about their needs and their interests. However, to maximise its benefits, transcreation must be done by a team of specialised and professional linguists. We at Sunstone Localization offer tailored solutions for each specific project through a dedicated team. To know more about our services send us a message: we would love to assist you.

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