Transcreation exists to fulfil a need beyond literal or precise translation. It is most commonly used in straplines, advertising, brand-led campaigns, websites and marketing materials.
Transcreation takes translation further. It adapts a target text for a particular locale and a target audience. Instead of providing an equivalent of a phrase or sentence, the message behind the text is derived and this is then recreated in the target language. It often involves the introduction of new words, or omitting sentences or phrases. At times it will include an explanatory phrase, or change the emphasis to fit local expectations or markets. And in certain situations, such as a culturally specific strapline, it will involve a major change in the text.
The process involves industry experience, knowledge of the target audience, awareness of the local culture – and inspiration. In contrast to translation it also involves a great deal of subjectivity, as it addresses emotions as well as the intellect. The criteria for evaluating a transcreation are quite different from those of a translation, and typically, the most successful transcreations involve detailed interaction between the client and the transcreator.
A good transcreator is not only bilingual but bicultural, and must have a good understanding of the subject matter and the industry. Even perfect fluency between two languages is not enough to ensure high-quality transcreation.
Alpha’s transcreators are selected for their creativity and understanding. Our process is then one of briefing, where the client’s expectations and message are outlined in full to the transcreators. From there, they work closely alongside local market stakeholders to ensure that their transcreated content meets all the needs of our clients.
Transcreation can be either closer to translation, or closer to copywriting, depending on the text type, and preferences of the stakeholders. When it gets near copywriting, sometimes back translation is used to “explain” the differences to someone who does not have knowledge of the target language. As with all our processes, our aim in providing transcreation is to collaborate with our clients. High-quality content comes out of open, continuous dialogue and creative skill, working alongside each other.