Creative content often needs reimagining in order to keep its meaning in a new language. Every culture has its own rules and subtleties, and linguists need to understand them in order to write effectively. The process of creative rewriting is known as transcreation, and it includes the skills of the translator and the writer.
We use transcreation when literal or precise translation doesn’t work. Straplines, advertising, and brand-led campaigns often suffer in translation. This also goes for websites and marketing materials. Wherever creative and idiomatic language styles are found, there is a need for transcreation.
How transcreation works
Instead of choosing an exact equivalent of a phrase, transcreators seek to find the message behind the text. They then deliver that message in the most appropriate way. They might do this by creating new text, changing the emphasis, or shifting the linguistic style to match a local audience. In some cases, our transcreators will completely reimagine the text to ensure maximum impact. This is particularly common with idiomatic or colloquial text.
Great transcreation requires a range of skills. Transcreators need industry experience, understanding of the culture, and creative inspiration. Because the content is creative, evaluating transcreation is much more subjective than evaluating translation. That means that the most successful projects involve close interaction between clients and transcreators. The client and the linguists come to a common understanding of the best possible result.
Our transcreators are not just bilingual – they are also bicultural. They have in-depth knowledge of their audience, as well as sound understanding of the sectors they are working in.
Through creative briefing, we give our transcreators detailed insight into our clients’ messaging and requirements. We often keep regular exchanges going. In this way, we address all cultural and language issues before the text is sent for sign-off.
Depending on project needs, our transcreation may be much like translation. At other times, it can be closer to copywriting. In the latter case, we provide “back translation” of the new content to explain to clients who do not speak the target language how it has been adapted. Open and continuous dialogue between project teams and our clients is an integral part of this collaborative process.