What does transcreation entail?

The ability to transcend language and cultural boundaries is paramount to achieving an effective global marketing strategy. The most farsighted companies recognize the importance of allocating part of their budget to language services and communications for the creation of engaging copy with a fresh spin. For several years, the translation and multilingual marketing sector has been abuzz with the word “transcreation”. But what exactly is the transcreation of promotional or advertising copy? To put it simply, it is the creative translation of the source text to reflect the characteristics of the target culture and market. Transcreators are professionals who “translate” and "recreate” a text so that it speaks to its audience on an emotional level. In other words, transcreation combines translation and copywriting by harnessing a perfect mix of expertise: language skills, expressive capacity, cultural sensitivity and first-hand knowledge of the market.

The difference between localization and transcreation

Localization and transcreation are obviously similar and partially overlap. Localizers are often also transcreators. However, where localization mainly consists of a text that an expert linguist adroitly customizes for the target culture, transcreation may require far more creative tweaking, because it is meant to convey, in addition to the content, the brand’s objectives and its commercial strategies as well. In other words, while a localized translation must be faithful to the author’s intent and meaning, a transcreation is mainly meant to uphold the intent of the brand and campaign on the foreign market and recreate the desired impact, always taking due account of the descriptive and technical aspects of the product. Transcreation often entails the need to transpose – in words – plays on words, witticisms, figures of speech and other linguistic implications of the original message. Sometimes the transcreator reformulates the message and, in other cases, the transcreator creates a new, yet equivalent, message, but often, especially when the transcreator believes the only way to maintain the communicative and persuasive effectiveness of the source copy is by completely recreating it. In terms of costs, transcreation is slightly more expensive than localization, but marketing research has demonstrated its effectiveness time and time again.

Which sectors require transcreation?

Transcreation is frequently essential for the publication of marketing and advertising copy in a foreign language, such as advertising campaigns (for print, TV, radio and the Internet), brochures, company presentations, newsletters and press releases. It is just as frequently used to localize websites and other online promotional content (including banners, landing pages, titles and pay-offs). In these cases, the transcreator’s approach must also encompass SEO and SEM strategies to optimize the pages for competitive search engine indexing in the foreign language as well. This often takes into account the final frontiers of technology, like the increasingly frequent voice searches on mobile devices , PCs and virtual assistants. Not only is transcreation indispensable in B2C communications, but it is increasingly an integral part of B2B marketing, such as brochures and corporate content that is incisive, direct and engaging – qualities that the company wants to carry over into its material for foreign branches.

Landoor’s transcreation projects

Landoor entrusts transcreation projects exclusively to professionals who share a native language with the target audience and who combine comprehensive knowledge of the target market with an excellent command of the language and marketing and creative writing techniques. These professionals must necessarily be in complete touch with the overriding spirit of a specific region in a specific period. As they recognize how extremely subjective transcreated content is, our project managers are in close contact with the client (who provides briefs and suggestions) to whom the transcreators propose copy after in-depth preliminary research:

  • gathering information on the company (background, philosophy, objectives and target market);
  • gaining knowledge about the product and its top competitors;
  • keyword selection;
  • brainstorming and team work.

Transcreators often provide clients with three or four alternative texts (with backtranslation when the client does not know the foreign language). After additional discussion, feedback and any finetuning, we arrive at a solution that meets the company’s complete satisfaction. Landoor’s transcreators also creatively adapt scripts for radio, TV and online ads across a wide spectrum of sectors and help direct talent for voice-overs and dubbing.

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