Blog Translation

Why is transcreation important?

Annie Kenny

April 26th, 2020

Let's start at the beginning, what is transcreation?

Transcreation is the process of translation whilst maintaining the original context, style, intent and tone. It goes beyond simply translating words; it means that the message itself is also adapted.

When you look at the word transcreation with this in mind it’s meaning becomes more obvious. ‘Creation’ part refers to the creative input that is required in translating a text; it must be sculpted to ensure that it delivers the same impact, whatever the language. Transcreation is especially effective when used in marketing, as it enables brands to communicate the same with consumers all over the word in their native language and preserve the marketing messages’ intended meaning.

Why is it important that translations go beyond word-for-word conversions?

It’s incredibly important; you cannot just rely on ‘direct’ (word-for-word) translations because these can quickly evoke different interpretations dependent on languages and cultures. For companies who have a global audience it is crucial to make sure the meaning of your message correctly translates to your audience. Failure to do so could result in damaging relations and your brand, which could prove costly to recover from. In some marketing campaigns, phrases used are often region or country specific, or just references that would not make sense to the wider audience. However, by using a transcreation approach, brands can create a closer, more personal relationship to their consumers – taking the time to create messaging that works across the globe makes consumers feel cared for and could increase brand loyalty.

Have you ever seen any bad examples of direct translation?

One that comes to mind was a marketing campaign by UK bank HSBC about a decade ago. They launched an million pound international marketing campaign with the brand tagline ‘Assume Nothing’ however the direct translation for a number of countries was ‘Do Nothing’ and unsurprisingly when they realised, they quickly spent more money to change their tagline again to ‘The world’s private bank’. If only they had invested in transcreation before launching! 

How can you account for the emotional and cultural elements needed in a translation?

The key here is the quality of your translators; if you employ people who are native speakers of the country you are launching an advertising or marketing campaign in, they understand the cultural and emotional references that might prove a barrier and save you from an embarrassing mis-translation. It is also important to communicate clearly and in detail with your clients to understand what message they are trying to convey through the campaign and what the context, style, tone and intent is of the messaging and how this can be adapted into each language and culture.

So how does Jublo approach translations? 

Post Editing (MTPE) as part of a lot of our projects. This post-editing is the process whereby one of our trusted translators reviews a text that has been translated by a computer, and the translator checks thoroughly, looking at spelling, grammar, and cultural/emotional references. The translation quality of machines can vary and so the translators may only need to make a few tweaks or in some instances they may need to completely re-write the text. 

If you would like more information about Jublo’s translations services or to find out how we might be able to help you, get in touch with us here.

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