Transcreation is a ‘hot item’ in the translation industry. The meaning of this concept is a combination of translation and content creation (copywriting). Usually, such buzzwords add little value to a field of practice, but in this case it’s different. Transcreation can really improve marketing texts and advertisements and thus optimize its purpose in the target language.
Translating marketing content for international organizations is not an easy task if you want the text to be as effective as possible. At Google, marketing texts for their AdWords services are sent straight from the U.S. headquarters to The Netherlands. Examples or business cases they would give in those texts are about surf shops, grounded in a Californian context of surfing, typical American products and beach life. If one would translate this in a traditional way, the texts would not hit home with Dutch entrepreneurs. It would be too American, too blatant. To let your audience in Holland identify with the message you must use better examples, such as a bicycle shop rather than a surf shop.
How to master transcreation?
Transcreation means changes must be made in both language use and context. It’s about commercial and functional optimization, for example in SEO: what do people in a foreign country search in Google? This requires product knowledge, experience in (online) marketing and creativity, skills that are not always needed for ordinary translation jobs. At Textcase, we train translators to transcreate. The translator looks at the bigger picture and understands the full marketing strategy. He or she empathizes with the target audience, is aware of important keywords in that language and takes the freedom to rewrite without changing the corporate identity. The boundaries between translation and copywriting are fading.