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Transcreation – Definition and Transcreation Examples

transcreation process marketing

Back in the day, commercials on TV or ads in the paper were most often tailor-made for one country. But as the world got more and more connected, globalization became a game changer in the marketing world. Today international celebrities flicker across screens all around the globe, advertising products and services in many different countries.

But even if commercials or advertisements are placed worldwide, they are usually broadcast or printed in the local language.

However, when it comes to translating this kind of specialized content, the traditional translation approach is often insufficient. In such cases, transcreation is required.

What is transcreation?

The term transcreation is a combination of the words ‘translation’ and ‘creation’.

It describes the process in which content is adapted from one language to another while making sure that the intention, the original style and tone of a message are preserved. This can often only be achieved by tailoring the message to the cultural background of the target audience.

Therefore, transcreation not only requires linguistic expertise, but also creativity and a cultural understanding of the target market. This way you can make sure your content, such as advertising slogans and marketing texts, resonates with the target audience on an emotional level.

This is why transcreation is essential for optimum brand presentation in a foreign language.

You can read more about benefits of transcreation, transcreation examples and transcreation rates per hour in the following article.

transcreation translation

How transcreation differs from translation?

You can define transcreation as an intersection between language, culture and emotions.

This is why transcreation is much more than a mere literal translation from a source language to a target language.

Advertising often works with puns or idioms which wouldn’t make any sense translated literally. Accordingly, transcreation requires much more creative input than normal translation. The writers need to find the right cultural context, they have to be able to write catchy wordplays and awake the desired emotions in the customer. For this exact reason, people who offer transcreation services are often not translators, but copywriters.

In contrast to translations, transcreations don’t start with a source text, but with a creative brief. This usually includes ideas, concepts and desired actions that should be triggered by the copy.

While translators work very closely with the source text, transcreators often need to detach themselves from the exact wording of the original text in order to be able to focus more on the intention of the text.

During the transcreation process, some of the following questions need to be answered: “What culture-specific content is transported in this message? or “What background knowledge does the audience need to have to understand the message?”.

As a language consultancy, EHLION offers professional translation services as well as transcreation services. No matter whether you are in need of marketing localisation services or website localisation, our qualified translators are here to help you. And if you are unsure whether translation or transcreation is the right fit for your project, we are happy to advise you.

Where is transcreation used?

In addition to the areas mentioned above, like marketing and advertising transcreation, transcreation might also be needed in the following areas:

  • Websites
  • Product catalogues
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases
  • Corporate communications in social media

It is worth considering transcreation whenever your content is about more than just providing information. When you want to resonate with your audience emotionally and when the cultural background is important for conveying your message, then transcreation might be the right choice.

Examples of transcreation

Well-written advertising slogans stick in our heads forever. Sometimes we only need to hear a brand name and our mind instantly adds the slogan.

We hear McDonalds and our mind adds “I’m loving it”, we hear Loreal and think “Because I’m worth it”, we buy gummi bears from HARIBO and we can’t help but say “Kids and grown-ups love it so – the happy world of HARIBO”.

At first glance it may not seem much of a challenge to translate a slogan – after all it’s just a few words, right? But there are countless examples that show how easily things can go wrong.

For example, KFC’s “Finger lickin’ good” in Madarin translates as “Eat your fingers off”.  No comment needed.

How a word sounds is also something you need to pay attention to, especially when it comes to brand names.

The Chevrolet model “Nova” did not sell as well as hoped in Latin America, which isn’t really a surprise for Spanish speakers, because “no va” can be translated as “does not work” (literally: it’s not going).

These are some self-explanatory examples of why good transcreation is so important.

Sometimes instead of transcreation or translation, localisation is needed. Read more about that topic in our magazine article “What is localisation?”.

Rates for transcreation services

While prices for translation are often calculated per word or per line, there is no such thing as “transcreation rate per word”. Transcreation costs are billed hourly, and here is why:

Transcreation, as mentioned above, is not about literal translation, but to a large extent about being creative and doing thorough research. This is why this work cannot be measured by the number of words.

For example, it might take 5 hours to transcreate a four-word slogan into Spanish. First of all, research must be done. Different versions and ideas are written down, discarded and improved, until you have narrowed it down to the version that best conveys the core of the original message.

This is why in comparison, transcreation is more expensive than traditional translation. Transcreation rates per hour can vary, but usually lie somewhere between EUR 70 and 120.

Steps in the transcreation process

  • Creative brief by the client
  • Analyzing the source text based on the creative brief
  • Transcreation of the source language into the target language
  • Delivery of the target text

Benefits of transcreation

  • Content is individually tailored to the target audience and their cultural background.
  • Creative translation of your content ensures that the content and the form in which it is delivered match.
  • High quality content created by native speakers.

Disadvantages of transcreation

  • It takes longer than a traditional translation
  • It is more expensive

Conclusion – transcreation is for creative copy with a marketing focus

Transcreation is the process in which content is adapted from one language to another in a creative way. Transcreation is especially important when it comes to marketing and advertising in different countries, with different languages and different cultural backgrounds.

No matter whether it’s French transcreation, German transcreation or Japanese transcreation, you should always make sure you’re working with a professional transcreation service where the writers have an in-depth knowledge of the cultures they create content for.

Are you in need of a Transcreation, but don’t know how to go about it?

EHLION is an international full-service agency for translation, localisation and international communication, with highly skilled professionals around the globe. We offer a wide range of services, including transcreation, app localisation and healthcare translation.

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