These days, being able to communicate consistently across different cultures as well as finding the balance between global and local needs is a fundamental requirement for global brands. And that cultural consistency is not easy to achieve.
With the increase of globalisation, advertising and marketing professionals face new challenges. They must take into consideration every subtle nuance of each culture and language to make effective brand campaigns across different countries.
To achieve this goal, not only must copy and marketing materials be translated correctly, but the message must also be adapted to the local idiom and avoid misunderstandings and cultural ‘faux pas’ that could permanently damage the reputation of the brand, globally. Social media loves mistakes…
Damage limitation aside, the main reason that international brands are making use of transcreation is because it works.
Transcreation vs Translation
But what is transcreation? What does it mean? And what are the differences between transcreation and ‘simple’ translation?
Transcreation, also known as ‘creative translation’, ‘cross-market copywriting’ or ‘international copy adaptation’ is a process that focuses on meaning rather than words.
As the suffix ‘creation’ suggests, the transcreation process involves the act of creating different pieces of copy that spark the same emotions, feelings, and responses from specific targets in different countries around the world. Far from being a literal translation of the original content, these copy must carry the same implications in the target language as they do in the source language.
There are several elements to consider, from local values and cultural beliefs to dialects, idioms, humour, nuances and colloquialisms that cannot be translated directly. Transcreation starts with ideas, transforms the ideas into internationally compelling messages and seek to keep the communications intact, powerful and emotive as well as culturally acceptable.
In other words, with transcreation it is possible to take the essence of a message and rephrase it in another language, maintaining its salience. Transcreation is a holistic process, whose main goal is delivering the message with the same style, tone of voice, purpose and emotional impact of the original creative.
To avoid falling into the major pitfalls of international marketing, it is worth entrusting the transcreation process to specialist agency. Because getting transcreation right is a team effort. You need mother-tongue copywriters and editors based in their native country who can demonstrate creativity and expertise in marketing as well as strong linguistic skills. But this talent requires the guiding hand of an agency that understands the international landscape, understands the brand, its values and objectives and the cultural sensibilities that underpin the campaign.