Transcreation: creative translation of marketing content

For many translation projects the process generally remains the same: a linguist will translate the content into the target language, it will be proofread by a second linguist, checked by the Project Manager who is working on the project and then delivered back to the client.

Translating marketing or advertising content calls for a more creative approach in order to connect with the local audiences of the target language, and taking into account the local culture.

This type of content needs to engage an audience and evoke an emotional reaction, so a standard translation may not be enough to convey the same messaging – this is where transcreation can help.

Think local, go global

Transcreation is an approach designed to customise a message for different cultures and languages.

This includes copywriting, image selection and font changes, to ensure the message is relevant to the target audience – content should never look or sound like foreign content to the target audience.

You might be asking “Why use transcreation? Won’t translation do the job?” Translation generally stays faithful to the source text, which is perfectly suitable for other types of content – legal, manufacturing & software – but this could cause issues for more creative content.

Examples of well-known companies making mistakes with their global marketing content include:

Transcreation allows the linguists to be creative when choosing products names, slogans and marketing messages.

As you can see from the above examples, those mistakes would have caused offence within the target countries, and led to further costs down the line in order to re-translate the content – when HSBC’s tag-line “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated in various countries as “Do Nothing”, the bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage.

Linguistic assets

In order to give linguists the creative freedom required for transcreation, they require specific instructions from the client to ensure that the core messaging and brand are properly represented. Linguistic assets such as style guides allow the client to explain the tone of voice, specific audience and any limitations or regulations to adhere to. One of our e-Commerce clients, BOTI, market their toys to children of a variety of ages, across multiple global markets, so we’ve worked with them to create a style guide to help to tailor the messaging appropriately.

Unsure if you need translation or localisation?

Brand preservation in multilingual marketing

If you have any questions about our transcreation services please do get in contact using the form below or alternatively, contact your dedicated Account Manager.

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