New words evolve and become commonplace from time to time and this time round transcreation is becoming a standard term used for translations in the advertising and marketing world. It is a process which combines both translation and creative writing which collectively means creative translation.

Future of Translation

One example of transcreation is when a company wants its key slogan translated into Italian. It hires an Italian translator to translate the slogan which ends up as catchy and effective as the original slogan in English. That is precisely what transcreation is all about. However, there is something different about transcreation as it cannot be done well by any translator. A business is likely to get a poor translation if it gets a multilingual employee to do the job instead of a fully qualified translator who is an expert at transcreation.

There are numerous examples where businesses have thought that they can even get free online translation tools to complete a translation job. The car maker Mitsubishi Motors found out the hard way when at a moment’s notice it had to alter the name of its car model, Mitsubishi Pajero, in a lot of its Spanish-speaking markets, to Mitsubishi Montero which was considered to be less suggestive. 

What is the Difference Between Transcreation and Localisation?

Localization is when a translation is adapted to a targeted culture and location. It resembles transcreation because the focus for both is a specific location, country, or group. However, there are some differences:

  • Transcreation emphasises creativity when a translation takes place while localization could be creative, but the translated text is expected to follow the same message and ideas as the original words. With transcreation if appropriate the translated content can be altered completely, but it must have the same effect on the audience.
  • Transcreation has an emotional component, which isn’t necessarily present in localisation.
  • The content is different as it has a more creative and emotional focus. Localisation is suitable for content such as in websites, strings in video games and web and mobile applications, while transcreation is the dominant force in marketing and persuasive texts like slogans, brand names, posts on social media posts platforms. 

When it comes to a translator choosing between transcreation and localisation the experienced translator will know what is most appropriate in an individual case. 

Sometimes clients will know all about transcreation and may approach a translator to focus on transcreation and not just a straight translation.

Is the Term ‘Transcreation’ Really Needed?

Translators over the years have undertaken transcreation without being familiar with the term. A good translator will know how a translation should be done for a named targeted audience. They evaluate the text and its purpose and will know precisely how creative or literal they need to be in order to produce the best translation for that particular audience.

Translators new into the translation industry may find it easier to conduct a translation quickly and effectively if they can assign a term to the translation they need to do. This allows them to allocate a suitable time frame to complete the translation. It may even be necessary to totally transform the given text in order to get the desired reaction in the targeted market. 

All competent translators will understand the value of transcreation, particularly when it comes to the transforming of persuasive and compelling texts where the translated message has to be just right if it is to fit in well with the targeted market. It is no good doing word to word translations when transcreation is the best way to go. It is close to localization but not quite the same.