Frequently asked questions
What is transcreation?
Your business spends time and money creating copy and content that makes you different. Wouldn’t it be a shame if that message is diluted by the time you want to grow?
When you want to expand to other audiences, to other markets, the literal and classic word-for-word translation is going to be too little. That doesn’t even work for replying to an email, so how is it going to work for a campaign?
Transcreation is a creative translation that manages to transfer the essence of the message to another receiver, even if words are modified along the way. Our goal is not word for word, our goal is reaction for reaction. If your client smiles when they hear from you, that should be the universal reaction. Intention, tone and meaning depend on the context. Transcreation is about adapting contexts. Different events and situations affect the communicative style of a particular place and time. Even within the same language, if it is spoken in many different places, there will be a great deal of variation.
The same word will have other meanings
Let’s think about the word car. In English we are talking about a vehicle, while in United States we can hear auto. However, if we speak in a more colloquial tone, we can use the words wheels or jalopy if it is very old, and all depending on the area and the moment.
For this type of example, advertising transcreation involves a change in the traditional working style of those who translate content from one language to another. In traditional translation, it is usual to limit oneself to working from the source text, practically word by word (or at most sentence by sentence).
Transcreation, on the other hand, conveys the overall meaning of each paragraph, rewriting it from scratch and taking into account the context and cultural aspects of the target culture. You can actually see it if you read this exact point in Spanish. The idea is the same but the examples is different.
Transcreation for advertising campaigns
Advertising is the most direct form of communication between companies and the public. Therefore, it is often the area where transcreation can be most decisive. When launching an advertising campaign in another country, a lot is at stake. If we adapt the images, symbols, etc., we will also have to adapt our discourse.
Transcreation is intended to move us and to transmit values and worldviews.
Some brands choose to look for universal ideas that work internationally. This may not work so well because, ultimately, the stories we tell must engage our audiences, appeal to their emotions, values and perspectives
Advertising giants such as Coca-Cola are aware of this and transcreate their campaigns. For example, the Coca-Cola Break Up ad, which they adapted through transcreation, depending on whether they were targeting a European, Asian or American market.
Transcreating the company name and campaign messages
In addition to campaigns, the most important thing for small and medium-sized companies starting to go global is the transcreation of the naming and claims they use.
We must tailor our name, product names and slogans to our target market. These are the first messages the public receives from us. Thinking and working with them in context through transcreation is a safe bet.
Transcreation in email marketing campaigns
Marketing is not just advertising, and transcreation, like any message, is international. There are many cases, beyond traditional advertising, where transforming a message by translating it can be very effective.
One example is the transcreation of email marketing campaigns. The communicative styles of such messages vary greatly in the degree of friendliness with strangers.
Here is an example of how even the simplest concepts vary from one culture to another:
Where in Spain it is normal to use the informal “usted”, in Argentina it would sound terrible, and should be changed to “voseo”, the Argentinian version. The same happens with standard greetings: in English we usually use “dear” when greeting someone formally or to show respect, while “To Whom It May Concern” is used in more official and formal business communications.
International SEO translation is also transcreation
Let’s talk about multilingual SEO. We have already talked about it in several previous articles: international SEO translation works! In this case, effective transcreation will make the difference between a clear a well-positioned text and one that no one will read because it appears on the tenth page of Google results.
Simply finding a keyword for another market is already a transcreation exercise.
The way people search for information varies in different markets. People’s search intentions will also depend on their culture.
Also, groups of words that work in one culture may not work well in another. This is why it is so important to have professional translators who know how to do multilingual keyword research in the target market.
Once we have found the best keywords, we can start transcreating our texts, focusing equally on SEO positioning and on conveying the message to our audience.