What is Transcreation?
Transcreation is a relatively new idea. It is adopting a message used in one language into another, taking into account the intention, style, context and tone of the original message. A well-transcreated message will evoke exactly the same emotions and will project the same implications in both the target language and the source language.
Transcreation is used more and more by businesses for their advertising campaigns for the global market. A well-transcreated advertisement will incorporate the language and culture of the targeted market. It is not just words that transcreation handles it considers the images that are included in the creative message by making sure they fit in with the local market that is being targeted. When does someone ask what is a translation? it can be explained by using other phrases such as:
- creative translations;
- international copy adaptations;
- marketing translations;
- free-style translations;
- cultural adaptations.
The above words and phrases basically take the essence of a message and re-create it into a second language. The term transcreation actually originates from the combining of two words which are creation and translation. In a nutshell, transcreation isn’t just translating a message word for word. Creativity is used in a process where the transcreation agency employs professionals who specialise in considering the cultural variations that exist in different countries and make the most of them so that the marketing message benefits the business.
The Origins of the Word ‘Transcreation’
It was in the 1960s and 70s when the word transcreation was first coined and it was used in relation to the translation of creative advertisements. Transcreation agencies then started to take the term a step further and use it for the translation of highly creative language. These agencies used transcreation as a way of distinguishing their translation services from the more general translations offered by translation services.
Today, transcreation is now in its element and is used by transcreation agencies and marketing companies as a service offered to businesses who want to penetrate the global market and attract the global customer to buy their products.
An Example of a Transcreation Project
In 2004, Marvel Comics & the Gotham Entertainment Group produced a comic book for Indian customers which featured a Spider-Man who was born in India called Pavitr Prabhakar. Prabhakar, dressed in a dhoti takes on Rakshasa, a demon, against backdrops like Taj Mahal, not New York City. The CEO of Marvel Comics & the Gotham Entertainment Group said it was the first transcreation of a Western concept of Spider-Man made relevant to an Indian audience, attracting Indians to buy the comic book.
The Role of the Transcreation Agency
Most transcreative work is performed by a transcreation agency mainly for the advertising industry such as the production of, posters, flyers and brochures, TV & radio advertisements aimed at potential customers. Increasingly, transcreation is used on websites. In order to be effective, advertising has to touch both the hearts and minds of the potential customer.
Transcreative work, conducted by a transcreation agency, transcends both cultural and language boundaries in order to achieve a global marketing strategy that is effective. The copy needs to be translated well in the first place but taking into consideration other factors like mores, culture, dialects, humour and context are key to successful transcreation.
If an advertisement appears to lack any respect for local values, cultures and beliefs the transcreation agency will have failed as this sort of advertising would have a negative effect on any potential customers. Companies realise the importance of transcreation so to meet the challenges they choose to use a translation agency to produce their global advertising materials.
Who Produces Transcreation?
The majority of transcreation is undertaken by copywriters who specialise in transcreation. Generally, a successful transcreation is performed by somebody who shares the same native language as the targeted audience. In order for effective transcreation to be produced the native language copywriters are required to have a great deal of knowledge of the targeted market, perfect language skills, and be creative when adapting the message for the targeted market.
In summary, transcreation is more than translation because its focus is not on the literal text, but on getting the same emotional response in the new targeted market as it would get from those who speak the source language. Due to the use of idiom and the variety of the local usage of language word to word translations are no longer considered to be adequate. This means the best translation will consider not only grammar, vocabulary and syntax but also idiomatic and local usages of language by the targeted audience while including the context and text of the source document. This has all developed in relation to the demands of global markets where companies compete to sell their goods to unfamiliar markets.