Five key differences between translation and transcreation.
The new field of transcreation is taking over the cross-cultural marketing game. It has enabled companies to successfully expand in ways that were not possible decades ago. But transcreation can be a time and resource-intensive process, so how do you know if and when it’s really necessary for your company? Below are five critical questions to help you determine when to ditch traditional translation for something more substantial:
What type of material are you working with? Are you looking to distribute numerical information, a product description or instructions? Or do you want to disseminate a message that will provoke a response from its audience? If your text is straight-forward and factual, translation is likely the best bet. Translators specialise in directly relaying information in the target language. However, if the intent of your material is to elicit a reaction, as in marketing and advertising, you will want to consider transcreation. Transcreators will restylise your message so that it resonates with your new target audience.
Who fits the bill for the task? Translators are trained to use linguistic equivalents to keep the new text as close to the source text as possible. Many also specialise in certain fields like law or medicine. For legal reasons and depending on your material, you may opt for someone who delivers a high level of precision. Transcreators are necessarily fluent in both the source and target languages, but are also fluent in the target culture. They are copywriters and creative thinkers with the ability to develop campaigns complete with images and marketing collateral such as billboards, brochures and company swag.
How do you want to get the job done? Translation is a process of handoffs: the company sends email or a stack of documents to the translator, and the translator then returns those documents to the company. During the process, the translator generally works independently and maintains minimal contact. Transcreation is a collaborative process that generally begins with a creative brief. The company explains marketing strategies, brand values and goals to the transcreation team. The team then works to generate multiple campaign ideas that are then pitched back to the company for feedback on tone, messaging and style. Interaction is consistent and the timeframe is more open.
When is the right time to begin? If you’re considering expanding to a new market, or if you’ve recently expanded without the response you’d hoped for, now is the time to consider transcreation. It can help you get the right message to your new market while maintaining your brand’s identity.
Why opt for transcreation? Think of transcreation as an innovative refashioning of source copy with a local flare. Transcreators aim to rework your company’s marketing strategies to create cohesive, complete and localised campaigns that will spur your new audience into action. If you suspect your material is in need of creative makeover from someone in the cultural know, perhaps the better question is: why not?