Translation vs. transcreation – the difference is cultural

Translation is just the first step towards addressing your audience in a language they understand. To truly translate marketing messages, however, there’s another step that marketers must consider – transcreation.

Word-for-word translation of marketing messages from one language to another may not be enough to get across your marketing message. Those messages also may need to be adapted to ensure they are culturally relevant. We’ve all seen cringe-worthy direct translations that have given brands airtime for all the wrong reasons.This is the point at which translation becomes transcreation – ensuring the language, humor, even slang, used in a marketing message is adapted such that it resonates with the intended audience. Transcreation might also be known by the terms ‘in-language copywriting’, ‘cultural adaptation’ or ‘copy adaptation’.

Furthermore, transcreation does not just mean altering the written word, but also images. What is considered relevant imagery for one culture may be totally unsuitable, perhaps even off-putting, to another. Therefore, transcreation usually starts not with the source text, but with a creative brief.»Instead of simply providing text to the transcreation provider, you’ll need to provide them with clearer ideas of the creative concept and the desired action you are hoping to trigger with the copy,» says Nataly Kelly, VP of Marketing at Smartling.Commenting on our recent article about translation, Wilson Camelo, an experienced bilingual marketer, likened direct translation to marketing to a youngster in the same way you would a grandmother.»Just like you don’t market to a 12 year old girl the same way you would to her 70 year old grandmother just because they are the same race, gender, speak the same language, come from the same socio-economic level, etc., you have to modify your messaging to those that are from a different culture,» wrote Camelo.Nataly Kelly has produced a free ebook for those marketers who wish to learn more about the hows and whys of transcreation. You can download your copy here.

by Helen Leggatt—the-difference-is-cultural.html