How to get inspired when doing Transcreation

In this post, you will learn ways and techniques to keep inspired in your daily life. This will help you definitely when facing a transcreation project.

“An artist is an artist because of his vision”.

I recently started reading ‘The artist’s way’, a best seller by Julia Cameron which is also known as the ‘bible’ for any creative. In the first few pages she implies that, essentially, the job of an artist is based in his faith. In his vision.

This vision is unique. An artist is able to see a creative objective in the distance and his mission is to walk to get there and make it come true. As no one else can see it, there lies the true power of an artist.

But how exactly do we build that vision? How can we get more and more ideas? These questions may hunt many good creatives and transcreators all around the world.

The answer is simple: by getting inspired. Once you’re truly conscious of the process of getting inspired, you see the world with brand new eyes. Like a child would.

And that changes everything.

Quick question: Do you consider yourself an artist?

I’m not sure if you do, but if you work in creative translation, you’re an artist. And here’s why.

You have to understand yourself. You have to understand people. Not only you have to understand and translate, you have to possess this unique vision to get to your creative objective: keep or fill a message with meaning, accomplish the brand objectives and also, make sure that this message fits in in your market.

The result is unique, as no one would do it like you would.

How to get better at Transcreation

Once you’re used to translating a message from one language to another, know the rules of grammar, spelling, and ortho typography, as difficult as this is, how can you get better at Transcreation?

By getting better at Advertising.

Your job, as mine, is to play with words, but not in an empty way, these words need to have a specific meaning and, when putting together, sound good. This will help a brand to be different in a globalised world. This is what and Advertiser does. And this is why your clients want to work with you. Because of your vision.

When you are able to do this, you’re not only a Transcreator, you’re a Copywriter. 

Your true job is to be inspired

As a creative, as an artist, a Transcreator, you have to keep your vision in good shape. This implies that you have to be inspired every single day of your life.

As helpful as they can be, inspiration doesn’t only come from the brand style guide or the TOV document they’re the second step along the way. If you work in the creative industry, you have to be inspired by default.

Luckily for all of us, It’s easy and fun to get inspired.

When you’re watching a movie, you’re getting inspired. When you’re reading a book, you’re getting ideas, when you’re reading a magazine, you’re registering headlines,… all elements of the world are fuel from your mind and help to build your unique vision.


How to get inspiration for Transcreation

Here are some tips that really help me to get inspired in my daily life. They’re basically some ways of stimulating my mind, to run from the boredom that kills my creativity and create routines that are healthy for me. Take any that works for you and don’t forget to have fun!

  • Keep a little notebook.
    I like to write on a piece of paper rather than taking notes on my phone as it feels more real to me, but any other tool will do. When you wear a notebook, you’re in disposition to collect ideas, somehow telling your brain to register more information. Just write thoughts and ideas as they come, wherever you are. Create your own treasure.
  • Travel.
    It will open your mind and it is also quite fun. In my opinion, the best thing about travelling is that you get first quality inspiration while you’re relaxed. This is the best way, as your brain is completely opened to gather information and you don’t have that feeling of I’m working that comes with an imminent project. This is a good example of being inspired by default.
  • Work at differents places.
    Working at different spots will trigger your creativity at least if you don’t have trouble concentrating. Find a cafeteria or a fancy place in your city, take your earplugs with you if you get easily distracted, and enjoy doing your work in a different environment.
  • Read a lot of -good- Advertising in English and in your language.
    As a Translator, you’re supposed to already know all the rules about writing, so by reading Advertising you’re providing your brain with delicious pieces of information. You will get even more familiarised with rhythm, word games, design aspects, line breaks, and lots of elements that are needed to transcreate and to write Ads. You will immerse yourself in the persuasion way of writing. And, as every kind of media has it rules, it’s good to dig deeply in all types: video, print, banner,…
    Here are some examples where you can watch and read good advertising in many languages:
    Ads of the world
    Great Ads
    – We love Ad
    Ad week
    **A great thing about these databases is that you also get to know many agencies around the world that you can contact to offer your services as a Transcreator.
  • When watching or reading Advertising, take notes.
    Everything that could be helpful in the future, in general and specific terms: verbs, adjectives, tagline structures, ideas, approaches, TOV and style details. Observe the way brands deliver the message, if they use the first or the third person, if they include the subject, if they choose a more impersonal approach,… everything is helpful and everything will contribute to improving your unique vision.
  • Keep track of 4 or 5 top brands’ websites in your areas of specialisation.
    For example, I’m specialised in Fashion and I follow from 5-6 sites religiously to know what they’re currently doing. To select them, I try to be really strict: they need to do things differently and represent a trend or a style to enter my weekly inspiration trip through the Internet.
  • Subscribe to newsletters.
    Lazy about doing a weekly research? Let your inbox do the magic and subscribe to those brands newsletters in English and in your language. You can create a folder in your inbox to make sure all of this valuable emails are findable. Read them once a week and mark with a star the best ones.
  • Read magazines on weekends in your language and in English.
    This is one of my favourites, alongside with travelling, they even match really good! Magazines are a great source of inspiration, as you enjoy the experience while getting ideas. They’re also full of headlines, and most important, they’re full of ads! In my case, I read Fashion magazines in Spanish as Vogue, Glamour, Elle or S Moda. Find the equivalent in English or in your source language. Also, try to find magazines that only publish in your Market. Is quite important that you ‘register’ ideas in your mother tongue, as you will need them in your language when Transcreation time comes.
  • Catalogues.
    This one, in particular, is quite useful when translating Fashion and Lifestyle. You get specific structures of how to translate or localise expressions, words or terms.
  • Go offline from time to time.
    A computer won’t help you generate ideas, ideas are generated in your mind. So, whenever you can, run away from your workstation and work on a piece of paper. Mute the world, the ideas will start flowing like never before!

A second step: how do I register all the ideas I’ve collected?

I have an Excel sheet where I reflect all of this information in a specific order. Each sheet refers to one category in particular. This is my structure:

  • Adjectives
  • Verbs
  • Expressions
  • Example of TOV
  • Recurrent structures

Inside those categories, I make another distinction: I separate them in areas of specialisation. For example, a word like ‘smart’ would be translated differently for a Fashion brand than for a Tech brand. So on each sheet, I put the main areas of specialisation I work with and I include the most common words of each one.

Please, note that this second step is strictly for inspiration. As our job requires to put our unique vision in a brand that is unique, you will have to create a new way of saying anything in each project. But this Excel document will definitely help, as is a mix of information that comes from your process of getting inspired.

Which are your techniques to get inspired every day? Don’t forget to share them in the comments field below!