What is Transcreation

In this article, you will know the difference between Transcreation and Translation.

The anatomy of a Transcreation

The term “transcreation” comes from “translation” and “creation”. The first one refers to the pure act of translating and the second one is related to advertising and creativity.

Translating consists of taking what’s being said in a language into another. Considering there are no equal translations, this is a delicate process where many skills and judgement are needed.

The difference between Translation and Transcreation

Transcreation is indeed similar to translation as long as it is based on taking a message from one language to another, but with a slight twist.

As they put it wisely in the Smartling blog: “Usually, messaging that was written for one target segment or the audience will not resonate with a completely different group. With transcreation, the result is brand new messaging that is targeted and localised, while with translation, the result is new words in another language, but with the same messaging.”

Due to the cultural differences between languages, in the process of translation/transcreation it is often easy to find expressions or words that may seem non-translatable. So, transcreating is making an adaptation of the source that has the same effect in different places or markets, even if the message has to be changed to accomplish this objective.

And when a brand is highly creative, the equation gets more complicated. This forces the Transcreator to make decisions that could indeed change the final message depending on the marketing objectives.

But, how can we manage to do that? Are there limits?

And that leads us to the brief.

The rules of Transcreation: meet the brief

The brief is like the treasure map, a sacred document with highly important information. This file contains the limits of transcreation in a specific project.

A good brief should mention the starting point or the business problem, what will success look like (the Marketing objectives), what’s the specific assignment, detailed information about the target, a background of the idea that needs to be transcreated, the timing and some important things to keep in mind when the writing time comes.

It should point what to include and what to avoid in the final delivery, the tone of voice with a few descriptive adjectives, also the style and refer to that reference material that has contribute to making the brand unique. It is also common to find a brief that mention words that the client dislikes or doesn’t want to include.

As a transcreator is mainly a copywriter, just before delivering any project, it is essential to check if the final result fits the brief requirements. This is the best way to deliver a professional work as, no matter is a message sounds really good if it doesn’t accomplish the client’s objectives.

A piece of advice? When “suffering” a writer’s block, go back to the brief. Face it from another perspective. Thinking outside the box is always the best idea!