Whether it’s an advertising campaign, a promotion, or a slogan, translating marketing copy is always a creative process. Word-for-word translation is not an option, and a wooden piece of writing will do your brand more harm than good. So you need it transcreated – but what exactly do we mean by that?
Transcreation and marketing
Where translation is concerned, it’s different strokes for different folks. There’s standard translation, and there’s creative translation, and there’s transcreation – but what’s the difference?
Standard translation is fairly literal, staying close to the original while obviously ensuring that it’s well written and easily understandable. This is the best option when the text shouldn’t be changed too much, such as an instruction manual or employment contract. There’s nothing wrong with a straight translation!
If it’s a blog post, subtitles or a book you want turned into another language, the translator will go one step further and produce a creative translation. While it’s important that the message doesn’t get lost, they’ll do things like changing the order of the sentences, and finding clever alternatives to more literal translations.
”‘Jullie hebben superwerk geleverd! Dit zijn altijd lastige teksten qua woordgebruik en vooral tone of voice. Ik ben er heel blij mee!’Malu KnippenbergBrand Manager, Moët Hennessy
Transcreation involves an even greater degree of artistic freedom. The transcreator will stay true to the original wherever possible, but may also make changes and even add text as they see fit. And that’s precisely what marketing copy needs!
Transcreation in practice
Here’s a real-life example. Translating a slogan might sound like it’s no big deal – it’s only a few words, after all – but nothing could be further from the truth, as Pepsi will tell you. Their tagline ‘Come alive with the Pepsi generation’ came out in Chinese as ‘ Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave’. Oops.
The best slogans are clever, immediately understandable by your target audience, and memorable. Pepsi’s Chinese tagline at least achieved the latter – it won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Language professionals from the creative industry
Creative translation is a skill in its own right. It needs to take account of things like rhymes and wordplay, and any humour must work well in the target language and culture. The Translation Collective is a translation and copywriting agency established by language professionals from the creative industry. Whether we’re translating, transcreating, or helping a client to draw up a style guide, it’s not just words, but ideas. And that’s precisely what marketing is all about: translating and communicating a clear message.
Our creative translators
When we do transcreation, we use a worldwide pool of talented translators who are also seasoned creative writers. And we don’t rest until you’re totally satisfied, offering suggestions and alternatives and including a round of feedback in the price. You can read more about how we keep our clients happy in our case studies.
We can help with your marketing transcreation
Got some marketing copy that’s ready for transcreation? Ask for a no-obligation quote below, and it’ll be in your inbox in two hours. We can also provide samples to help you choose a transcreator who’s on your wavelength.
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