What is transcreation?
Transcreation is the process of recreating precise brand content for a target language to effectively preserve its creative and emotional intent while making it resonate in other languages and cultures.
In some cases, translation is sufficient. But when it’s critical to preserve the precise meaning of creative work, transcreation produces better results. Transcreation blends translation—of language and images—with cultural and linguistic nuances. The result is content that conveys the same concept in the context of local preferences. The transcreation task is usually performed by professionals with marketing and local market experience who take a concept and recreate the idea for a target language. Learn the steps in the transcreation process.
Transcreation is most effective for projects like:
- Email marketing
- Multi-country or regional campaigns
- Content marketing
- Taglines and messaging
- Content with humor or cultural references
It makes the most sense to deploy transcreation when the success of your content depends on the right voice and style for each audience segment.
Why do I need it?
It’s easy to think that translation is enough. But because so much of successful marketing is rooted in cultural context, societal mores and background information, a word-for-word translation of any creative content may not be enough to resonate with the audience. Transcreation enables the same great creative concept to be adapted and improved for use in different international locales.
“Remember the world doesn’t revolve around your country–the angles, programs, articles, social media, infographics, videos, research, customer proof points, spokespeople, measurement and other that works in your country may not be effective in other countries,” counsels Laura Stiff, communications director for Saisei, a network analysis and control company based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has offices in APAC.
Faith Brewitt, niche marketing expert and founder of Beijing-based Have Faith in Your Brand, offers this example: “So many times, I’ve seen clients get the local translation right, but they got the colors or images wrong,” says “Some colors are politically sensitive—orange won’t work in one place, yellow in another. Or you produce content showing food during daylight hours of Ramadan. You really have to work with someone who knows the local market and culture to adapt.”
What are the barriers?
“Preserving content’s original creative intent requires more than just a translation,” notes
Domenick Cilea, president of Springboard, a Marlboro, NJ-based marketing and public relations agency specializing in the B2B technology sector. “Organizations must eliminate the one-size-fits-all mentality and modify their content for each audience they serve. This could be geographic or demographic in scope. The transcreation of marketing or public relations campaigns must aim to inform each audience and offer messaging that resonates with them. In order to do this effectively, language and cultural insights should be considered, but more importantly, you have to articulate the problem that is being solved through the content. Understand it and then convey your solution utilizing all of the content channels that are suitable.”
Transcreation is one solution that should be used in concert with other specific global marketing services.