Translation is a process that aims to convert a written text in the source language into an optimally equivalent text in the target language. Transcreation, also known as “creative translation,” is a process of rewriting the same text in another language, taking into account the cultural context. Transcreation requires an in-depth understanding of the original content combined with good copywriting style in the target language. Transcreation is not a literal translation and has more of a creative translation:
Unlike translation, transacting is not meant to say exactly the same in another language, as this is often not possible due to linguistic and cultural differences between the original and the target markets. What’s more, sometimes it’s even inadvisable! Transcreation will prevent you from literal translations that may be incomprehensible, silly, or even offensive to a target audience from another culture.
The aim of the transcreation is to skilfully reflect the ideas and emotions conveyed by your original copy, articulating them in the style and manner most appropriate to the target local market and getting the same reaction in both languages. Transcreation serves to render communication more effectively in a foreign market while retaining all of the impact, emotion and meaning of the original content, and to support the client in providing each brand, product or service with a strong and consistent international image. Transcreation will help you to improve your communication with customers from different cultural areas, transcending the boundaries of culture and language. If your translations are to reach a recipient from another culture, then transcreation is the right approach.
It is best to illustrate transcreation with a specific example.
For Promotur Turismo de Canarias I transcreated from Spanish to Polish a large amount of marketing materials and this is one of the examples:
“Sílbame y voy” is a famous saying from La Gomera, a Canary Island that is well-known for its whistling language. “El Silbo Gomero” (the Gomeran whistle) is a whistled form of a dialect of Spanish used by inhabitants of La Gomera to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys that radiate through the island. The Gomeran whistle enables messages to be exchanged over a distance of up to 5 kilometres! In 2009, it was was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, emphasizing the great utility of this unique form of communication as a communication system adapted to the island’s environment and the great technical complexity with which it has evolved.
How to transcreate “Sílbame y voy” to Polish conveying all this emotional message with only a few words? In Polish there is a saying “być na czyjeś gwizdnięcie”, which means that someone is fully available for another person, and it contains the verb “to whistle”! This saying may have a pejorative connotation in certain contexts, but certainly not in the context of nature, which invites and welcomes the visitor with open arms, assuring its full availability. Additionally, to arise curiosity in a Polish speaker not familiar with the Canary Islands and the Gomeran whistle, I left the word “gwizdnięcie” (whistling) in quotation marks. The quotation marks are the tool which allows me to whisper into a Polish tourist’s ear: Please check what’s going on with the “gwizdnięcie” word since it is unnaturally left in quotation marks.
Now I invite you to listen to a sample of the “Silbo Gomero.”
In order to achieve our goal of getting a successful, understandable, powerful, influential, and touching marketing message the following components need to meet:
An excellent command of both the source and target languages, cultural awareness and sensitivity, marketing skills and… a talent for creative expression are the crucial elements of successful transcreation. All this shows that the process of transcreation is very extensive and complex.
Transcreation is most commonly used in marketing and advertising. Legal, medical or technical texts are rarely transcreated.
My transcreation services most often include: catchphrases and advertising slogans, company and product naming, branding, advertisements and advertising campaigns, advertising offers, requests for proposals, websites, promotional materials, product descriptions, fair materials, catalogs, brochures, leaflets containing product descriptions, TV/Radio scripts, press releases, sponsored articles, SEO texts and positioning phrases.
What makes one advertisement good (i.e. not to be missed), and another one bad (i.e. no one is interested in it)? It will be easier to explain it if we analyse an example of a bad advertising. What does come to your mind when you think of a bad advertisement? Most of the people will probably respond that it is an advertisement which is low quality, carelessly worded, poorly arranged, probably made in a rush by an unqualified person, etc. I do not agree with that! Such an announcement as described above would probably never see the light of day because these mistakes would be noticed in the blink of an eye.
A bad advertisement may be high quality, accurately worded, carefully arranged, a result of long hours dedicated to mastering its content… Believe me, it may have all of these components, but if it fails to create a strong positive emotional response in a viewer, it can be only compared to a failed joke, which despite the excellent content, for some reason, was not understood by the audience. A good advertisement goes beyond just being refined, and gives an extra value to the content by moving deepest emotions of customers, touching their hearts, and attracting the target market into the product or service sold.
It seems that in 2017 the marketing industry has been fixated on the idea that when it comes to slogans – the shorter the better. For this reason “slogans” are now often called “taglines.” What other features to look out for when creating slogans? Above all, an excellent slogan needs to provide a dose of real emotion and surprise with creativity in order to make it memorable! In order to reach this goal the transcreator needs to follow these steps:
✓gather as much information about the company and its products as possible,
✓establish the expectations of the company,
✓determine the target audience and adapt the language accordingly,
✓keep in mind cross-cultural nuances,
✓apply marketing techniques and use a powerful message to make the slogan win the hearts of customers and became a memorable,
✓make sure no other identical slogan has been used so far.
Creating a powerful slogan can require from a few hours up to a few days work. I will risk saying that nowadays an excellent brand name, logo, and slogan are the cornerstones for the success of your business in today’s saturated market.
And now I invite Polish, Spanish, and/or English speakers to play a game together! The requirement is that you need to know at least two of these three languages. Please read Polish, Spanish, and/or English names of the famous dwarfs from Wrocław, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and join them with the corresponding names in the first, second, and third column. In 2016, Wrocław was inhabited by as many as 396 dwarfs! Tourists turn into Dwarf Hunters and have a lot of fun searching for, counting and photographing dwarfs in groups or alone… and I had a lot of fun translating their names from Polish to Spanish 🙂
Grajek i Meloman
Músiquito y amantito de música
Ciudadanito de Wiesbaden
Enanitos del Polo
Arcik el Viajerito
Ice cream Lover
Busker and Music Lover
Arcik the Traveller
Citizen of Wiesbaden
The Party Member
It is my immense pleasure to recommend Magdalena Baranowska. She has collaborated for Intercom Empresas (Grupo Intercom, Barcelona based venture capital firm) as a Content Editor for almost 1 year and we are completely satisfied with the work provided by her. I consider Magdalena Baranowska to be a confident worker, and a highly versatile, patient and motivated person, with strong ability to learn. I feel confident that she will succeed in her future jobs. It is for these reasons that I strongly recommend Magdalena Baranowska without reservation.
Toni Montenegro Saiz,
Content Manager at Intercom Empresas – Grupo Intercom
Recomiendo a la Señorita Magdalena en una forma muy especial... Es una traductora e intérprete muy altamente capacitada, que va más allá de los servicios lingüísticos, tiene capacidades de negociación e habilidades interpersonales increíbles... Es una persona muy eficaz y dedicada completamente a su trabajo. Ha sido un gusto haber podido trabajar contigo, Magdalena… Has ayudado mucho a mi empresa, y te estamos muy agradecidos.
José M. (España),