Posted by shahzad-bashir on November 4, 2022

Transcreations | A Step Beyond Translations

Transcreations | A Step Beyond Translations

Language goes a long way to shape your brand’s image and capture the minds of target audiences. It is a fundamental aspect of your brand that allows you to communicate your message to target customers, tell interesting brand stories and influence their buying decisions. However, one language doesn’t work for businesses that want to dominate the global markets. We do translations and transcreations to eliminate the language barriers between the brand and its target customers.

The purpose of translations is quite known among the business community, but there are still gaps in understanding when it comes to the significance of transcreation. If you are a business that wants to expand its roots to global markets, you must be familiar with the transcreation phenomenon. Read this article to gain a keen understanding of transcreations, how they work for international brands, and how to approach them the right way.

Table of Content

  • What are Transcreations?
  • How Are Transcreations Different from Translations?
  • Transcreations Are Like Copywriters 
  • Translators May Need Creative Brief
  • They Are Used for Marketing Content 
  • It Focuses More on Readers’ Emotions 
  • It Is Expensive & Time-consuming
  • Key Transcreation Tips You Must Know
  • Hire Native Translators
  • Keep Deadlines Flexible
  • Gain A Solid Cultural Context
  • Hire Local Language Service Providers
  • Examples of Good Transcreations (Good and Bad)
  • Coca-Cola (Good Example)
  • KFC (Bad Example)
  • What to Avoid?
  • Automated Translations
  • Bilingual Translators
  • Not Proofreading Your Transcreations 
  • Being Over Creative 

What are Transcreations?

Apparently, transcreation looks nothing different from translation, but when you look deeper into the whole procedure, intent, and approaches, it goes way beyond translations. A transcreation has a more creative approach towards doing translations with the intent of directly promoting or selling your products and services to target customers. Transcreations are typically used for marketing copies and website content, which talks about the product and how it can add value to customers’ lives.

How Are Transcreations Different from Translations?

There are a lot of factors that make transcreations greatly varied from typical translations. Like translations, transcreation doesn’t focus primarily on converting the source language into the target language. The intent of transcreation is to generate brand awareness, talk about brand vision and values, and market the brand to target markets. Here are some points that would help you understand the difference between translations and transcreations.

Transcreations Are Like Copywriters 

In the translation industry, transcreators hold the same value as copywriters in the writing industry. Transcreation works very similarly to copywriters. Just like not all writers can be copywriters, not all translators can do transcreations. Because it is not a simple swap of words from one language to another. Professional transcreators must have good marketing experience, so they can understand different buying behavior and psychologies of target customers. This would allow them to pitch their products and services more effectively to potential customers and enhance their sales significantly.

Translators May Need Creative Brief

Transcreation is more on the creative side, so your translators may need a creative brief of the source text. For example, if it is a promotional message for an ad campaign, it needs to be translated. Translators must know the intent of the message, its purpose, and the influence it wants to create. You must provide your transcreator with a clear context of the whole message. So they can ensure that the true essence of the message and emotional values attached to it doesn’t get lost in translations.

They Are Used for Marketing Content 

Plain translation might completely mess up your marketing message. You must always transcreate your marketing content from experts. From a business perspective, transcreations are typically used for promotional, marketing, ads, and website content. The intent of transcreations is to convert potential leads into buying customers. You have to play around with their psychologies to make them deeply resonate with a brand.

It Focuses More on Readers’ Emotions 

It doesn’t really matter if the transcreated text is not a direct translation of source text or if it is using completely different phrases. As long as your transcreations resonate with overall brand messaging, concepts and intent, you must provide some space for transcreation to be more creative and imaginative.

It Is Expensive & Time-consuming

As we have discussed, transcreations are like copywriting, so they have to be more expensive than direct translations. You don’t pay a professional transcreation per word; you pay them for their creativity and the time they have spent. For instance, a brand slogan may contain only a few words, but it takes creativity with a wise marketing mindset to transcreate a brand slogan that represents its true values. It may take days or even weeks to come up with precise and good transcreation for a marketing campaign or slogan. It may be less than ten words, but transcreators would charge you quite a fee for this.

Key Transcreation Tips You Must Know

The overall approach of transcreation is very different from translations, so you must go about it the correct way to avoid any trouble. Here are some quick tips about doing transcreations for brands more effectively.

Hire Native Translators 

People are more creative in their own languages that they grow up speaking. Therefore, always hire professional native translators for transcreation purposes. Natives could better understand the mindsets of locales. They are also aware of the fears and fascinations of local customers that allow them to do transcreations that create deeper influence on target customers. Moreover, native translators are also well-aware of the cultural intricacies and social nuances of a region, so they are less likely to make cultural mistakes.

Keep Deadlines Flexible 

Unlike direct translations, in transcreations, you can’t really tell how much time exactly it is going to take to complete the transcreations. Therefore, it is important to keep your transcreation project’s deadlines more flexible and give your transcreator sufficient time to be creative, innovative, and precise while transcreating your content. To achieve desirable outcomes from your transcreations, you must create a stress-free environment for transcreation and allow them to work more productively.

Gain A Solid Cultural Context

Understanding your target market’s culture and social norms is important to create transcreations. That’s why it is always preferred to hire native transcreators only. There are many big brands that make huge linguistic and cultural mistakes while transcreating their content. You better avoid it in the first place by hiring local transcreators. It would prevent you from causing any cultural offense to locals through your brand messaging.

Hire Local Language Service Providers

Local language service providers are more likely to understand your key transcreation needs without any need to provide culture consultancy. Local agencies can easily get along with your transcreation project, and you don’t have to train their transcreators. There are many language service providers offering transcreation services to international clients. Instead of spending time on communing the requirements and providing cultural consultancy, you better hire someone from the local markets.

Examples of Good Transcreations (Good and Bad)

To understand transcreation better, here are some examples of top brands that are famous in the international marketplace. Here are good and bad examples of transcreations by two big brands.

Coca-Cola (Good Example)

Regardless of which country you live in, everyone loves to have their meals with coke. However, the brands have faced major backlash due to health concerns and plastic pollution. Yet the brand has continued to dominate the global markets because of its intelligent transcreations for marketing campaigns.  

For every region, they are personalizing their messaging and marketing efforts to influence people on a deeper level. They never really talk about taste and health. They know their game and always position their brand around happiness, friendship, and festivity. When it comes to translations, they believe in translating the feeling, not just words. For instance, “Taste the feeling” has become the new slogan of Coca-Cola in all of its recent marketing campaigns. It is a complex slogan and hard to comprehend linguistically, yet it has created a huge impact around the world. When it comes to translating the slogan, Coca-Cola never goes for its direct translation, “Proba el Sentemiento.” The company transcreated its slogan in Spanish, “Siente el Sabor,” which means feel the taste.

KFC (Bad Example)

KFC has made a very robust global reputation so far and is probably one of the best fried-chicken fast-food restaurants around the world. The company focuses on brand localization to make its brand fit in diversified markets. However, when it comes to transcreations, they have made some major mistakes that could have spoiled their credibility.

The company has a quite tempting slogan, “it’s finger lickin’ good,” that can literally fill your mouth with water. Unfortunately, in the Chinese market, when KFC translated its slogan into the local language, it turned out to be “Eat your Fingers Off.” This is exactly what happens when you go for direct translations and do not hire transcreators. Considering the China culture and values, this slogan was quite offensive, and that resulted in a major backlash faced by the company. Well, KFC learned from its previous mistakes and worked on its transcreations. Now, the company holds the maximum market share and dominates its fast-food industry.

What to Avoid?

We have learned from the above examples that transcreations can make or break your brand’s reputation in international markets, so you have to be very careful while managing your brand transcreations. Here are the things to avoid while transcreating your brand’s content.

Automated Translations 

MT tools are becoming popular for their quick translations without putting much effort. Many machine translation tools are advanced enough to generate high-quality translations with maximum relevancy. However, machine translations are not for all types of content. For example, you can’t use automated translation tools when it comes to transcreation. AI-powered translations would only translate the word’s literal meaning, ignoring the tone and emotional context of your original brand message. So, you must always hire professionals to do transcreation for promotional content.

Bilingual Translators

There is a major mistake made by most brands, which is they hire bilinguals to do their brand translations and transcreations. Bilinguals, unless they have good transcreation experience and qualifications, are not a good choice for translating your content. Bilinguals are individuals who are familiar with two languages, and it is not the only criterion for professional translation. It is just like that being proficient in the English language doesn’t make you a good English copywriter. For transcreation, you must always trust native translation with a good understanding of local cultures and customs.

Not Proofreading Your Transcreations 

Don’t make the same mistake that KFC made in China. They had probably hired the best resources to get their translations done and ended up messing up their brand reputation in China. Whether you are getting the best translation solution for enterprises from a professional LSP or hiring expert transcreators, you must get your transcreators proofread by a trusted professional who is familiar with the culture and language. That’s why even if you are partnering with an LSP for translation management, you should still have some in-house translation experts for proofreading purposes and double-check the quality and accuracy of all transcreations you get from a third-party translation agency.

Being Over Creative 

Transcreations are all about being creative with your brand message, but you better don’t overdo it. At the end of the day, you don’t want customers to be lost in transcreations, and the original message of the brand is still not precise and clear. The actual purpose of transcreations is not to prove that your brand is creative and tells unique stories. Instead, you must focus primarily on the brand message and never lose sight of the actual brand goals that it wants to achieve. So, instead of creating just feel-good transcreations, you must focus on making your customers understand what your brand stands for, what your values are, and why they should buy from you.

Wrapping Up!

Transcreations are very much related to your professional brand translation, yet there are some differences that you must understand. Brands that get their brand transcreations on point can better connect with the customers and influence their buying decision. We have many examples of big brands around us that are thriving in international markets because of robust localization strategies and intuitive transcreations. You must learn from the industry leaders and try to replicate their tricks and strategies to effectively manage your transcreations. 

Make sure you are following the guidelines in this article to effectively do transcreations. And also avoid the mistakes and wrong approaches towards brand transcreating. As we know that transcreations are expensive, you better do it the right way using a reliable localization management platform. You can contact us to learn more about translation and localization project management.

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