Specializing Translation – Why businesses should transcreate, not translate

One common error made by businesses looking to diversify their brand into new cultures is to simply translate already existing marketing campaigns word-for-word into the language required. This may seem the most logical thing to do, however a number of phrases or sentences that make perfect sense in one culture can make little to no sense in another. This is where transcreation comes in – instead of simply translating content, businesses should think about re-creating a marketing message to fit the new culture and language.

However, with this process comes the question of brand dilution – will different marketing messages create a unified brand image? A recent article by Rachel Chilson on Business2Community says yes – transcreation can actually maintain the core identity of a company.

This is done by ensuring the tone and style of a company is replicated in the new material, even if the words aren’t exactly copied. Copywriters will look to maintain a quirky, serious or witty tone, depending on the company style, and will look to use similar words or phrases to those associated with the brand as a whole. This way the brand identity is preserved and won’t fall victim to mistranslated messages that may harm the business more.

When looking for copywriters to transcreate a campaign it is best to outsource. Even if an in-house employee knows the language and culture of the new target market, they may make some kind of mistake. By outsourcing the transcreation process a business can make the most of the cultural familiarity the new copywriter will have with the desired destination. This method is also cost-effective.

As soon as a company knows they need to transcreate they should start researching. The sooner a business manages to discuss what defines their brand, the sooner a copywriter can start to create the perfect transcreated content. Be sure to focus on customer-facing content first, as first-impressions matter. Also, remember that transcreation can take longer than simple translation due to the deeper involvement required.

The process may seem more time-consuming and convoluted than the traditional method of translation, but the results are worth the extra effort.