Marketing Content Localization & Transcreation
In our first part of this blog series about Marketing Content Localization we already gave a short introduction about transcreation. Let’s have a closer look at it in this article.
Transcreation is so much more than translation. It’s ensuring that all the different elements that make up your content; for example style, tone, idioms and analogies, are tailored to your target markets. The finished piece should read as if it were written in the reader’s mother tongue and provide them with an identical emotional experience as the source text given to the readers in the original language.
Transcreation makes cultural adjustments. When choosing color, tone or hue businesses need to think beyond how nice the color appears. For example, the color White represents peace and purity in the West, whereas in Asia it is the color used at funerals. Meanwhile the color Yellow often represents cowardice, yet in Japan it means courage. Finally, Red can often be used to symbolize passion, yet in India it actually symbolizes purity!
When choosing a slogan, product or brand name, a common practice is to keep them in English globally, but this can get you in legal hot water in some countries like France, where English used in advertising needs to have a French version too. Other things like pronunciation can put English language in a spin too, when they are spoken aloud in foreign climes.
If translation is about the ability to understand someone else’s language, transcreation is about being an accomplished creative writer in your own, while having a sound understanding of both cultures.
Transcreation writers need to have the confidence to move away from the original where necessary. Often the more creativity that went into the original message, the more creativity it will need to make the message resonate in other languages. The key is to transmit the same ideas, but using different words and imagery to suit the target market. This can mean treading a fine line.
Transcreators are creative people, but poorly thought out source copy risks putting creativity in a straitjacket. It is vital that source copy is thought out, and final before being sent for transcreation. Any transcreation of marketing communications should always be signed off in the market where it will be used, by the relevant product manager or marketing team.