In today’s globalised world, companies strive to speak their audience’s language so that they can deliver their marketing messages directly and accurately. Relying solely on translation is insufficient, as cross-cultural and linguistic differences risk miscommunication in international advertising. This can contribute to the core message of a company being inadvertently lost in translation. Transcreation, which combines creative translation and copywriting, serves as an apt solution to this problem and ensures that the right message is communicated.
Transcreation can utilise a master copy, making only minor spelling and vocabulary changes, or it can recreate the copy using entirely distinct linguistics while still remaining true to the original message. Transcreators must possess in-depth cultural knowledge of the source text and its target markets. By combining local culture, language, and emotional connection, they can generate creative output that resonates globally.
Cultural references, wordplay, sayings, jokes, rhymes, and acronyms illustrate some of many examples of language that are likely to fall flat in direct translations. These require creativity, and in some instances, complete revisions, to guarantee intelligible local adaptations across all markets. Some real-world examples that require creative alternatives include the Frosties’ “They’re Gr-r-reat!” slogan, in which the phonetic wordplay is not readily translatable to other languages. Heinz’ “Beanz Meanz Heinz” slogan, which utilises rhymes and spelling twists to mimic the brand name, is similarly untranslatable. In more reserved cultures, McDonald’s substitutes their “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan with the more culturally sensitive “I Just Like It”, which succeeds in conveying the same message. While in countries with high English proficiency, they have chosen to refrain entirely from translation, with the idea that the original slogan is understood.
In the initial phase of the transcreation process, the transcreation agency and client must determine whether a direct translation is sufficient, or what degree of recreation is necessary. This can depend on several factors, including cost, budget, and impact of the copy. As transcreation involves higher costs, below the line work generally has a lower impact and may not warrant the additional cost. Above the line work, on the other hand, has further reach and a higher budget, warranting transcreation. The degree of transcreation depends on the type of copy. An emotive copy such as a slogan may be completely recreated to communicate its intended message, while a technical manual or learning guide would require a more rigid approach.
High-quality transcreation services begin with a detailed brief of the product and service, as intimate knowledge of the brand’s core values, beliefs, and target audience is necessary for success. For example, if the company’s target audience is pre-adolescents, the transcreator needs to know this so that the copy corresponds to this demographic. Establishing the tone early on is also crucial to upholding the creative style of the original copy. If the original tone is casual or humorous, the transcreator must use their knowledge to meet the challenge of recreating it.
Legal content tends to be verbatim with little room for creative change, as miscommunication can result in severe consequences. Due to this associated risk, the process may be carried out using machine translation, and some countries ensure validity by requiring certification to transcreate legal documents. Examples of documents that might require this include terms and conditions, contracts, witness statements, patents, transcripts, financial documents, and certificates.
CMOs in global organisations understand that geographically relevant content incorporating a localised look and feel are critical to their sales and engagement strategies. In fact, output that resonates with diverse audiences on a local level is a new global mandate for CMOs.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to advertising a brand across multiple markets and a global network of experienced local copywriters and transcreators who understand their local language and culture and can adapt their texts to their respective local markets. In this way, we ensure that the brand's message is delivered efficiently and effectively to a global audience.
Copywriting is written text for the purpose of advertising, with its end goals being consumer engagement, click-through, or a purchase. Copywriters compose everything from slogans, taglines, CTAs, product descriptions, blogs, press releases, social media posts, to numerous other global marketing material. With online platforms currently oversaturated with advertising copy, creativity and uniqueness are indispensable. Copywriters must have a thorough understanding of the brand, product, and subject matter in order to create efficient and effective copies. Freelance copywriting is a practice that reduces the per content costs while still generating high-quality work.
There are numerous challenges to subtitling or audiovisual translations (AVT) that go beyond the translations themselves. For example, the timing of the text is key to comprehension. If the text disappears before the viewer has finished reading, remains for too long, or is out of sync with the visuals, the overall production quality will be affected. Subtitles are a tool made to benefit the viewer and should not distract them from the content or on-screen visuals.
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