Don’t Neglect Transcreation if You are an Active Marketing Translator

Last Updated On: October 18, 2018

inTranslation Tips

Transcreation in marketing translation services

If you’ve never heard of the term “transcreation”, it may be time you have, especially if you are in the business of marketing your products to a new emerging niche or you are a marketing translator who is looking to build your client base.

Transcreation sounds vaguely like a religious term at first, but it is in fact nothing to do with religion at all. It is the adaptation of straightforward translation from one language into another taking into account the local dialect and culture of the target market without destroying the key brand content. It has its main use in marketing translation services because effective marketing depends on understanding what makes consumers everywhere tick.

Marketing language is often very idiomatic and tends to incorporate aspects of the culture where the product that is being marketed. Slogans, idioms and marketing language don’t always translate freely from one culture to another. What is funny in one culture may be downright offensive in another or simply fails to resonate.


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Transcreation is a task best left to professional translators who have developed experience in transcreation. They need to have an in-depth knowledge of both the originating culture and language but the target one too.

Transcreation is needed in every marketing context. That includes email marketing, websites, billboards, mass media advertising, social media sites as well as advertising through social media.

Transcreation can often be very simple adaptation to local preferences. Take the use of colour for instance in an ad or a website that has been localised. Some colours are just not associated with marketing or are taboo because they are associated with religious or social mores that may convey a negative image.

Attitudes towards gender differences can be very different in different cultures. So can attitudes towards age differences.

Many languages have a standard form used for formal communication and then there may be several different local dialects with their own recognisable terminology and idioms. The use of formal language makes sense when used by document translation services, translating things like government notices, personal documents such as birth certificates and employment records. But it doesn’t make sense when used to sell goods and services to regional and local markets, just like formal language isn’t used at home when slogans and marketing messages are likely to be very informal, yet instantly recognisable by the people for whom it is intended to influence.

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