With the increase in global communication, the need for translation is increasing. Translation alone is not enough to appeal to regions with different cultures and customs, and in recent years, transcreation has been increasingly used as a new method.
While the use of AI translation tools is on the rise recently, transcreation is a method of human translation that makes the most of human creativity.
■What is Transcreation?
A portmanteau combining the words “translation” and “creation,” transcreation adds creative meaning to the translation, adapting it to the target culture, customs, tastes and trends and making for a more appealing text.
While typical translations emphasize accuracy, transcreation can provide creative translations while maintaining the main idea of the original text. Since there is more freedom in the translation process, transcreation has gained importance in recent years as the optimal translation method for advertising and marketing in global business, often being used to create slogans or catchphrases.
■Features of Transcreation
Although transcreation may involve a literal translation, in many cases, it does not necessarily use the same meaning word for word. Therefore, at first glance, the expressions used in transcreation may appear to be incorrect.
In addition, the length of the sentence/copy, the rhyme, the sense of rhythm, the visual match to the design of the product, and how kanji and kana are used also important factors in transcription.
Therefore, one could say that transcreation is not a process of replacing the original expression with another language, but rather copywriting in another language.
■Role of Transcreation
The main goal of transcreation is to produce a translation that resonates, and has the same effect that copywriting does. Different languages have a variety of different backgrounds: different cultures, customs, feelings, ways of thinking, fashions, tastes, and social trends. The role of transcreation is to help readers from these different backgrounds understand the message the customer wants to convey.
Regardless of whether it is a literal or a free translation, transcreation is successful if it captures the intent of the original text and conveys the message in a natural way in the translated language with the same impact as the expressions in the original language, resulting in empathy from the reader.
■The Difference Between Transcreation and Localization
Similar to transcreation, localization is a translation that adapts to the target region, culture, customs, tastes and trends, and translates texts in a natural, easy-to-understand way. Transcreation, on the other hand, complements translation with more creativity, aiming to enhance appeal through high-impact expressions.
Creative writing is often confused with creative translation, but they differ in several ways. Creative writing starts with a blank page, making content in a target language from the ground up, while transcreation always translates from an original text.
■The Advantages of Transcreation
The main strength of transcreation is its high sense of appeal. It can provide information and nuance that a typical translation may lack, enabling texts to be more communicative.
Another benefit is ease of understanding. When trying to describe a different culture or custom or difficult concepts, one could add an explanatory sentence to the text, but this would lack impact and affect readability. However, with transcreation, ideas can be expressed with more brevity. Transcreation is a translating technique akin to copywriting, used to convey content and expressions that are difficult to communicate through typical translation methods, increasing empathy and leading to improved marketing effectiveness.
■The Effects of Transcreation
1. Improved appeal through empathy
To survive the fierce competition of the globalized business environment, it is important to convey an impactful message. Using transcreation to deliver such messaging at the right time and place makes it easier to leave a lasting impression on users, who are then more likely to empathize with the information, increasing fans of your brand or company and building trust. Once that trust has been established, fan marketing can be utilized to maintain purchasing and spread information over the medium to long term. The key to achieving this is localizing content for the target language and region, and creating a transcreation that can capture the hearts and minds and evoke empathy.
2. The signs of a trusted company or brand
Another effect of transcreation is that it can increase trust in a company or brand. Most people will likely avoid purchasing goods or services from an online store if the language on the website sounds odd, but a transcreation that uses natural expressions will readily tell users that the company or brand is trustworthy.
■Examples of When to Use Transcreation, and Things to Keep in Mind
Transcreation conveys concepts and messages in a straightforward way, so it is well suited for branding.
This translation method can be used wherever translation is needed: for websites, social media, advertising slogans, product packaging, posts, pamphlets, corporate introduction videos, and all sorts of other situations.
It may be difficult at first to imagine how transcreation can be used for video, but it can actually be deployed not just for the video itself but for on-screen captions and subtitles too. Transcreation transcends linguistic and cultural barriers and gives a positive impression, so it is great for branding products and services and can be applied to a wide range of projects. That said, in comparison to typical translation, transcreation requires more knowledge of the culture, customs and trends in the target market, as well as marketing knowledge, excellent skills in the target language, and copywriting ability. General translation skills will not be sufficient for these kinds of projects, so choosing a service with writers who have specialized skills is the safest bet.
■Transcreation in Business
Often used in marketing, transcreation is a good way to increase appeal in business. This is because transcreation condenses in short messages not only a company’s thoughts, but also messages that communicate what its target customers want in line with social trends, in other words, the important elements in marketing.
In transcreation, a lot of information needs to be expressed in a way that there are no discrepancies between the languages of different backgrounds, such as differences in culture, customs, language and markets. Therefore, consistent concepts and designs are also important.
In recent years, there has also been an increase in the use of video for advertising and branding, and along with comics and games, transcreation is expected to continue to be used in a variety of fields in the future.
Toin’s transcreation provides translations that truly resonate, but it also has other advantages.
Strong writing skills
Experienced in combining advanced translation and writing skills, Toin will provide customers with the perfect transcreation. We can help you increase your appeal by training translators who are involved in documentation and have marketing knowledge. Focusing on the success of their global businesses, we will communicate information sought by customers through transcreation with messages that “stick” and win the hearts and minds of their target audiences.
Over half a century of translation know-how
With more than half a century of history as a translation company, Toin has accumulated expertise in the optimal translations for marketing purposes. We can handle a wide range of translations that convey the characteristics of your products and services and corporate/brand images, and we can effectively promote your message with transcreation tailored to your target customers, areas, and commercial products. If you are thinking of enhancing your global business marketing with transcreation that truly resonates, please feel free to contact us at Toin.We offer flexible services ranging from translations that are faithful to the original text to localization and transcreation that conveys the story of a product or brand to meet the customer’s needs, helping them improve their appeal and differentiation in global business.
We invite you to try “Transcreate Beyond,” the next level of translation for your global business success.
See here for information about our Transcreate Beyond service