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Transcreation at a glance

How linguistic mastery and writing chops can put you way out in front

Marketing gimmick or vital service?

If you’re embarking on an international campaign, transcreation is actually an essential service – at least if the marketing side of things is to prove successful. There’s nothing gimmicky about it. This premium service is markedly different from a normal translation. First of all, there’s the purpose behind it: this is about advertising in its broadest sense. And advertising requires impactful ideas in order to generate sales. A direct rendering of words, one by one, out of one language and into another, simply won’t do. Transcreation also takes cultural and creative aspects into account. A slogan that is a roaring success in Germany might elicit nothing but a weary smile in Portugal. As such, texts are written completely anew, recrafted as a second original with language skills and writing flair.

Premium transcreation – what’s it all about?

A felicitous, creative writing style is absolutely essential for good transcreation. But it’s not enough on its own. You also need to be steeped in the language and culture of both the source and the target region. This dual-pronged aptitude for communication has to go hand in hand with consummate language skills: a good ear for idiomatic expressions, turns of phrase and word play. This is literary acumen at its most accomplished and incisive.

Having one person do all of that is a massive ask. Ultimately, teamwork is the best way of ensuring that the quality is as high as possible. Ideally, the text is first rendered into the target language by a native-speaking translator who is well versed in marketing speak and lives in the country of the source language. The piece is then reviewed by a second language professional – usually a copywriter – who is based in the country where the target language is spoken. And because promotional texts often come with images, the visual components of the message also need to be taken on board when working together across international borders.

In a nutshell, premium transcreation comes from top-drawer teamwork. It looks good, sounds good and works well.

When might you need a transcreation?

Transcreation is a must for any marketing text that is aimed not only at striking a chord with people in other markets, but also at selling something. Marketing cannot make an impression unless it involves an understanding of the art and culture of the target audience. It’s indispensable in communicating a company image or product – and thus triggering sales.

This applies to traditional or digital advertising campaigns, press releases, newsletters, blog posts, posters, brochures, commercials, POS material and product catalogues alike. We are committed to best practice and hold a detailed briefing session at the outset. Having a style guide and tone-of-voice handbook can also prove highly beneficial. But close collaboration at all stages of the process is what really drives the best results. For us, it’s the gold standard in effective advertising.

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