Why is transcreation important and when is it necessary?

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There are more than a few examples of poorly-done translations all over the internet. While it is true that they are amusing as they are baffling, the direct consequence of a bad translation is that the brand’s reputation is seriously damaged and recovering from such an episode is very expensive.

One of the most notorious cases happened with KFC. When this fast-food restaurant chain jumped into the Chinese market, they decided to go for a literal translation. This wasn’t the best option to use in other cultures. Their slogan in English: “Finger lickin’ good” became “Eat your fingers off” in Mandarin. The fact that large companies continue making serious language mistakes like this demonstrates the importance of transcreation and the need of understanding the difference from a conventional translation.

What is transcreation?

Let’s start at the beginning. The word transcreation comes from the combination of two English words: translation and creation. Transcreation consists of adapting your business’ content into other languages and cultures, going beyond the simple literal translation. 

The characteristics and collective thinking of each culture are broad and diverse. There can be major differences between regions, in everything from cultural references, life philosophy to their traditions, background, and sense of humor. Translating the original text word for word will not allow the message to reach the audiences of different countries because there are many expressions, double meanings, and plays on words that are lost in translation in other languages. 

Why is transcreation important and when is it necessary?

Transcreation translates ideas, concepts, and emotions. With it, translators make sure that the message behind the words reaches and provokes the same feelings in the new audience in any country.

That normally can’t happen by simply using an exact translation to a different language, but rather by looking for words or phrases that evoke the same ideas and emotions in the country where the message is being shared. Thus, the translator is able to freely move away from the original text and create one that impacts the new receiver in the same way. 

Transcreation requires a great deal of creativity, a strong sense of localization, and deep knowledge of a country and the society where the product or service plans to settle and achieve success. It is a very powerful tool that you have to take into consideration when expanding your business because it can exponentially increase your sales. 

When to hire transcreation services?

  • When you plan to recreate your content and maintain your brand identity on a global scale while attracting the local public. 
  • When you want your message to reach the public and make customers feel identified with it, both emotionally and linguistically. 
  • When you want to make a strong impression on the reader, that’s why it is a highly used practice in the advertising sector. 

At Berba, we have a team of native translators who perfectly understand and perform the service that best suits your needs. With professionals specialized in transcreation and more, and committed to following the highest quality standards, we deliver top-notch translations at record-breaking speed. 

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