Business Translation Center

What is transcreation and does my business need it?

by OFER TIROSH 10/04/2019

The internet can be a wonderful tool when you run a small business. A relatively low outlay can result in a website that acts as a shop window to the world – and with the ready availability of professional translation services, you really can sell to almost anywhere in the world. 

Professional website translation services from Tomedes

Over the past decade, Tomedes has provided countless website translation services to clients around the globe. We work with them to craft the perfect foreign-language versions of their websites in order to build up their brands and their income. Our marketing translation experts are able to apply their detailed local knowledge in order to ensure that each site delivers precisely what the client intends. 

However, sometimes marketing translation alone doesn’t quite cut it… 

The case for transcreation

In some instances, delivering a message that achieves the client’s desired result in another country requires transcreation. This process blends translation with a more creative approach – hence the name. It goes way beyond localization, which is a service that shapes translations to meet the cultural expectations of their new audiences. Rather, transcreation starts with a focus on what the client’s goals are and draws elements from their original documentation, while creating a fresh approach that will more properly connect with the target audience. 

Transcreation can involve writing new copy from scratch in the target language, reworking or replacing straplines and catchphrases, replacing images and more. Nothing is sacred – even the company name and logo can be subject to overhaul as part of the transcreation process, if it means the company will then be better received by its new audience. 

Does my business need a transcreation service?

Whether or not you need a transcreation service depends on what your business does and where it intends to operate. In some instances, translation and localization will be all that you require. In others a full transcreation approach will be necessary in order for you to maximise your success in the target culture. 

Transcreation: where to begin

If you feel you need a transcreation service, the first step is to speak to a professional agency about what you are trying to achieve. This discussion will map out the best way forward to suit your particular needs. The transcreation specialist will be able to advise and guide on which elements of your current marketing materials will be well received by your target audience and which will need to be refined or even completely reworked. They will apply specialist local knowledge to consider the impact of your materials, taking everything from political and religious considerations to cultural quirks into account. 

If transcreation is needed, the process will begin with the ultimate goal in sight. In marketing terms, this is usually a combination of how you want the audience to feel in response to your messages and what action you want them to take as a result. Your transcreation specialist will then work with you to make this happen. 

The benefits of transcreation 

Many clients are initially wary of the transcreation process as they feel that they are ‘losing’ part of their brand by changing so much. However, with the right transcreation team, it’s possible to significantly add value to a brand while retaining the same ethos and vision, even though many of the visual elements – and even the name – may differ. 

The advantage of this is that the company ends up with a marketing campaign and materials that are laser-focused on the audience in question. This can result in the campaign having a far greater impact than can be achieved by simply adapting an existing campaign and trying to shoehorn it in to the new audience’s culture. When done well, this means that transcreation can result in increased sales, better brand awareness and even enhanced brand loyalty. And what business would object to that?

Final thoughts

Has your business used transcreation services? What convinced you that transcreation was needed, rather than just translation and localization? Leave a comment below to share your experience.