A few words about transcreation

When translating a text, one must often take into consideration elements which are specific for the target culture. Therefore, someone who translates a legal text, articles of association, for instance, has to be aware of certain differences between the jurisdictions in question. Another example may be found in literary translation. Very often, the translator who renders a Polish novel into another language has to fit into cultural context, otherwise the reader wouldn't understand it at all.

Translation has recently been of great importance in marketing. As many companies begin to market their products abroad, the need for professional translations covering culture-specific issues grows as well. An interesting term directly related to marketing translation is transcreation. To put it in a nutshell, transcreation is a process involving rendition of a creative message into another language so that it can have a desired effect on the customers from the targeted country. If the message is transcreated properly, it conveys similar implications and calls forth the same emotional response. In order to achieve this, all the aspects of the target culture must be taken into account. The most important are: idiom, dialects, slang and word usage. Mistakes such as literal translations of false friends, certain collocations and idioms may have a disastrous impact on the success of an advertisement. Cultural differences, including customs and local beliefs, but also the way of expressing emotions ( gestures, body language, etc. ) are of equal importance.

Take, for example, the so-called 'thumb-up'. It will work in Poland, but not in Turkey or southern Sardinia, where it simply means an invitation to fight. Furthermore, it's difficult to imagine the ad featuring 'ok' gesture in Greece, Germany or Brazil - the customers will find it sexually insulting.

All these factors necessitate the departure from literal translation. As far as translation is concerned, one of the key words will be 'fidelity'. Transcreation will focus mainly on creativity and original ideas since the aim of it is to convey all the aspects of the source text, including images and emotions evoked by it, in a way that appeals to people living in the targeted culture. Taking no account from the process of translation, research into the targeted country must be carried out. It will allow the company to avoid many serious problems which may arise due to the differences.

Such problems may destroy the brand and incur considerable losses. Therefore, it is important that transcreation be performed by the professional linguists who are highly knowledgeable about marketing. An ideal transcreator should be a native speaker of the target language and have good adaptation skills and a wide knowledge of the market in question.

iIt is said that transcreation is something more than translation. In fact, the process of transcreation may be a good test of the marketing of the company, and, above all, it helps to adapt the creative style into foreign language so that it can enthrall the target audience and contribute to the success of the campaign.


target culture - kultura docelowa,
articles of association - statut,
to fit into - wpasować się,
to put it in a nutshell - krótko mówiąc,
rendition - przekład,
to call forth - wywołać ( odzew ),
literal translation - tłumaczenie dosłowne,
fidelity - wierność ( tu: tłumaczenia z oryginałem ),
taking no account from - abstrahując od,
targeted country - tu: kraj, do którego kierowana jest oferta
to incur - pociągać za sobą,
to enthrall - oczarować, pochłaniać uwagę,
to contribute to - tu: przyczynić się do czegoś,