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Marketing Transcreation Starts Where Translation and Copywriting Meet

Marketing Transcreation Starts Where Translation and Copywriting Meet

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At the confluence of two worlds – translation and copywriting – transcreation plays a pivotal role in marketing. When launching a brand into a new market, translation or localization alone cannot convey the plethora of nuances that a marketing message needs to convey to get to the heart of your audience.

Words have power. Let it shine through transcreation.

Branding to a new market is a brave and challenging marketing act. He who claims, “Marketing is no big deal. Anyone can do it” should perhaps think twice before releasing these words of wisdom out in the open. Marketing sensitivities aside, that is a screaming fallacy for at least two reasons:
One: Everything marketing and branding revolves around content – not only visual or audio but written content. As the old saying goes, “Verba volant, scripta manent” (Latin proverb which directly translated means “Spoken words fly away, written words remain”), written words not only persist or live on, but in doing so, they have power. This power is to convey meaning and feeling while inspiring action. It’s a long process involving psychology, market research, cultural awareness, and creativity. Lest we forget, linguistics and, ultimately, translation. If you are planning to imprint on an international audience, you need to “translate” your brand in a way that makes sense to them. Does THIS seem like anyone’s job? Anyway…
Two: The icing on the cake – TRANSCREATION or rather the creative translation of your brand to an audience outside of your culture is what you need to shine across borders. A creative blend of translation and copywriting, marketing transcreation is your international business card, the secret ingredient that brings your brand in front of your users worldwide.

The importance of transcreation in marketing

We cannot stress enough the importance of creative translation and adaptation of your brand messaging to audiences living and breathing in a different culture than yours.

Emerging on the marketing scene in the second half of the 20th century, the concept of transcreation stemmed from the need that consumers in India and other Asian countries felt when interacting with imported entertainment content. The term did not enter general use before the 1990s when it became an intrinsic part of business translation, marketing, sales and advertising.

It generated a shift in how language service providers (LSPs), marketing, and advertising companies approached their clientele. Most of them pitched it as an entirely different service to their clients, while others still confuse it with localization to this day.

In truth, transcreation and localization are twin sisters, with a difference – localization is the adaptation of the translated content to the local culture. But about that, some other time. Today, we focus on transcreation and how it can kickstart your global branding strategy.
Much like a copywriter, the trans-creator is on a mission to recreate your marketing message in the target language so that it engages and resonates with your audience. Slogans, taglines, calls to action, social media posts, and sparkling humour, or idiomatic expressions used to describe your brand make the object of transcreation. Translating these word-for-word would not only distort their original meaning but would also harm your brand. Speaking of the devil, just don’t do this! (Attention! The next paragraphs may cause serious damage. We recommend you read them carefully to avoid account-draining brand overhauls.).

“Do Nothing!” or what did we miss?

Infamous, hilarious, and so costly for the UK’s leading banker HSBC, its tagline “Assume nothing” was translated as “Do nothing” in several languages. That’s a message you do not want to pass on to your clients. It cost HSBC no less than $10 million to rebrand to what it is today – “The world’s local bank”. OMG, that was painful.

To avoid pitfalls like that, the right approach to adopt is transcreation. Translation agencies like Pangea Global can be a friend in need when it comes to marketing translation and transcreation. Benefiting from the subject-matter expertise, linguistic prowess, and creativity of over 600 translation professionals – who are also copywriters, journalists, bloggers, and native speakers of 75+ languages and dialects – we are committed to delivering quality at scale. If you ever have a challenging slogan, email subject line, or social media post to trans-create, you know where to find us. We’re only one message away.

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