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What We Think

4 Jan 2017
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Written by:


The Social Element

What is transcreation? How can brands use it to enhance their work?

Transcreation is far more than translation, and different to localisation. It’s not just about converting content to make it authentic and reflective of local markets, but about creating concepts and campaigns within these markets that can be part of a larger, global campaign.

What is transcreation?

It’s is a concept used by many creative and translation agencies, but often these agencies confuse transcreation with localisation. While translation focuses on modifying language, localisation focuses on making that language understandable in local markets (you might have the right words, in the right order, but does it make sense culturally?)

Transcreation takes localisation a step further. Why ‘localise’ content when you can have the people who live and work in those countries coming up with creative concepts themselves? Concepts that fit the global campaign, but which are born of the local market.

Localisation is no substitute for transcreation. One gives you authentic, creative ideas generated by those who inhabit the culture, while the other translates fixed ideas to fit the local zeitgeist. Both have a role in brand campaigns but it is important to understand the difference.

When I asked our Languages Director, Richard Simcott, what his definition of transcreation was he responded: “For me, it’s using an original idea in one language and using copyrighting skills in the new language. This renders a sleek version that works in the local market, using references and language that can be appreciated by the local audience on their terms.”

Why is it important?

Transcreation enhances the impact of language. Translating and localising content focuses on the clear communication of a message. Transcreation cares not only about the clarity of the concept, but the emotion and the power of the idea.

When we’re trying to shape a message to fit, or be understandable by, a local market, it’s easy to be so focused on getting the words right that we forget the vital active voice behind it. Brands want people to act, and transcreation helps ensure that the message is heard and felt.

In short, transcreation gets results. It means the brand isn’t just talking to its audience in their own language, but it’s also thinking in it.

Transcreation in social media campaigns

As specialists in social media management, Emoderation knows how to create content that resonates with international markets on a variety of social channels. The campaign must lie at the heart of all content, but marketing to different regions must come from the local creative team if brands want powerful global campaigns.

Social content needs to grab people’s attention. It needs to stand out from the ‘noise’ of social information that we all need to filter every day. If the language is passive, or if the idea behind the content doesn’t resonate with those reading it, the message probably won’t be read – never mind acted on.

Transcreation requires people who can think creatively and write powerful copy that delivers results. It means brands giving their local teams the authority to create for their own markets. Translation and localisation are vital parts of the marketing process, but transcreation can add to the creative thought process. Brands that want to engage local markets via global campaigns need to identify the core message of the campaign and let their specialist teams create concepts from the ground up.

Transcreation requires people who can think creatively and write powerful copy that delivers results. It means brands giving their local teams the authority to create for their own markets. Translation and localisation are vital parts of the marketing process.