The Importance of Transcreation
At Rhubarb Fool, one of our main priorities is to provide content that is not only informative and that gets your brand message across, but that engages and inspires. The more positive associations customers have with your brand and services, the better.
But what about the foreign markets that we specialise in? How do we leap over that language barrier? It doesn’t matter how perfectly honed a piece of writing is in English if none of the message and clever creativity survives the translation process.
. As a process it’s a step beyond translation, in which the content is developed
to better suit the target market. With bog-standard translation, the words will sit prone on the page and not quite resonate with the audience (rather like an Englishman fumbling through a foreign phrasebook!), but transcreated content will have been specifically adapted and ‘re-created’ for the market, resulting in a tailored message that has lost none of its potency for the language change.
Different demographics don’t just have different languages – these completely different cultures have quirks, customs, and concerns that are as unique as the countries they hail from. Our content isn’t created in a cultural vacuum – in order to consolidate a truly effective marketing strategy, these nuances must be taken into consideration. Otherwise, how can the message actually get across – how can it appeal at all?
Some definitions of Transcreation may vary – but it essentially means the act of translating creatively and sensitively. Translating more than words, but the message too. Supposedly the term developed in the computer and video game industry, as people developed a way to successfully market games to different demographics by changing images and storylines as well as the language. This makes sense –the experience of gameplay itself is far more important than simply the language it’s in. Humour and cultural references are far from homogenous and simply cannot be understood by all, even if the words themselves make sense.
Nowadays, transcreation is a term more commonly applied in the context of marketing and advertising. In order to maintain content’s impact across local markets, the larger message and ‘feel’ of the brand must also be translated as well as
the words. Therefore, the process of transcreation most often represents a hybrid of new content, adapted content, imagery, and simple translation.
Although other terms are occasionally used to describe this process, such as ‘marketization’, ‘cultural adaptation’, ‘multilingual copywriting’, ‘marketing translation’ and ‘adaptation of marketing materials’ amongst others, transcreation is our favourite. It reflects the composite nature of the process, and the creativity that is so key to its success.
The types of projects that most require translation tend to be web campaigns that aren’t attracting customers in other markets, content that features wordplay and humour that is specific to one language or
culture, and products and services that need to be marketed to diverse demographics within the same market. In short, just the sorts of projects that we at Rhubarb Fool have bucket loads of experience with.
With our carefully selected transcreators, we have the ability to plug the cultural gaps, so to speak, and ensure that the correct message is positively received by the intended audience without compromising on the original’s integrity. As we increasingly turn our gaze towards international markets, the process of transcreation is ever growing in importance. Without it, brands are at risk of getting lost in the ever-busy marketplace.