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The Art of Transcreation : Crafting Connections and Culture

Mar / 2024 / by wsadmin

In this ever growing market, with rising industries and important connections forming every second, the ability to communicate effectively is paramount for businesses to resonate with such diverse audiences. While conventional translation only serves the purpose of converting the literal meaning of the text from one language to another, there exists a deeper, more nuanced approach known as “transcreation”.

What is transcreation?

The literal meaning of transcreation arises from two words : translation and creation and as the name suggests it involves creating words with the original meaning of the text while considering the cultural sensitivities and preferences of the target audience. Transcreation requires a balance between preserving the original intent and tailoring the message to induce the desired response.

Translation vs transcreation

The basic difference between translation and transcreation is that the latter allows more creative liberties whereas the former allows none, nor does it consider any cultural preferences. Transcreation transforms the original text in such a way that it sounds culturally accurate and preferable.

Unlike conventional translation which prioritizes conversion of the source text as it is, in other words - focussing on its accuracy transcreation allows and prioritizes the impact and resonance of words by culturally adapting them, meaning that it focuses more on cultural relevance.

Why culture adaptation is necessary

Every language carries its own set of intricacies and eccentricities and to embrace this uniqueness into words, cultural adaptation while translating becomes an absolute necessity. In order to avoid indifferences and evade cultural insensitivities, transcreators are hired to modify the content accordingly while making sure to capture the essence of the message for the target audience.

Transcreation in practice : real world examples

Transcreation finds its application in a lot of various industries especially in marketing and advertising and media corporations where companies often look out to integrate culturally fit words into their taglines.

The difference between translation and transcreation is as evident as the marketing techniques between these two soft drink giants, and it clearly portrays which one is a better choice.

For instance, A huge translation blunder was notable when Pepsi translated their slogan “pepsi brings you back to life” in Chinese which turned out to mean “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”. Unfortunately, it wasn't as amusing amongst the Chinese audience as we took it and the slogan was discontinued. If only they would have opted to transcreate it to add more meaning, things would have been different and the slogan would have been widely popularized.

On the other hand, coca cola’s creative “share a coke” campaign turned out to be one of their most successful endeavors as they altered their labels based on a survey to understand the audience preferences better. In the US their labels came tagged with popular names, in China these names were replaced with tags like “buddy” or “friend” and in the UK these were replaced with names of popular cities and holiday destinations.

There are also many idioms and phrases that sound unintelligible when directly translated but become much more senseful when transcreated.

If we were to translate the english expression “piece of cake” in hindi it would translate as “cake ka tukda (केक का टुकड़ा)” literally meaning a piece of cake whereas the actual meaning of that phrase means “ an easy task”.

If this phrase were to be used in a sentence like “writing this is a piece of cake for me” (it was not) it would be translated as “ye likhna mere liye cake ka tukda hai (यह लिखना मेरे लिए केक का टुकड़ा है )” which sounds completely gibberish.

Hence by using transcreation we can convert the expression into “saral kaarya (सरल कार्य)” which is equivalent to easy work in hindi. By this way our texts culturally make more sense without losing their original lingual intent.

Therefore, these transcreations exemplify how the core message of the slogan remains intact while the wording is modified to make it more impactful and popularized.

Conclusion :

In conclusion, considering all the aforementioned points, transcreation is the perfect choice to localize and globalize your brand name when it comes to marketing or advertising your product and is also a much more culturally and socially acceptable alternative.