Maximising cultural relevance – Transcreation Agency

March 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

The chief objective of transcreation is to take the essence of an advertising campaign message and to tailor that message for a new market, one in which the same message may be viewed differently.

The process of crafting new documents using transcreation is an art.  It is an incredibly complicated progress to convert a brand message across cultures so that the meaning remains intact.  How would McDonalds’ slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” work when translated?  Since this message relies on a contraction of the words “I am” and a further contraction of the word “loving” (which is understood in English to be friendly and informal) it is not such a simple translation.  Would the slogan still convey the same message if translated as “I am loving it.”?  Probably not.  It now appears stilted and formal.  Not the same message at all.  In Spanish McDonalds uses “Me enchanta” as its slogan, or, as a literal translation in English, “I love it.”, in French the slogan is “C’est tout ce que j’aime” or, in English “It’s everything that I love.” and in Azerbaijan the slogan is “bax, budur sevdiyim” or “See, this is the love.” In the above case we can clearly see an instance where a message has to be changed to suit its audience in order to have the same reaction.  Creativity must be involved in a multilingual campaign in order to maintain cultural relevance.

In order not to fall into the many traps, including local slang, social idioms and cultural differences, involved in translation it often helps to be familiar with the culture that you are translating into, not just the language.  The subject matter may present difficult cultural challenges to overcome.  A heading, title or tagline with a pun, rhyme or joke (e.g. “A Mars a day helps you work rest and play”).  Perhaps a reference to a film, TV program or catchphrase (e.g. “The Force is strong with this one…”).  All of these may not translate correctly, so the transcreator needs to creatively adapt the original copy using his knowledge of the conventions of the target culture.

The transcreator should also familiarise himself with the product or service that they are advertising.  This will often help overcome cultural differences as he can relate to the subject matter and interpret its cultural meanings in a personal manner.  A kitchen blender is a fairly typical household item, but it can mean many things to many people.  It can mean smoothies and health drinks to some, hot soups and comfort food to others, time saving and efficiency to a third group.  The transcreator needs to understand how this product relates to the target audience.

At Xigen we offer specialist transcreation services for a wide range of customers across EMEAR and beyond.  We manage the creative, coding and production process to ensure a great result, every time. Using our team of local translators and copywriters we ensure that your marketing materials hit the spot from a literary standpoint and our design team will ensure that each and every asset looks its best. Request a quote today and see how our team can help you reach new markets.