transcreation, marketing translation

Why transcreation is important?

transcreation, marketing translation

How much time and money is invested in creating marketing and advertising assets? For most SMEs and enterprises it is considerable. Extensive research is carried out on target customers, buyer personas created, marketing messages are carefully crafted, and skilled marketers and creatives employed to translate all this information into engaging and compelling content.

It is important you get it right, a poor ROI and marketing budgets are reviewed, creative agencies are sacked, and heads may roll…

When it works the results speak for themselves: and there may be scope to roll out these assets in other markets to reap similar rewards. Marketing and advertising assets can be translated to enable your company – or your clients – to expand overseas, reach new customers and establish the brand in new markets.

This is why transcreation is important. Just as care needs to be taken when creating original assets, it also requires specialist expertise to translate that content so it delivers the expected ROI in new markets too.

Why transcreation, not translation?

Straightforward, direct marketing translations have their place. This translation service is perfect for translating simple, persuasive marketing content into another language. The result will be a translation that reads fluently, but remains faithful to the source text, with localisation to ensure it is relevant to your target audience.

But how many advertising and marketing messages are that straightforward? If you’ve invested as outlined above in the original copy, the chances are the message is highly targeted for customers in your domestic market. Not target customers in new markets.

In this case marketing translation and localisation services are not enough. The result could cause confusion, even offence in your target market, or just simply disengagement.

Instead what is needed is a more creative approach to translation, which is what transcreation is all about.

Here’s an example where marketing translation services were used instead of transcreation:

Swedish vacuum company, Electrolux, decided to expand their successful ad campaign to reach customers in the US. Using the same assets as their Swedish adverts, it launched with the strapline “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

Nothing wrong with this grammatically, nothing wrong with it linguistically, and nothing actually wrong with the meaning. Vacuum cleaners suck up dirt in any country. However, in the US and also here in the UK, ‘suck’ has different connotations.

If the agency or in-house team who managed the translation had requested transcreation, this mixed message would have been avoided and a more appropriate and targeted strapline created instead.

The transcreation process would have retained the brand position, the core message that Electrolux vacuums are highly efficient and powerful, and found an equally as engaging strapline for the new market.

That’s why transcreation is important. It ensures that those marketing assets that have been so heavily invested in for one market, translate with the same impact in others.

For more on advertising and marketing translations, and advice for in-house teams and creative agencies, download our translation guide here.

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