Transcreation (or creative translation) is a more comprehensive service than translation only and is well suited for marketing translations. During the transcreation process, translations are produced with the main focus on the impact the text will evoke on the target audience. A specialist linguist is provided with text in the source language and asked to creatively translate it into the target language to ensure it is relevant and impactive to the intended audience. The final piece may not strictly follow the source text word-for-word, but will be perfectly tailored in terms of targeting your market in the desired country. Whilst maintaining the message of the original piece, a transcreation will heighten the impact your translation has in the local market.
This service is most suited to advertising, marketing, retail, branding and global manufacturing industries and can be most useful for product launches, global advertising and re-branding campaigns.
What happens without professional transcreation?
Eight epic localisation fails:
- Pepsi – the Pepsi slogan, “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated in Taiwanese became, “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
- General Motors – when General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, the company was unaware that “No Va” meant “It won’t go”. Hardly a great selling point for a new car!
- When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the USA, with the smiling baby on the label. Later, they learned that in Africa, companies routinely use images on product labels of the actual contents, since many people can’t read.
- Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.
- The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are You Lactating?”.
- The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela”, meaning “Bite the Wax Tadpole” or “Female Horse Stuffed with Wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokoukole”, translating into “Happiness in the Mouth.”
- Wang Cares – in the 1970s, American computer firm Wang required an explanation from their UK-based PR firm why its successful slogan “Wang Cares” would not work in the Queen’s English.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken – In China, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” became “eat your fingers off”.