What is transcreation?
Transcreation is not what happened on the day after the day of creation, when God suddenly had second thoughts about creating Adam and Eve and felt like offering a third option, oh no, of course not! However, it is still a bit of a buzzword, a blurry concept. Let us try and clarify all this.
Transcreation has been more and more at the forefront of creative translation over the past twenty years. Before the year 2000 hit on us, I was working for a translation agency in the Haymarket in London where they passed the first ever surveys around our team of specialised linguists for Ryan air or famous watch brands to try and ascertain the impact of different ads in various languages. Now, everyone from Starbucks to Nescafé through to Shell use transcreation talents all the time. I am happy to be one of them.
Transcreation is an arduous pursuit, in which one combines translation and creation so a slogan or tagline or a short marketing text, i.e. “the world’s local bank” can be conveyed in another language, keeping its true colours in the target language, that is the original tone of voice, subtext, imagerie, style, registers… and becomes, in French for example “votre banque, partout dans le monde”.
To try and understand it better, here’s a tentative user guide by frankyfluent, a creative copywriting and transcreation agency: