Transcreation – Creative translation

Transcreation is a specialised area of multilingual communication, where traditional translation and creative content production meet. We at Traduct are specialised in creative translation that takes into account not only the translation of words themselves, but also the relevance of the surrounding culture in the message. Our office is located in the city of Turku, but we serve customers throughout Finland and abroad.

What is the difference between transcreation and traditional translation?

The soul of a translator cries out: but don’t I always improve on the original text, ending up with a translation that usually trumps the source text in quality? True. Transcreation cannot, however, be seen as merely touching up a text; the whole starting point for transcreation is that editing will probably be necessary in order to adapt the text perfectly to another culture.

The benefits of transcreation: What does the customer gain from the expertise of an editing translator?

Reader-friendliness The text might be perfectly functional – in the source language. But even in neighbouring Sweden, for example, there is quite a different approach to marketing texts in comparison to what usually works in Finland. The rhythm of the text would seem fragmented in Finnish, the choice of words odd and over the top and the style in general somewhat gushing. The translator is required to have a creative, editing approach.

Market orientation A simple example would be currencies and measuring units – you might want to change dollars into euros and inches into millimetres. When stepping outside Finland, we naturally need to add the imperial units alongside the SI units, if that is what the market requires. This is all part of transcreation.

Culture orientation Expressing your message in a different language doesn’t mean just changes in semantics: concepts, ideas, ways of thinking and even views on life might be completely different. In Finland, the Siberian jay is known as a sympathetic bird that reflects the Finnish mindset. The Germans, however, know the bird as Unglückshäher, which translates literally to “the jay of bad luck” – this might be trivial information, unless the entire visual appearance and background story of, say, a tourism destination in Lapland is built around a bird of ill omen. German tourists might opt for a different destination in order to avoid the shifty Siberian jay. Even worse: accidentally using a logo considered offensive by members of a religious group.

Brand orientation Skilled language professionals will get to know your company and brand closely through long-term co-operation. They will be your ally in building and developing your brand. They will help you plan campaign slogans and catchy phrases in order for your message to be equally effective in different market areas and help you avoid embarrassing mistakes that can easily cost you money.

How to obtain the best results?

  • Brief the language professional: what is the starting point, what is your goal, what are the limits.
  • Bring in the necessary stakeholders: ask for the opinion of your own experts and also fill in the language professional.
  • Give feedback: even the best translators are not mind-readers – let them know how the market reacted to the transcreation.
  • Long-term co-operation is usually the key to achieving the best results. This will naturally reflect on your brand in a positive way.

Interested? Are you wondering whether traditional translation is right for you, or is transcreation a better option? Contact us and we can talk about it!

RODO Machinery took part in the Bauma trade fair in Munich in April 2019. Our goal at the fair was to connect with European retailers and potential customers. We were looking for a native speaker of German for our trade fair team, someone with sales experience in the German market and who is familiar with the country’s business culture.

We chose Traduct as our partner, as they were able to offer us precisely the type of service we needed, tailored for the trade fair. Our trade fair team was reinforced by someone who could carry out sales negotiations in German, represent our products at our stand at Bauma and act as an interpreter in more demanding situations. Many of our potential customers speak only German, and offering service in their language gave us a valuable competitive edge over other businesses exhibiting at the fair. I would absolutely purchase this service again.

CEO, RODO Machinery Oy