A phrase that seems amusing or persuasive in one language may well sound flat, or even tasteless, in another. The language of marketing, for instance, which relies heavily on inspiration and cultural references, is a constant challenge for those who work in our sector.
It’s clear that translation is not enough in such cases: what’s needed is transcreation. It has been defined as “translation…with superpowers”. Normally applied to advertising and marketing texts and messages, transcreation is a process that deals with a message and precise cultural context in a way that transmits a particular concept and emotional impact to a different cultural context.
Transcreation demands creativity, a deep knowledge of the target culture, and – ça va sans dire – absolute mastery of the destination language.
This is the only way to ensure that the impact and effectiveness of the source text are retained when translated into a completely different linguistic and socio-cultural context.
Transcreation is widely used in advertising, audio-visual and literary assignments. It becomes vitally important in the translation of slogans or product names, which are often based on metaphor or word play.
History tells us that while a successful slogan can be the making of a brand, a misjudged association can cause image damage that is not easily repaired or forgotten.