When translation is not enough: Transcreation as a convention-defying practice

When translation is not enough: Transcreation as a convention-defying practice
18 July 2019 Claudia
Intervento transcreation Claudia Benetello

“What’s the difference between translation and transcreation? They’re the same thing, right?”

I get these questions every day.

While I regard transcreation as a different service which requires a specific skillset, it is not an alternative service to translation. When you’re dealing with marketing and advertising texts, transcreation is the only way to produce copy that really packs a punch with the target audience.

Mind you, there are cases where a faithful, 1:1 transposition of the original copy can be effective.
I’m thinking L’Oréal’s ‘Because you’re worth it’, which was rendered literally in at least four major European languages such as Italian (‘Perché tu vali’), French (‘Parce-que tu le vaux bien’), Spanish (‘Porque tú lo vales’) and German (‘Weil du es dir wert bist’).

More often than not, however, a new original must be created (e.g. Norton™’s ‘Go boldly, not blindly’).

As a transcreation specialist, I firmly believe that transcreation expertise lies precisely in the ability to establish whether a close rendition of the source text will have an impact on the target audience, or whether the copy should be re-created – partly or completely. The transcreation professional as a translator + copywriter + ‘cultural anthropologist’ + marketer knows exactly what works for the target market and culture and is able to use the right words to create the desired effect on the readers.

In 2016 I gave a presentation at the Translation and the Creative Industries International Conference which took place at the University of Westminster. Below is the video of my presentation.