As a transcreation expert, I argue that the transcreation of advertisements is a mixture of translation and copywriting. It takes a translator to fully understand the meaning of source-language copy as well as its cultural implications. But it takes a copywriter to write marketing and advertising copy that is unique in its wording, true to a brand’s tone of voice and impactful on the target-language audience. Combine both professions and you get a real transcreation specialist.
As a matter of fact, in transcreation I write copy in my own language (Italian) based on copy provided to me in a foreign language (English or German). I said write because, more often than not, I have no other choice but to re-create the copy if I feel that a straightforward rendition wouldn’t make sense in Italian or would not be the most effective way to convey the original message. While I’m aware that a lot of people simply call it ‘creative translation’, ‘marketing translation’ or ‘advertising translation’, I regard such labels as somewhat reductive, not to mention potentially misleading.
In 2018 I was invited to present on transcreation at a Translating Europe Workshop which took place in Rome. Organised by Directorate-General for Translation representatives in the EU Member States, often in cooperation with universities of the European Master’s in Translation, the workshops are part of the Translating Europe project, created to bring together translation stakeholders in Europe. At this event, I showed a few examples taken from own professional experience to prove that transcreation sits at the intersection of translation and copywriting.
Despite the technical hiccups, I think I managed to drive the point home!