What is transcreation (or copy adaptation)?

What is Transcreation

We’ve all heard the war stories of translations gone horribly wrong abroad.

American Airlines’ “Fly in Leather” tagline turned into “fly naked” in Spanish. Oops.

Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” headline turned into “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead” in Taiwan. Not good.

The cure for these mistakes is copy adaptation services. Also known as “transcreation.”

Copy adaptation is the matching of source text as closely as possible during translation without changing the meaning.

Think: taglines, headlines and brand trademarks.

How to keep the advertising team, your brand & your audience happy

You can’t please everyone. But with copy adaptation, you can come darn close. Marketing and advertising slogans, taglines and headlines quite often are created from due diligence, research and consumer insight (not to mention the strengths and weakness of your competition).

Short story: Campaigns and messages have been created for a reason. So it stands to reason that your company will want to maintain that messaging as much as it can–even while expanding into other countries and cultures.

However, the usual localization process can create unintended consequences. (See: Pepsi above.)

This most likely culprits of localization mistakes include the utilization of puns, word play and rhyming. (For example, good luck translating “Mmm, mmm good” into 23 languages with a computer.)

Professional translation teams employ experienced, in-country translation teams with marketing know-how. If your translation team doesn’t offer these specialists, you need one that does.

Multicultural translation teams can understand the “gist” of your communications while also knowing local phrases and terms that are both culturally sensitive and can match your meanings as closely as possible. It’s the best of both worlds.

Copy adaptation is not an apples-to-apples translation. Otherwise,the Clairol “Mist Stick” becomes “manure” in German. (True story.) Professional transcreation involves localization experts who understand English nuances and marketing communications who can find the best cultural fit for the intended audience.

Transcreators: a unique skill set

The very best transcreators are half-artists/half-problem solvers. Quality is paramount, of course, but the preservation of your brand messaging is also very important.

Transcreators should understand your brand’s goals, personality and intended audience, and they should offer you copy adaptation options in return. (Yes, it’s a very unique skill set.)

Honestly, these copy adaptation experts are reputation protectors. (Both for you and your brand.) They provide a unique skill set that combines creativity, marketing know-how and cultural idiosyncrasies of your intended audience.

If you’re in need of copy adaptation–to maintain the brand messaging you’ve worked so hard to create–then contact the Acclaro team. We’ve helped Fortune 500 companies expand into new markets with tremendous success, and we can help you.

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