Every year since the start of Exactitude Translations, transcreation services have seen the biggest annual growth. Admittedly, the first time a client with need for creative translations requested a Norwegian text as part of a transcreation project, I thought to myself that the client must be using a fancy label as a circumspect way of informing me that they would not be satisfied with a too literal translation.
On one hand I was correct; the client indeed had high expectations for a finished Norwegian target text that went beyond translation – and I proudly delivered. But I was too quick to dismiss the word transcreation as nothing else but a fad. I went on a brief journey through the online jungle to seek the answer to the obvious question, “What is Transcreation”?
“What is Transcreation?
A combination of “translation and "creation”.
The word itself, a combination of “translation" and "creation”, is not recognised in leading English dictionaries, however it is a domain specific term within global marketing. Rather interestingly, a transcreation agency trademarked the term in the year 2000, but I’m told that it now is too widely used for the trademark to be upheld.
How do you know when to choose transcreation? Recently, I had the pleasure of advising a Spanish client who runs a seaside hotel and restaurant in Costa Brava. He showed me an already translated version of his website, brochures and restaurant menus, except that in my view, the texts could not have been presented to the Norwegian market.
As I told the general manager, there is no doubt that marketing your brand to Norwegians is well worth it. Within tourism for instance, there are obvious reasons for why big brands within online travel spend large amounts of money and time on effective Norwegian communication. However, the translation must not only be free of typos, it must also be encompass fluidity and flair.
The reason is simple. Norwegians are undoubtedly more likely to, for instance, book a room at your hotel if you present yourself to them by virtue of a native Norwegian text. However, Norwegians are generally speaking quite good at understanding English texts. Consequently, they are more likely to trust a brand whose marketing exists only in English, than to trust and choose a brand with a poor, inaccurate or erroneous Norwegian text.
"Norwegians do not trust a poor
or erroneous Norwegian text."
Another valued client I recently engaged with asked me for marketing translations related to Mother’s day. Since the task demanded an extra level of creativity, I was very excited. However, I quickly realised that the client was too late as far as the Norwegian market was concerned. Mother’s day occurred in the UK market in late March, and will occur in the US market in mid-May. However, at the time of the request, Norwegians had already celebrated Mother’s day a fortnight earlier. Hence, even a good Norwegian translation of the marketing content would have been out of place.
This shows more levels of what transcreation really is. When requesting transcreation services, what you receive is a full-circle service based on not only linguistic, but also cultural and localised insight.
Some transcreation service providers might inform you that transcreation requires more processing time, hence it is more expensive. I’m not fully on-board with this view. In fact, in terms of time, there might not be any difference at all, because one is freer to coin a phrase and not required to spend time dwelling on every single word. However, what you do get when requesting transcreation is a two-for-one deal. You get translation and creativity in one service. This is worth keeping in mind when comparing costs.
"Transcreation offers translation and
creativity in one service"
In reality, the label you put on the service is irrelevant. The important thing to take away is, when you choose to spend resources on adapting all sorts of communication that is more complex than plainly informative texts, choosing a Norwegian translation service that provides an added layer of creativity might be the final edge in ensuring an effective campaign to boost your revenue.