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When translation is not enough: Transcreation as a convention-defying practice. A practitioner's perspective

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Despite common perceptions, transcreation is not glorified translation. Nor is it a synonym for 'creative translation' - a definition based on the questionable assumption that translation is not a creative act per se. While it is true that different types of texts allow for different degrees of freedom when it comes to 'transposing' them from one language to another, transcreation should be regarded as a different practice altogether. The typical translation evaluation grid used by professional reviewers contains several error categories. What happens when we apply this grid to transcreation? As it turns out, those errors can only apply to translation, not to transcreation, where they are not errors at all. Committing such errors, i.e. breaking the rules of grammar or spelling, is actually considered a plus in transcreation. Evidence suggests that transcreation is the only possible way to 'translate' marketing and advertising copy. In this article I draw on my professional experience as a copywriter involved in both origination and transcreation, and I will define transcreation as writing advertising or marketing copy for a specific market, starting from copy written in a source language, as if the target text had originated in the target language and culture. I also argue that creating target-language copy that can truly resonate with the target audience requires a special set of skills (language skills, copywriting skills, cultural sensitivity and local market understanding), which make the transcreation professional a fully-fledged consultant. I conclude on the specific skillset is required from transcreation professionals.
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The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
28
When translation is not enough: Transcreation as a convention-
defying practice. A practitioner’s perspective
Claudia Benetello, Professional Copywriters’ Network | Associazione Italiana
Traduttori e Interpreti (AITI) | Ordine dei Giornalisti
ABSTRACT
Despite common perceptions, transcreation is not glorified translation. Nor is it a synonym
for ‘creative translation a definition based on the questionable assumption that
translation is not a creative act per se. While it is true that different types of texts allow
for different degrees of freedom when it comes to transposing them from one language
to another, transcreation should be regarded as a different practice altogether.
The typical translation evaluation grid used by professional reviewers contains several error
categories. What happens when we apply this grid to transcreation? As it turns out, those
errors can only apply to translation, not to transcreation, where they are not errors at all.
Committing such errors, i.e. breaking the rules of grammar or spelling, is actually
considered a plus in transcreation. Evidence suggests that transcreation is the only possible
way to ‘translate’ marketing and advertising copy. In this article I draw on my professional
experience as a copywriter involved in both origination and transcreation, and I will define
transcreation as writing advertising or marketing copy for a specific market, starting from
copy written in a source language, as if the target text had originated in the target language
and culture. I also argue that creating target-language copy that can truly resonate with
the target audience requires a special set of skills (language skills, copywriting skills,
cultural sensitivity and local market understanding), which make the transcreation
professional a fully-fledged consultant. I conclude on the specific skillset is required from
transcreation professionals.
KEYWORDS
Transcreation, adaptation, copywriting, creativity.
1. Introduction
The term transcreation has been used in academia for almost sixty years
and it has mainly been associated with literary texts. In 1957, Purushottama
Lal, an Indian poet and scholar, used this word to refer to his Sanskrit to
English translation of classical Indian drama, explaining that “the thing to
do is to attempt to preserve not the Sanskrit language but the Hindu
tradition which it enshrines” (Lal 1996: 43). The purpose of transcreation
as intended by Lal was to capture the spirit of the text and recreate it in a
different language to engage the reader, “trying to reflect, somehow, the
cultural source” (Sales Salvador 2005: 196). Only in recent times have
scholars started to include commercial translation in the scope of
transcreation (Gaballo 2012; Katan 2016, among others). The marketing
and advertising industry, however, exclusively applies the notion of
transcreation to marketing and advertising copy, and so do I as a
practitioner. In addition, most of my clients seem to use adaptation as a
synonym for transcreation, which adds to the confusion. Some of them treat
the former as a countable noun (“I really liked your adaptations”) and the
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
29
latter as an uncountable noun defining the practice rather than the end-
product (“Are you be available for transcreation?”). Since adaptation is
primarily used in audiovisual translation to refer to the adjustment of a
translated script for dubbing, I prefer to use the term transcreation within
the field of persuasive texts. It should also be noted that English-speaking
clients tend to use the term copywriting to include both origination (the
creation of marketing and advertising copy from scratch) and transcreation
(the interlinguistic adaptation of marketing and advertising copy).
Advertising and marketing copy serves two of Roman Jakobson’s functions
of language (Jakobson 1960), namely, the conative function and the poetic
function. Consequently, the transcreation of advertising and marketing copy
aims to produce a target text that both persuades the reader and appeals
in its wording. Most definitions of transcreation seem to place great
emphasis on cultural relevance and fitness for purpose (Gaballo 2012; Ray
and Kelly 2010; Humphrey et al. 2011) rather than on the creative element
of writing, which makes transcreation a hybrid practice/service halfway
between translation and copywriting. Yet creativity is not the only element
defining transcreation, and distinguishing translation from transcreation on
these grounds is wrong. Translation is never and has never been a word-
for-word rendition of a text from one language to another: as this article
will argue, it is a creative act indeed (Gaballo 2012). It follows that creative
translation as a synonym for transcreation is not suitable, because it implies
that translation per se is not creative. There is no doubt that different types
of texts allow the translator to unleash different levels of creativity (a
technical manual is very different from a billboard in this respect), but I will
argue that transcreation should be regarded as a different practice
altogether. To prove that translation and transcreation are not one and the
same, I intend to apply a translation evaluation grid to notable transcreation
examples in order to establish whether such error categorisation makes
sense in transcreation. As we shall see, what constitutes an error in
translation can in fact be a recommended way to proceed in transcreation.
2. Translation and transcreation: a comparison
The translation evaluation grid examined is used by one of 2016’s Top 5
Language Service Providers according to Common Sense Advisory’s 12th
Annual Global Industry Report, “The Language Services Market: 2016.”
(DePalma et al. 2016). Similar grids are used by professional reviewers as
well as translators’ associations, such as the Italian Translators and
Interpreters’ Association (AITI).
This grid contains eight error categories: wrong term, syntactic error,
omission, addition, word structure/agreement error, misspelling,
punctuation error, and miscellaneous error, an umbrella label that allegedly
includes all errors that do not fall into the previous categories.
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Figure 1. Translation evaluation grid.
For the purpose of this paper, I will take all but one of the above types of
error (I am leaving out punctuation) and will identify examples of them in
foreign-language adaptations of advertising and marketing copy, with a
view to proving that they are errors only within the realm of translation, not
transcreation. In transcreation, breaking the norm is actually an added
value, not something that should be sanctioned. I have ruled out
punctuation error on purpose, because this category does not seem to play
a role in an analysis of this kind.
All logos and marketing and advertising copy are publicly available on the
Internet and have been reproduced here for educational purposes only. All
product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks
of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any endorsement.
2.1. Wrong term?
First of all, a disclaimer to the reader: I believe the question mark in section
titles 2.1 to 2.6 is in order. I want it to be clear from the outset that the
following “errors” are not errors at all.
Below is the famous tagline for a leading automotive company in the original
German.
Figure 2. Audi tagline in the original German.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
31
“Vorsprung” refers to a competitive edge that Audi has over its competitors
thanks to its “Technik” (engineering/technology). “Vorsprung” here means
“step ahead;” the term is commonly used in sports to mean “head
start/advantage.”
This tagline has been rendered in Italian as follows:
Figure 3. Audi tagline in Italian.
“All’avanguardia della tecnica,” which literally means “At the forefront of
engineering,” sounds natural in Italian, and it conveys the idea of the
original German. The word ‘avanguardia’ is being used figuratively, because
it is first and foremost a military term (“vanguard” in English, “Vorhut” in
German). If we were in a field where terminology is key, translating
“Vorsprung” with “avanguardia” would be marked as an error. This is not
the case, however, because this is advertising copy which requires
transcreation, not translation.
2.2. Syntactic error?
In 1973, the French cosmetics company L’Oréal wanted to enter the US hair
colour market, so it commissioned an English tagline from the US
advertising agency McCann.
Figure 4. L’Oréal tagline in the original English
Originally implemented as “Because I’m worth it”, the tagline was recently
changed to “Because you’re worth it” as the company feared that the
message could be perceived as being too egocentric. The Italian tagline is
a 1:1 rendition of the English original: it literally says “Because you’re worth
it.”
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Figure 5. L’Oréal tagline in Italian.
This figure features the tagline in the second person plural ('voi’), although
a version in the second person singular (“Perché tu vali”) has also been
used. The use of ‘voi’ instead of ‘tu’ may result in a slightly different nuance,
as if the tagline were addressing women as a whole rather than a single
woman reading the ad. However, what is particularly interesting here is the
syntax. Although identical to the English original, it is not the kind of syntax
a translator would normally use: having a causal proposition without a main
clause is regarded as an infringement of grammar rules, which a
professional reviewer would sanction. Within the context of advertising copy
(and of transcreation), i.e. of persuasive texts that need to elicit an emotion
in the target audience, it is perfectly acceptable instead.
2.3 Omission/addition?
In this paragraph I have grouped two different error categories because the
following example contains both. Figure 6 features Audi again this time
its German website (consulted in 2015) which is presumably the master
copy used to create all the different language versions.
Figure 6. Audi web copy in German.
A literal translation into English would read:
Developed from new demands.
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The Audi Q3.
Today here, tomorrow there. The world gets smaller. And your possibilities more
diverse. With a car that keeps up with your demands the new Audi Q3. Powerful
and handy. Compact and spacious. And expressive, efficient and sporty. The new Q3.
Developed from new demands. Let’s go.
The Italian version closely resembles the German as far as the headline is
concerned, whereas the rest of the copy has been rendered more freely.
Figure 7. Audi web copy in Italian.
The Italian literally translates as follows:
Designed on new expectations. Audi Q3.
Today here, tomorrow there: the world gets smaller and smaller. And the
opportunities multiply. It is therefore essential to have at your disposal a car that
follows your rhythm and keeps up with your needs: the new Audi Q3. Powerful and
handy. Compact and spacious. What’s more: expressive, efficient and sporty.
As we can see, the German for “With a car that keeps up with your
demands” has been rendered with “It is therefore essential to have at one’s
disposal a car that follows your rhythm and keeps up with your needs”
quite an addition indeed. Moreover, the German for “The new Q3.
Developed from new demands. Let’s go.” has been left out. Omitting or
adding something that the source text does or does not contain respectively
is considered a translation error; in transcreation, however, it is rather
normal to rearrange (and sometimes recreate, as we shall see in 2.6) the
original copy.
2.4 Agreement error?
Dating back to 1959, this headline for leading oil company Exxon/Esso has
made history.
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Figure 8. Esso print ad in the original English.
In “Put a tiger in your tank”, the alliteration of the “T” and the “R” sounds
recalls the roaring of both the engine and the tiger. This strapline has a
certain rhythm and musicality that are part and parcel of the advertising
message. The idea is that when you choose Esso fuels, you give your car
an extra boost, as if you had a tiger in your tank. The Italian version conveys
the same idea.
Figure 9. Esso print ad in Italian.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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A faithful rendition of “Put a tiger in your tank” would have been “Metti una
tigre nel tuo serbatoio,” but “serbatoio” would have killed all the rhythm
and musicality. Therefore “serbatoio” was replaced with “motore” (engine):
although technically incorrect (fuel is pumped into the tank, not the
engine!), as “motore” helps to retain the alliteration that creates the roar
described above. This, however, is not the most striking element of the
Italian transcreation of the headline. “Tigre” is a feminine noun in Italian,
so it should have been “Metti una tigre nel motore.” Here we have “un tigre”
instead, which though grammatically incorrect improves the rhythm.
The reason for this choice could also lie in the fact that, especially in the
50’s and the ‘60s, cars were a man’s prerogative, so using a feminine noun
in Italian might have posed some difficulties in terms of cultural acceptance.
What is certain, however, is that “un tigre” hugely contributes to the
headline’s memorability. I have placed this example in the “agreement
error” category because such a violation of grammar rules would not be
acceptable in the translation of a documentary on wild animals, for instance.
In advertising, on the other hand, this poetic licence is precisely what is
needed to pack a punch. No wonder that, at least in Italy, many poets work
as copywriters (Coviello 2005: 140).
2.5 Misspelling?
This hilarious case has to do with the negative connotations of a brand
name. Below is the English-language packaging for Vicks VapoRub, a
mentholated topical cream manufactured by American multinational P&G.
Figure 10. Vicks VapoRub packaging in the original English.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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It was only upon learning that the product wouldn’t sell in German-speaking
markets rumour has it that P&G decided to tweak the brand name for
those countries. A change of a consonant, the deletion of the final S,’ and
sales began soaring.
Figure 11. Vicks VapoRub packaging for German-speaking countries.
The original Vicks’ would have been pronounced “ficks,” with “ficken” being
the German equivalent for the English “F” word. Changing Vicks to Wicks
would not have been enough, because it would have sounded like “wichsen”
(literally: “to polish/wax”), which also has negative associations (relating to
masturbation no less!). So, Vicks became Wick for reasons of cultural
appropriateness, not because of a translator’s sloppiness. It is hard to
imagine a translation field where changing Vicks to Wick would not be
regarded as a spelling error.
2.6 Miscellaneous error?
In the miscellaneous error category, I have placed three different examples
with one element in common: the source texts and the target texts do not
say the same thing, although the latter are fit for purpose as per skopos
theory (Reiß and Vermeer 1984). A few fellow practitioners believe that
transcreation is a buzzword simply meaning “good translation” a
translation driven by the purposes the text has to serve, where the text can
be rendered freely as long as such purposes are fulfilled. While translation
itself boils down to saying almost the same thing (Eco 2003), and while the
skopos theory can hardly be questioned, the following cases are classic
examples of transcreation rather than of “good translation.” The
interlinguistic adaptation of marketing and advertising copy is a hybrid
practice that involves both copywriting and translation; its workflows and
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
37
processes are different from the ones taking place in translation, as we shall
see in more detail in paragraph 3.
Below is the tagline for the German confectionary company Haribo.
Figure 12. Haribo tagline in the original German
It literally says “Haribo makes children happy and adults too,” but its rhyme
and rhythm in the original German convey the joy and playfulness the brand
is all about. In addition, the tagline is also meant to be sung as a jingle,
which posed further constraints when it came to adapting it into foreign
languages.
Figure 13. Haribo tagline in Italian, English and French.
These foreign-language versions all convey the original idea while saying
different things. The Italian, for instance, says “Haribo is the delicacy one
savours at any age,” and the French “Haribo, life is beautiful for grown-ups
and children.” These three taglines express the idea behind the original
German, they resonate with the target audience, and they can also be sung.
Yet, in my opinion, calling them a translation of “Haribo macht Kinder froh
und erwachsene ebenso” would be both reductive and misleading.
What transcreation entails is even more evident in the following example,
the 1999 tagline for Swiffer disposable cloths:
“When Swiffer’s the one, consider it done”
Again, this tagline has a rhyme and a rhythm that make it punchy and
memorable. Such an impact had to be recreated in Italian, which says:
“La polvere non dura, perché Swiffer la cattura”
It literally means “Dust doesn’t linger, because Swiffer catches it.” The
source and the target text say two completely different things, and yet the
Italian transcreation is even more effective than the English master. Not
only does it retain a rhyme, but it also mentions the mechanism of action
(Swiffer cloths catch dust) as well as the benefit (Swiffer users can say
goodbye to dust), which the original English did not (Humphrey et al. 2011:
37). Without a creative brief providing information on the intent of the
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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message, its tone of voice and its target audience, such sterling work would
not have been possible. And the brief is precisely what copywriters work
with in order to produce their copy, which is only one of the elements that
copywriting and transcreation have in common.
The third example comes from my own professional experience. In 2014, I
adapted Norton™ AntiVirus software’s taglines (short and long versions)
from English into Italian.
Figure 14. Norton taglines in the original English.
The creative brief mentioned three specific aspects I would like to focus on
here. Firstly, “Boldly go” was a cultural reference: it is part of an
introductory speech at the beginning of every Star Trek episode.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-
year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new
civilisations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.
I had to establish whether such a reference could be retained in Italian.
Secondly, the brand’s tone of voice was aspirational, the taglines being
meant as an exhortation to live without fear, to be the best version of
oneself, to keep moving forward. As a consequence, my Italian
transcreation had to reflect this tone of voice. Thirdly, the English master
featured an “O” containing a tick symbol, which is something I was asked
to replicate in Italian, if possible.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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Figure 15. Tick symbol in the original Norton tagline.
The first issue I tackled was the cultural reference. It turned out that
adapting it was not an option, because the Star Trek opening lines had not
been translated literally in the Italian-dubbed series. In fact, “boldly go” had
been left out altogether:
Spazio, ultima frontiera. Eccovi i viaggi dell’astronave Enterprise durante la sua
missione quinquennale, diretta all’esplorazione di strani, nuovi mondi, alla ricerca di
altre forme di vita e di civiltà, fino ad arrivare dove nessun uomo è mai giunto
prima.
(Space, final frontier. Here are the voyages of the starship Enterprise during its five-
year mission aiming at exploring strange new worlds, in search of life forms and
civilisations, as far as going where no man has ever arrived before).
I then considered whether a literal translation of the taglines was viable. It
was not. Not only would it lose the effectiveness of the English master, but
it would also sound unnatural in Italian. My only choice was to recreate the
tagline, which I did by capturing the spirit of the original using a completely
different image. “Puntare in alto” literally means “aim high/raise the bar,”
which helped convey the idea of living without fear/being the best version
of oneself/keeping moving forward, but “puntare” is also a gambling-related
verb (the equivalent of “lay a stake”). For the long version of the tagline, I
thought that creating a contrast between “laying a stake” and
“gambling/risking” would prove punchy, so I came up with “Punta in alto,
senza rischi” (Aim high, without risks). “Punta in alto” and “Punta in alto,
senza rischi” eventually became Norton™ AntiVirus’ taglines for the Italian
market.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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Figure 16. Norton taglines in Italian (transcreation by the author).
Figure 17. Tick symbol in the Italian-language Norton tagline.
3. Transcreation: a practitioner’s definition
As a copywriter who both creates advertising and marketing copy in Italian
(origination) and adapts such copy from English and German to Italian
(transcreation), I have proposed the following definition of transcreation:
“Writing advertising or marketing copy for a specific market, starting from
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
41
copy written in a source language, as if the target text had originated in the
target language and culture” (Benetello 2016: 259). Transcreation requires
four different skills:
Language skills. The copy is written in a foreign language and it must
be decoded. In this respect the transcreation professional is ¼
translator.
Copywriting skills. The target text must be as punchy as the original and
consistent with a specific advertising strategy. This means that the
transcreation professional is also ¼ copywriter. As a matter of fact, the
transcreation of global advertising campaigns used to be performed by
agency copywriters living in the target-language country. With the rise
of the “smart centralisation” model outlined by Simon Anholt (2000),
the transcreation of global campaigns is mainly assigned to centralised
implementation agencies relying on freelance in-market copywriters-
translators to do the actual job. Such centralisation allows global brands
to have more control over the transcreation outcomes, thus ensuring
their messaging is not diluted when adapted for many different
countries.
Cultural sensitivity. The target text must be appropriate for the target
culture. In this respect, the transcreation professional is also a cultural
anthropologist of sorts someone who knows what is and isn’t
acceptable in their own culture.
Local market understanding. The target text must be appropriate for the
target market. A transcreation professional needs to be aware of the
images and wording used by a brand’s competitors so as to avoid them
and produce copy that sounds as unique as possible. For this reason, a
transcreation professional is also ¼ marketer.
If transcreation professionals are all of the above, they are not language
service providers, but consultants for all intents and purposes. Before the
actual transcreation work even takes place, they may be asked to evaluate
brand names to ascertain whether they have negative associations, or to
carry out research aimed at making sure a certain concept is not currently
used by a brand’s competitors. After the transcreation of a television or
radio commercial has been performed, they may be asked to direct the
voiceover recording session in the recording studio. As a transcreation
professional, I regularly perform these tasks, which I believe are part and
parcel of the transcreation practice.
However, this is not the only difference between translation and
transcreation. In translation, a translator usually translates, delivers their
work, and possibly hears from the editor in case of terminological issues.
Transcreation, on the other hand, is a far more collaborative practice. Based
on the creative brief provided by the client, the transcreation professional
is often asked to produce multiple versions for the target-language copy,
so that the client may choose the one they prefer. If the client is not
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
42
completely satisfied, the transcreation professional can be asked to tweak
the options submitted or to create new options from scratch; this is exactly
what happens in copywriting too. “Back-and-forths” with the client are
normal practice in transcreation, and conference calls can take place before,
during, or after transcreation work is performed to make sure both the client
and the professional are on the same wavelength just as with copywriting
projects. In the case of global campaigns, clients often require a back
translation of the target text into the source language: this has to do with
corporate levels of approvals. The transcreation must first be approved by
the global client (i.e. the headquarters of the multinational company), who
will base their opinion on the back translation, and secondly by the local
client (i.e. the target-country office of the multinational company), who
understands the target text. The transcreation professional is often asked
to provide a rationale to explain in detail what approach has been taken to
render the source text and to what extent the target text strays from the
source texts, again for the benefit of the global client.
4. Conclusions
This paper examines the differences between translation and transcreation
by applying a translation evaluation grid to authentic examples of
interlinguistic adaptation of advertising and marketing copy. The results of
the analysis indicate that transcreation is a different service, which requires
a specific skillset that makes the transcreation professional more of a
consultant than a language service provider. It has been suggested that
while transcreation is different from translation, it is not an alternative
service. When it comes to marketing and advertising texts, transcreation is
the only way to produce copy that can truly resonate with the target
audience. Although there are cases where a faithful rendition can be
effective (e.g. L’Oréal’s “Because you’re worth it”), the copy must often be
re-created (e.g. Norton™’s “Go boldly, not blindly”). Ira Torresi
distinguishes between translation, adaptation/localisation and trans-
creation, and argues the latter only takes place when the whole text is
rebuilt (2010: 4). I as a practitioner, on the other hand, firmly believe that
transcreation expertise lies precisely in the ability to determine whether a
close rendition of the source text will have an impact on the target audience,
or whether a more creative approach should be taken. 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.
The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
43
Bibliography
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The Journal of Specialised Translation Issue 29 January 2018
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Biography
Claudia Benetello is an Italian communications professional who has been
working in copywriting-transcreation, translation-interpreting and
journalism since 2005. A member of the Professional Copywriters’ Network,
the Italian Translators and Interpreters’ Association (AITI) and the Italian
Journalists’ Association (Ordine dei Giornalisti), she gained professional
experience in a consulting firm and a live events company before starting
her own business, Dropinka (www.dropinka.com). She has been a speaker
on transcreation since 2012.
Email: claudia@dropinka.com
... Previous research defines transcreation as the creative inter-/intra-lingual reinterpretation of texts in order to suit the characteristics of an intended audience (Benetello, 2018;Gaballo, 2012;Pedersen, 2017). Evidence shows that it can be present in a wide range of fields: literature, marketing, advertising, video-games, websites, information materials, mobile applications, etc. (Katan, 2016;Morón & Calvo, 2018;O'Hagan & Mangiron, 2013;Ruvalcaba et al., 2019). ...
... Conversely, some other authors argue that transcreation is a different practice from translation, but do not base this difference on the 'creativity' that may be implied in the word 'transcreation'. On the contrary, this difference is attributed to the emphasis of cultural relevance and fitness for purpose (Gaballo, 2012;Ray & Kelly, 2010), which places transcreation halfway between translation and copywriting (Benetello, 2018). In this context, concepts such as 'translation error' or 'text inadequacies' would not apply to transcreation contexts. ...
... In the latter, transcreation plays the role of transferring the message from a marketing or advertising campaign to make it more attractive to a different audience and marketplace while respecting the identity of the brand (Pedersen, 2014;TAUS, 2019). Thus, transcreation has found its way into the field of persuasive texts (Benetello, 2018;Fernández Rodríguez, 2019). This variety of fields of application supports its transdisciplinary character as an area of specialization. ...
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‘Transcreation’ has appeared in the last decade as a translation-related activity consisting in the creative reinterpretation of texts to suit the characteristics of an intended audience. However, the scientific literature surrounding transcreation does not offer a homogenous definition of the term. Given these disparities, the main objective of this work is to create a reliable source of reviewed scientific information about the topic. A sample of scientific works regarding the topic ‘transcreation’ has been compiled from databases and repositories of recognized reliability and has been analyzed with a qualitative data analysis software (NVivo). Findings show that research on transcreation expanded significantly between 2015 and 2019 and that most studies are of a qualitative nature. A critical analysis of the content connects transcreation with other fields of research: translation, communication, advertising and poetry. Following a concept-centric approach, this Systematic Literature Review has permitted the formulation of definitions for transcreation and the landscape of academic research on the topic to be outlined.
... Transcreation has become increasingly common in the creative industries over the last decade (Pedersen, 2017). Some studies have looked into the characteristics and skills that make a good transcreator, possibly as a result of its growing popularity in the professional translation industry (Benetello, 2018;Gaballo, 2012;Rike, 2013). Nevertheless, its inclusion in Translation & Interpreting higher studies is not yet extended (Díaz-Millón & Olvera-Lobo, 2019). ...
... Among these, one proposal focuses on the characteristics of the texts to be transcreated, defining three key competencies for transcreators: (1) ability to adapt to the creation of multimodal texts; (2) cultural sensitivity and competence; and (3) linguistic competence with domain of both languages (Rike, 2013). Meanwhile, another study pays more attention to the ability to produce texts with commercial projection and propose four competencies for transcreation: (1) linguistic competence; (2) copywriting competence; (3) cultural sensitivity; and (4) understanding of the local market (Benetello, 2018). ...
Book
New professional profiles have recently emerged in the translation sector. Within these, transcreation is worth mentioning. Nevertheless, transcreation training is not yet extended within higher education in translation and interpreting. The main objective of this chapter is to present a task-based learning experience introduced in a French-Spanish translation course at the University of Granada (Spain), aimed at promoting transcreation and transcreation skills. This is divided into (1) to describe the task-based proposal, the materials and methods used, and its learning objectives and (2) to identify the strategies the students put into play. Students' answers were processed with the qualitative analysis software NVivo. Results show that students activated creative strategies to adapt linguistically and culturally the materials proposed and displayed cross-curricular competences such as creativity or decision-making. Including transcreation in translation and interpreting training seems a promising line of research. Nevertheless, further progress is needed in the evaluation of transcreation.
... Transcreation has become increasingly common in the creative industries over the last decade (Pedersen, 2017). Some studies have looked into the characteristics and skills that make a good transcreator, possibly as a result of its growing popularity in the professional translation industry (Benetello, 2018;Gaballo, 2012;Rike, 2013). Nevertheless, its inclusion in Translation & Interpreting higher studies is not yet extended (Díaz-Millón & Olvera-Lobo, 2019). ...
... Among these, one proposal focuses on the characteristics of the texts to be transcreated, defining three key competencies for transcreators: (1) ability to adapt to the creation of multimodal texts; (2) cultural sensitivity and competence; and (3) linguistic competence with domain of both languages (Rike, 2013). Meanwhile, another study pays more attention to the ability to produce texts with commercial projection and propose four competencies for transcreation: (1) linguistic competence; (2) copywriting competence; (3) cultural sensitivity; and (4) understanding of the local market (Benetello, 2018). ...
Chapter
New professional profiles have recently emerged in the translation sector. Within these, transcreation is worth mentioning. Nevertheless, transcreation training is not yet extended within higher education in translation and interpreting. The main objective of this chapter is to present a task-based learning experience introduced in a French-Spanish translation course at the University of Granada (Spain), aimed at promoting transcreation and transcreation skills. This is divided into (1) to describe the task-based proposal, the materials and methods used, and its learning objectives and (2) to identify the strategies the students put into play. Students' answers were processed with the qualitative analysis software NVivo. Results show that students activated creative strategies to adapt linguistically and culturally the materials proposed and displayed cross-curricular competences such as creativity or decision-making. Including transcreation in translation and interpreting training seems a promising line of research. Nevertheless, further progress is needed in the evaluation of transcreation.
... Los procesos transcreadores implican que tanto las palabras como el significado de los textos originales puedan ser totalmente modificados. Dada su naturaleza, estos procesos exigen el desarrollo no solo de competencias lingüísticas sino también de competencias relativas a la redacción de textos publicitarios−como la creatividad− y sensibilidad cultural (Benetello, 2018). ...
Article
Resumen La irrupción constante de nuevos perfiles profesionales supone que los contenidos curriculares impartidos en las instituciones de Educación Superior se adapten a sus demandas. Resulta fundamental diseñar actividades formativas que fomenten las competencias transversales necesarias para el desempeño profesional. El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar una experiencia piloto cuyo hilo conductor es la realización de un taller teórico-práctico sobre transcreación, diseñado para fomentar las competencias transversales y de analizar las expectativas y percepciones del estudiantado del Grado de Traducción e Interpretación en relación con la formación en transcreación. Abstract Professional profiles are constantly emerging, which means that Higher Education institutions should adapt their course contents to their demands. It is essential to design training activities focused on fostering the generic competences required for the professional performance. The aim of this work is to analyse a pilot experience based on a theoretical-practical workshop about transcreation, with the aim of fostering generic competences and analyse undergraduate Translation and Interpreting students' expectations and thoughts regarding transcreation training.
... In the sphere of creativity we find ourselves in, perhaps it might be more interesting to evaluate the processes and strategies employed during the transcreation process, and not just the transcreated product itself. As Benetello (2018) rightly points out, the categorisations of errors and evaluation criteria applied to translation to date cannot (nor must they) be applied to transcreation because in this discipline breaking the rules is an added value, and not something that should be penalised. Previous years have seen the publication of numerous articles and studies dedicated to evaluating web localisation quality including, for example, the work of Jiménez-Crespo (2011a), in which the author develops a typology of errors for localised websites, specifying translation, localisation and other language-related errors. ...
Article
A new trend has arisen in the sphere of the globalised market known as transcreation, the intra or intralinguistic reinterpretation of a text for its adaptation to the target public (Gaballo, 2012). In the case of interlinguistic reinterpretation, transcreation gives rise to a type of translation in which both the words and meaning of original texts can be greatly modified with the aim of producing the same effect in the target recipients as in the original audience (taking into account that cultural, and not just linguistic, differences exist between both publics). Given its nature, the spheres where transcreation has reached a greater development are those related to marketing, communication and publicity, due to the need on the part of companies to adapt advertising campaigns or marketing actions to other markets. The need to favour the communication and dissemination of corporate information, and interaction with potential consumers, makes it essential for companies to achieve an Internet presence that is solid, professional and adapted to target markets. This aspect becomes even more relevant in the case of small and medium enterprises, for whom using the Internet offers a multitude of opportunities at reduced cost. The Web presence of transcreated corporate sites has been analysed from a sample of SMEs dedicated to healthcare activities. A contrastive study has been carried out wherein we have compared original websites with translated ones in order to determine how often and in which areas transcreations are implemented or, in contrast, whether the mere localisation or translation of texts is the most habitually employed procedure.
... Transcreation is a convention-defying practice because, in this field, breaking accepted norms provides added value, rather than something that should be sanctioned. While translation quality can be evaluated using traditional error categories such as omission, addition, wrong term etc., transcreation quality cannot be assessed based on objective criteria (Benetello 2018). CUBBITT may have made "significantly fewer errors in addition of meaning, omission of meaning, shift of meaning, other adequacy errors, grammar and spelling" (Popel et al. 2020: 5) compared to human translation, but it takes a talented human to think outside the box and produce a target copy that truly resonates with the intended audience, as well as pick the right voice talent for a TVC and direct them in the recording studio. ...
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With machine translation and machine interpreting now providing unprecedented quality, translators and interpreters need to up their game to stay in business (Tomarenko 2019). We know that translators and interpreters do not just replace words – they use words to convey meanings from a source language to a target language. Only when they fully grasp the meanings, nuances and implications behind the words can they phrase the original idea in the way that best resonates with the target audience. And this only works when translators and interpreters truly are specialised by domain (Durban 2010). Yet added value can also be created through a more radical form of specialisation, which I call hybridisation. When translators and interpreters also possess skills that belong ‘on the other side of the fence’ and are willing to take risks (Katan 2016, Pym 2015), they step out of their traditional roles and perform tasks that are not limited to the rendition of a written or spoken text from a language to another. In fact, hybrid professionals provide a consulting service rather than a language service in the strict sense. Drawing on concrete examples from my own professional experience, I will show how two highly specialised services, namely the transcreation of TV advertisements and media interpreting for the music industry, can benefit enormously from professionals wearing more than one hat. E.g., a ‘translator plus’ (translator + copywriter) may also direct the voiceover recording session for a TV commercial, while an ‘interpreter plus’ (interpreter + journalist) may in practice become an additional and highly valued member of an artist’s PR team.
... Transcreation implies a creative adaptation that gives priority to the effect and impact caused in the intended audience (Pedersen, 2014). In this sense, it has strong connections with other creative writing services, such as copywriting (Benetello, 2018;Sattler-Hovdar, 2019). This is not the only view on transcreation. ...
Article
Technology is quickly disrupting the language services industry. These abrupt changes may worsen the employability of translation students, who require new skills to adapt to this changing market. Transcreation, a type of creative translation that mostly takes place in the marketing and advertising areas, can be an empowering area for students in terms of professional development and employability. To familiarize undergraduate translation students with transcreation practices, we have developed the “Girl Up Project”: a situated training initiative oriented to consolidate theoretical concepts on the topic, develop their organizational and creative skills, improve their teamwork abilities and establish a clear connection between the training initiative and the industry.The outcomes of the project seem to confirm that this type of initiative is useful to improve the knowledge of students on transcreation and transcreation project management skills. Keywords: transcreation, translation training, situated learning, employability, simulated projects
... Transcreation implies a creative adaptation that gives priority to the effect and impact caused in the intended audience (Pedersen, 2014). In this sense, it has strong connections with other creative writing services, such as copywriting (Benetello, 2018;Sattler-Hovdar, 2019). This is not the only view on transcreation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Technology is quickly disrupting the language services industry. These abrupt changes may worsen the employability of translation students, who require new skills to adapt to this changing market. Transcreation, a type of creative translation that mostly takes place in the marketing and advertising areas, can be an empowering area for students in terms of professional development and employability. To familiarize undergraduate translation students with transcreation practices, we have developed the “Girl Up Project”: a situated training initiative oriented to consolidate theoretical concepts on the topic, develop their organizational and creative skills, improve their teamwork abilities and establish a clear connection between the training initiative and the industry. The outcomes of the project seem to confirm that this type of initiative is useful to improve the knowledge of students on transcreation and transcreation project management skills.
Article
Transcreation is a practice with a status that has to date not been consolidated in the field of Translation Studies. While some authors consider that the term brings little value to the discipline (Bernal Merino 2006 ; Gambier and Munday 2014), others define transcreation as a service involving the creative adaptation of marketing and advertising content (Pedersen 2014 ; TAUS 2019) or as a strategy adopted in creative areas like AVT (Malenova 2017 ; Chaume 2018), localization (Mangirón and O’Hagan 2006 ; Crosignani and Ravetto 2011) and literary translation (Lal 1996 ; De Campos 2013). The above definitions reflect the perspectives of the language services industry and academia. However, the points of view of individual language professionals have not usually been considered when conceptualizing transcreation. The purpose of this paper is to address these perceptions by adopting a social qualitative approach by means of an instrument called “The DTP Survey.” The results of this survey seem to point to a dual definition of transcreation as both a service and a strategy, with both approaches being compatible and not mutually exclusive as they have been in previous characterizations of the practice.
Chapter
The phenomenon of migration makes our societies more plural and diverse. However, it can also be a potential source of inequalities, namely in the field of health communication. Cultural and language barriers, amongst others, can lead to difficulties in access to health information, resulting in disparities between migrant and native populations. In this context, it is legitimate to question whether translational activities can play a key role in the inclusion of migrant people. The aim of this work is to retrieve and analyze the existing literature on this topic so as to discuss the role of translational activities, namely transcreation, in the adaptation of healthcare materials as well as to analyze the adaptational processes that can be implemented in translational activities for the inclusion of migrant people.
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This paper focusses on the real problems involved in promoting the translator's role and status to that of intercultural mediator. Ever since the cultural turn in the 1980s, academics have been equating translation with intercultural mediation (IM) and translators as mediators. The paper first looks at how mediation has been understood in translation, and then investigates a number of issues regarding intervention, both at a theoretical and at a practical level. In theory, as a result of the cultural turn, there should be a more context-based understanding of communication, and hence a more intervenient role for the translator. At a practical level, however, normative roles follow a conduit theory of translation based on language transfer. While academia and the profession wrangle over IM, a number of other options are emerging to cater for the ever-increasing real need for translation and IM. This competition is potentially marginalizing translators and interpreters. It will be suggested that ‘transcreation’ may be a way forward, though optimism is tempered with the profession's own beliefs regarding intervention and towards change.
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Transcreation has recently become a buzzword in Translation Studies. Definitions abound, some of them placing it within a functionalist perspective (e.g. Baker 2011), some interpreting it as a heuristic method to be used in the translation of poetry (e.g. Snell-Hornby 1994), some others relating it to the translation of computer games (O’Hara & Mangiron 2006). Nowadays often used in advertising and the media, transcreation is a portmanteau word made by combining together translation and creation, in order to emphasize the considerable amount of creativity required in the process. Yet, since a varying degree of creativity is implicit in the translation of any type of text, this study argues that creativity is not the discriminating factor in order to recognize the difference between translation and transcreation; the aim, rather, is to restore the original conception of the term, based on the word ‘creation’, i.e. the generation of new words or meanings. From this perspective, no single domain (e.g. poetry, computer games or advertising) can be said to have priority in the use of transcreation. In particular, I argue that even a domain which is thought to impose the heaviest semiotic constraints on the translator, i.e. legal translation, is developing in ways that generate ‘semantic voids’ to be filled; an example is the lack of lexicalization of new concepts.
Article
What is transcreation? Is it just a buzzword agencies and linguists alike are using to impress prospective clients in the hope of winning them or does it really differ from translation? Most definitions of this term seem to place great emphasis on cultural relevance and fitness for purpose. While it is true that transcreation helps to fill in cultural gaps and that the target text should re-enact the function of the source text in a way that truly resonates with the target audience, the creative element of writing, which is at the root of transcreation, seems to be overlooked in current literature. In my professional experience as a copywriter involved in both the creation ex nihilo of advertising and marketing copy (origination) and the adaptation of such copy from a foreign language – namely English and German – to my mother tongue (transcreation), the latter often results in the creation of a new original, rather than in the mere adaptation of figures of speech or cultural references. A case in point is Norton™ AntiVirus software’s taglines “Boldly Go” and “Go Boldly, Not Blindly”, both of which I adapted into Italian in 2014. **My article is included in EXPLORING CREATIVITY IN TRANSLATION ACROSS CULTURES / CRÉATIVITÉ ET TRADUCTION À TRAVERS LES CULTURES, which is available here: http://www.aracneeditrice.it/index.php/pubblicazione.html?item=9788825509601 **
Translational passages: Indian fiction in English as transcreation
  • Salvador Sales
 Sales Salvador, Dora (2005). "Translational passages: Indian fiction in English as transcreation?" Albert Branchadell and Lovell Margaret West (eds). Less Translated Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 189-205.