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Transcreation: The Next Step Beyond Traditional Translation
You are probably amiliar with the successul “Got Milk?” advertising campaign. Introduced in 1993, thepopular slogan has been a amiliar presence ever since. Yet ew likely know about the blunder made byone unsuspecting U.S. healthcare department when they tried launching the campaign within the U.S.Hispanic market. By translating the phrase “Got Milk?” into the Spanish “¿Tienes Leche?” they soonlearned that they were actually asking consumers “Are you lactating?”In addition to being embarrassing, communication gaes o this kind can have a real impact on yourreputation. In the healthcare industry, they can also be potentially dangerous. So you must be exactingwhen producing translated materials or your multilingual audiences. Anything less can be costly.The rst question to ask is whether you need to simply translate the materials, or i transcreation ismore appropriate. While everyone is surely amiliar with how translation works, transcreation might bea new term or some. Here’s a quick primer:
What Is Transcreation?
Transcreation is the process o taking content that has already been translated and adapting it to beculturally relevant or your audience. This entails recognizing not only the audience’s country o origin,but their region as well. For example, Western Armenian diers rom Eastern Armenian due to theproximity and infuence o Arabic- and Turkish-speaking communities. Or take the Hispanic populationin the U.S. Those living in the west are likely to be o Mexican or South American descent, whereasthose in the east typically have more Cuban and Puerto Rican infuences.By adapting the message to the specic culture to which you are communicating, transcreation allowsyou to reach the audience at an emotional and intellectual level, making the communication both moremeaningul and more eective.
Transcreation in Practice
To ensure that the content being worked with achieves a linguistic and cultural appropriateness, tran-screation usually means translators are granted greater creative license with the copy than is commonwith translation. They are encouraged to go beyond the words to ensure that the copy not only capturesthe intended message but also refects a deep understanding o the culture o the audience. Here’s anexample:
Original English Sentence:
Our organization is here to help today’s seniors live healthully and with independence.
Translated Spanish Sentence
Nuestra organización está presente para ayudar a los adultos mayores que están en nuestras vidaspara que puedan vivir la vida con la salud y con independencia elicidad.
Transcreated Spanish Sentence
:Nuestra organización está presente para ayudar a los adultos mayores que están en nuestras vidaspara que puedan vivir la vida con la salud y elicidad.
English Translation of Transcreated Spanish Sentence:
Our organization is here to help the seniors in our amilies live healthully and happily.As you can see, the linguist took greater creative license to adapt the copy to connect with the audienceon a cultural level. Sometimes this might be as simple as using regional vocabulary, taking a moreormal/inormal tone, or stressing some cultural touchstone.