This article explains what transcreation and creative editing are and outlines some of their benefits.
Imagine a good translation. Your text in the target language is linguistically correct, the right terminology has been used, and it reads well as a whole. What more could you want? Well, that “something” that makes your text truly memorable to your international readers! This is where transcreation or creative editing come into play.
They are the “fairy dust” in translation — most people are simply unaware of its existence, but a sprinkling of it may be just what makes the difference, leaving a lasting impression of your brand and portfolio, earning your international customers’ trust and encouraging them to buy (or buy more) from you.
Where to start?
First, find a localisation provider who offers the services of highly skilled and competent linguists. It is important to note that what you need is not just a good translator, but someone with a knack for transcreation or creative editing.
It is also quite helpful if your text comes with a brief. A brief is a document clearly outlining your expectations for the final text. This is particularly important if you are looking for transcreation. The more details you provide, the more certain you can be that the outcome will serve the purpose you were hoping it would. Below are the typical components of a translation brief:
- Description of your target audience — the characteristics of the ideal reader of the text (demographics, education, profession, role, hobby, attitude towards your product or service); also known as the “persona”. Example: Persona for a company selling eBook readers — Anna, aged 25 to 35, single, with a university degree, self-employed (B2B in IT). Hobbies: books and fashion. Attitude towards the product: uses eBook readers, likes to read reviews and suggested reading lists, wants to have a handy record of books read.
- Main message of the article, author’s point of view. Example: The author is an expert outlining the added value of the product in addition to its basic features.
- Purpose of the text — what you want to persuade someone (who?) to do or what information you want to convey (to whom?). Example: To increase the customer’s trust in the company as an expert in its field. To encourage the customer to buy a new product.
- Insight — the implicit motivations and needs of your customer which need to be addressed in the text. Example: The persona (see the description of Anna) does not like to miss out on new book releases. She also has issues with her eyesight, so is looking for eBook readers that offer the best eye protection.
- Important information that must be included, or avoided, in the text. Example: Do not make direct references to competitors, highlight the unique benefits of our product instead.
As the name implies, the brief must be concise. This makes it a convenient, easy-to-use point of reference. Once your brief has been read and digested, creative editing or transcreation can begin.
Creative editing is about making adjustments, or tweaking, a ready translation. Its purpose is to jazz up your translated text so that it becomes more engaging and has a natural flow to it, which, more often than not, means departing from its original wording. This includes, for instance, replacing examples used in the source language with other equivalent examples in the target language (rather than translating them verbatim) that are more relevant to the intended reader. In the case of creative editing, a brief is recommended to indicate the expected or permitted type of modifications to the translated text.
Transcreation involves high levels of freedom and requires skilful mastery in adapting the text from one language to another. This technique is particularly useful for sales and marketing content. The linguist is provided with the source text and a brief, which is a must here, because it specifies what overall message you want your final text to convey. Without a brief, we are dealing purely with a marketing translation. As a result of transcreation, on the other hand, you obtain a text which is not a mirror copy of your source text, except in another language. Transcreated content will send the same general message, but will most likely use different linguistic and stylistic features. It may also have a different dynamic and an alternative distribution of emphasis, as per your brief.
In a classic transcreation job, at least two versions of the target text are prepared by different people. You can then choose the one that sounds more convincing to you. This does not necessarily mean that the preferred text is of better quality, but simply that you and the linguist are on the same wavelength. That linguist will be then given all future jobs from you so that you keep getting the same feel and flair.
Studio Gambit works with professional translators who have also, on many occasions, demonstrated excellent transcreation and creative editing skills. We highly recommend trying out one of these techniques to see for yourself how much better a translation can become at attracting customers and generating actual sales.