‘Transcreation’ has become a word much bandied around in the translation and localization industry. But to potential clients, what exactly is it, does it work, and where should it be used?
Over the years, I’ve discussed transcreation many times with a wide range of people both inside and outside our business. From people outside, the response is typically a short, “You do what?” accompanied by a worried look. Or else, “Really? Er, excuse me, there’s someone over there I need to talk to,” while they beat a hasty retreat. Inside the business, on the other hand, it appears to be a word heavily loaded with subtext: “Oh dear, this is going to be expensive,” or “These language services types sure do love their jargon.” In public, I have learned to follow the word ‘transcreation’ with “Let me give you an example…”. Things can then proceed normally and indeed, transcreation regularly proves to be an interesting and engaging subject of conversation – honest!
Over recent years though, a very definite market for transcreation has emerged and many language service providers now offer it in some form or another. So the time seems right to try and get a proper answer to some of these questions from inside the translation and localization industry.
The perfect opportunity arose at this year’s GALA Conference in Miami, where transcreation was already on the agenda. Over the course of three days we carried out six formal and several ad-hoc interviews around the conference with people who have been in the business for many years.
For their considerable help in making this video, my thanks go to: Gary Muddyman of Conversis, Don DePalma of Common Sense Advisory, Gabriela Morales of Rosario Traducciones y Servicios, Meritxell Guitart and Miguel Martínez of Hogarth Worldwide, Lillian Alves Mautone of LocHouse, Robert Etches of TextMinded and Richard Estevez of Trusted Translations.
I could give you a summary of the findings, but as we went to the trouble of making a video it seems appropriate to let the results speak for themselves:
And here are the Scrabble videos that Miguel was referring to; the Spanish version is a great example of transcreation in action.
The original US ‘Q’ version
The Spanish ‘Ñ’ version
Maybe there’s a lot more transcreation going on than many might think?
Anyone who’s been around international marketing for a while is well aware that companies like Hogarth and Wordbank are doing this sort of thing. However, the video shows that transcreation is now being delivered by a wide range of vendors across many languages and not just in the obvious area of advertising slogans.
Also, it seems that while the very low cost per word of machine translation is fuelling a mass-market uptake of translation, we are also seeing increasing demand for value-added services at the other end of the spectrum, such as transcreation and search-optimized translation.
My own conclusion from all this is that as the market for translation and localization services continues to mature, companies and brands are better able to truly localize and adapt both their offer and their marketing communications, and in this way to maximize the appeal to their individual target audiences in each locale.
And that can surely only improve online experience and local consumer ‘stickiness’?
Could localization truly be coming of age? Is it finally being perceived more as a critical element of global marketing and less as a process carried out by language professionals?
Well, don’t hold your breath. But the increasing take-up of services like transcreation certainly cuts deeper into the heart of the matter, and that can only be a good thing for vendors, clients and consumers alike.
The 2013 GALA Conference is in Miami Beach in March – what a drag! What a place to hold a conference, what could the committee be thinking?
On top of all the other attractions, we’re giving you the opportunity to get a few things off your chest on the subject of transcreation:
- What does transcreation mean and does anybody care?
- What role, if any, does transcreation play in global marketing?
- Who buys it when, where and why?
Over the course of the conference we will be filming interviews in and around the event. We are looking for candidates with a combination of experience and strong opinions on the subject, either for or against, to come forward now so that we can arrange the interviews. We want a good mix of client-side and vendors, to get a well-rounded view.
If you’re not keen on doing a formal interview, don’t worry, we will also be carrying out some informal, vox pop interviews around the various congregation points to collect a wider and hopefully less reverent set of opinions, experiences and advice from you, the GALA members.
Why not get your voice heard and, what’s more, recorded for posterity at GALA Miami Beach. Contact me now through the comments section below, via LinkedIn or the GALA community and I will arrange an interview and brief you on what to expect.
Don Johnson, Bad Boys, eat your heart out. The GALA posse is about to hit town.
In the dying days of 2012 I came across a post, maybe a post-ironic one at that, which appeared to make fun of and put down the latest in a series of Turkish Airlines TV ads, albeit in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way.
In the commentary, by a certain Barbara Lippert, there was a whiff not only of ‘what do these Turkish Airlines people know about TV advertising’, but also a hint of ‘boys and their toys, how 1980s?’. My words, not Barbara’s.
A link was kindly provided to the Turkish Airlines ad video, which had been posted on YouTube by the airline. And why not?
Take a look and form your own opinion.
As even the most casually involved in global marketing grasps, every culture has its own set of mores which must be taken into consideration. Indeed, none more so than the US itself, where many would gasp at the sight of a nipple (female) on primetime TV, despite the fact that the US remains the world market leader in porn production and distribution.
It’s always going to be incumbent on the advertiser to consider the tastes and standards of the intended audience if there is to be any hope that communications objectives are met. This particular ad ran in the UK over the ‘Christmas break’ (yep, we still call it Christmas) and to most viewers, it can be said to fit the family-centric flavour of broadcasting over this period.
Maybe because the UK has a history of ironic advertising, few viewers will really believe that:
a) this is taking place on a real aeroplane or
b) it is normal to kick a football (soccer ball) or throw a basketball around mid-flight or
c) that the kid would be in first class while these global stars are left in cramped economy (coach, for any American readers).
In others words, surely this was a bit of fun intended to appeal to the whole family at a traditional time of goodwill and to portray Turkish Airlines as a modern, safe, westernized airline.
It’s hard to imagine the marketing folks back at Turkish Airlines HQ in Istanbul not being aware that negative stereotypes might easily be applied to anything with Turkish in the name. Hence they’re trying very hard in their branding activity to avoid or counter this.
While only a low percentage of Americans will have had the opportunity to sample the experience of flying with Turkish Airlines, my own experience of frequently flying the London/Istanbul route has always been positive: modern planes, crew, in-flight service and airport (at the Istanbul end anyway). Diplomacy forbids me to mention the late flights, old fleets and grumpy cabin crew that many a regular, US domestic flyer will be familiar with. The latter complaint may equally be levelled at BA in recent years.
The overall verdict on the video as a piece of TV advertising?
For what it’s worth, I found it well-produced and felt that it should resonate with a wide global audience. It retains the necessary Turkish flavour while avoiding cliches and stereotypes. Without doubt this was an upbeat ad with a feel-good finish.
For my money certainly, it is not as cheesy as the over-produced BA ads or as intentionally salacious and subversive as the Virgin Atlantic ads. I think they know their niche and are sticking to it. There might still be some work to do though to convince a specific US demographic that they are really gender neutral enough. If indeed that is their aim.
Beach basketball on the Bosphorus anyone?
Christmas has very much been globalized or maybe even become a global franchise. With Santa, reindeer and snow now common icons in China India and the Middle East. While the only ‘god’ being worshiped here is commerce, it is slightly weird that this is all being threatened by the Mayan prophecies – or gods?
I mean c’mon Coca-cola, Sony, Apple, Samsung let’s park the end of the world until mid-January, when we are all depressed anyway (those of us in the Northern hemisphere that is).
According to the Sunday Times (London) the whole world is in a frenzy about the end of the World on Friday 21 December 2012 – except the UK. The Russians, the Chinese and of course the Americans are all getting in the act. More than 30,000 tourists are expected at the Chichen Itza temple complex in the Yucatan. Hopefully 99% of the tourists will be there to witness the feathered serpent god Kukukan creep down the 91 steps as the sun rises at the equinox – well his shadow anyway.
It is hard to imagine that if the world is going to end you would pay good money to book a place at the apocalyptic ground zero. Indeed some are doing the opposite and flocking to high ground in Arizona others to Bugarach high in the French Pyrenees. Is this so that they are easily rescued by passing aliens or to keep above the resulting end of the world tsunami?
As I write this #mayans is trending on Twitter - though no one seems to be taking it seriously. I have seen several reports that Russians have been panic buying matches, sugar, paraffin, water, candles and vodka. But that just sounds like the norm in Russia for the build to the long holiday which will start the weekend before New Years Eve and continue through the Orthodox Christmas a week later.
The BBC reports, ”In China, police have arrested almost 1,000 members of a Christian group which has predicted that Friday will usher in three days of darkness. The group, called Almighty God, apparently urged its members to overthrow communism (the Big Red Dragon).”
Oops, probably not the best way to prepare for the end of the world. However, in a step guaranteed to achieve the opposite, it was also reported that, “To calm anxieties, police in Beijing have posted an online notice telling people that the so-called end of the world is a rumour“.
Well, that’s another rumour squashed then, have they checked Weibo recently?
With Australia one of the first countries to see the sun rise on what is supposed to be the end of days, Tourism Australia’s Facebook page was bombarded with posts asking if anyone survived Down Under. If the world was ending even a bunch as sanguine as the Aussie’s are unlikely to post one last message as they disintegrate into oblivion – break open the last few tinnies maybe!
Now all we have to worry about is that Asteroid due to miss us by 17,000 miles in February – I hope NASA got their calculations right 17,000 is pretty close . But then again it takes your mind of the Fiscal Cliff, or the PIGS meltdown, or North Korean ballistic missiles etc.
I leave you with the best comment I have seen so far which encapsulates the British attitude to all this, it is from a guy who reported that his nine year old son said:
“Did you know that the world’s gonna end Dad? That’s why I’ve opened all the doors on my advent calender and eaten all the chocolates!”
Felice Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Buon Natale, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Wordbank.
Well, I am kind of left speechless by this one. You need to watch the German TV ad first, then read my piece – hopefully it’s self-explanatory.
[Unfortunately for those of us with a sense of humour the video has been removed so you can no longer watch. Sadly I have not been able to find a version from another source. However I am sure that the campaign will live on in legend.]
As mentioned in last week’s post, the Applied Language Solutions Court fiasco continues to run. Fired up and angry interpreters across the UK are now finding their voice and fighting back. In a topic centred around justice, it appears that the interpreters’ anger is justified.
However, dispelling in any way the thought that the interpreters might just be a bunch of insignificant whingers, they have come up with a biting and incisive parody based on no less a figure than a certain A. Hitler, as featured in the acclaimed film Downfall.
Hijacking the classic scene where Hitler launches a humiliating tirade against the perceived ineptitude of his Generals and advisers, the parody succeeds in capturing and highlighting the key facts of the ‘case’. The humour is infectious and deadly, and appears to have a huge insight and detailed knowledge of the goings on.
As mentioned in last week’s post the Applied Language Solutions Court fiasco continues to run. Fired up and angry interpreters across the UK are now finding their voice and fighting back. In a topic centred around Justice, it appears that the interpreters’ anger is justified.
However, dispelling in any way the thought that the interpreters might just be a bunch of insignificant whingers, they have come up with a biting and incisive parody based on no less a figure than a certain A. Hitler as featured in the acclaimed film Downfall.
Hijacking the classic scene when Hitler launches a humiliating tirade against the perceived ineptitude of his Generals and advisers, the parody succeeds in capturing and highlighting the key facts of the ‘case’. The humor is infectious and deadly and appears to have a huge insight and detailed
knowledge of the goings on.