Transcreation might be a tricky concept, so let’s make it easier through the words of Anastasia Kozhukhova. She is an expert translator helping global brands reach and convert Russian audiences. She wrote the below article to share her expertise with you, we hope you enjoy it!

Bilinguals: have you ever tried watching the TV show Friends in your second language? For those of you who have attempted this, you may have noticed that jokes that don’t translate are cut out entirely from the series.

The reason this is done?

Because creating something that is specific to a certain audience takes hard work. The words you use, the humour, and the references will take on a completely new dynamic as they translate across cultures, customs, and linguistic boundaries.

Sometimes, there’s a mismatch between the original content and the one for the target market. In this sense, when it comes to growing your global presence, transcreation is the way forward! In other words, you want to get your ideas across without relinquishing those all-important cultural nuances.

So, What Is Transcreation?

Transcreation (a combination of both ‘creative’ and ‘translation’) is translation with a side of creativity. It’s the process of creating highly specific content which will appeal to your target audience. In this way, your brand is well positioned against local brands so that, when you’re ready to penetrate a new market, you know your product will be well represented.

transcreation and professional translators

How Can Transcreation Help My Business Reach Foreign Audiences?

The process of creative translation is highly specialised, and often involves a great deal of research and tweaking. You want to ensure that your message is just right for your target audience. For the Russian market, for example, because it’s surrounded with confusion and misinformation, this task is crucial for your business success.

1. Research Your Target Market and Address Their Needs

Every transcreation project starts with research. Your translator always first needs to ensure that they understand your brand and your audience. They need to know your style guide and brand book at a very granular level, as well as your target audience and their behaviours.

Why? Because local competitors may already have addressed your target niche! And it is important to know how these interactions have taken place in order to better inform your launch strategy and the messaging around your product.

This heavy focus around understanding your target consumer behaviours is the main reason transcreation is so complex. In fact, it is far more intricate and comprehensive than translation: the focus is on reaching your audience in a way that maximises conversions and ROI for your expansion campaigns.

2. Position Yourself Against Local Competitors

Transcreation also involves a great deal of localised research around brands that are similar to yours. This is to better understand how they are currently positioning themselves in the foreign market. Moreover, you want to observe how they describe the look and feel of their product to a foreign audience.

This information will help your translator craft a compelling narrative for your product. In this way, when you launch your product in the foreign market, you don’t leave any possible consumers unaddressed.

Research will also give you localised insight to inform your adoption strategy, perhaps even inspiring competitor plays or localised awareness campaigns.

3. Make Jokes that Don’t Fall Flat!

Nobody likes a poorly translated joke… Transcreation will help you stay on the good side of your new audience and build a positive image of your brand within the foreign market.

If you’re keen to make a good impression and build long-term rapport in a growing market (and eager customers!), transcreation for the foreign market is certainly something to consider in your upcoming campaigns.

I’d like to hear from you: have you ever felt that a piece of content or branding was a particularly poor fit for your country? How did that affect your perception of the brand?

professional translators and transcreation


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