The article begins:
The global marketplace is providing businesses with fantastic opportunities but also, inevitably, moving into new markets can cause headaches! One area for particular concern is around the creation of international advertising and marketing campaigns. For the sake of efficiency, it makes sense to create a master campaign that can then be adapted and deployed across local markets. […]
The key to getting this right is to think in terms of ‘transcreation’ rather than translation. This means looking far beyond changing the words of your campaign into different languages. Instead, you need to reinvent, or ‘transcreate’, the campaign’s key messages to take into account the nuances of the language and culture of each country/region you are in. This is essential if you want to ensure your message connects with your target audience—whilst still keeping the integrity of the master campaign.
To do this, the article suggests that companies should:
Use copywriters, not translators. Translators will get the language right word for word, but you need a multilingual copywriter to understand how to get the message across in the right way. [the emphasis is mine]
This last sentence raised my hackles a bit. Good translators would say their job is all about getting the message across in the right way. But maybe Mr. Puttock has never worked with good translators.
Transcreation does require special skills and not all translators will be good at it. But some are experts in the field and possess both copywriting and translation skills. Percy Balemans illustrated this beautifully at her transcreation workshop at the ITI Conference in May 2011. In Percy’s words:
I chose to become a translator because I enjoy being creative with language and juggling with words in order to convey the same message in a different language and against a different cultural background.”
And I wonder how many multilingual copywriters there are — surely the best solution is for client, copywriter and translator to work together?
I’d love to know what you think about this, translators, copywriters and readers.
Note: PopSop’s introduction to the opinion piece states that You are welcome to share your thoughts on this article but I couldn’t find anywhere to leave a comment, hence this post.
By Marian Dougan