Transcreation and its Importance in the Digital Market

By: Cyd Cruz


28 Feb 2020

Transcreation and its importance in the digital market

Transcreation refers to the practice of adapting a piece of created content in order to be relevant in another region or, on a larger scale, country. The main factor that is oftentimes taken into account when utilising this practice is culture, with companies asking themselves the question on whether or not this same marketing practice that was proven to be a success in this area will yield the same results anywhere else.


Transcreation and Translation

A common misconception on transcreation is that it’s essentially the same as translation. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While both practices involve creativity and the knowledge of culture, translation involves consistently adapting messages from one language to another without changing its style, imagery, message, intent, and context. Transcreation, on the other hand, involves modifying already-created imagery in order for it to relate to a target market’s culture.


Transcreation in Entertainment Media

One such example of transcreation being put into practice is the United States’ adaptation of the anime Doraemon wherein some aspects and elements of the show were changed in order to suit the American audience. Yen notes were switched with American bills and chopsticks during meal scenes were switched with forks, to name a few.

Another marketing move, perhaps even the most well-known one to date, that involved transcreation is the creation of Spider-Man: India, which retold the story of an Indian Spider-Man, Pavitr Prabhakar, who was gifted the power of the spider by an ancient yogi. While the story stays true to the original Peter Parker, a few changes were made in order to fit Indian sensibilities. These include well-known backdrops like the Taj Mahal, the incorporation of a dhoti to the classic Spider-Man costume, and demons as villains, among others.


Transcreation and its Importance in Marketing

In an era when corporations and businesses are born global, marketers are required to evaluate, observe, and study the cultural circles, views, beliefs, and behaviours of their target audiences. In regards to digital marketing, the transcreation process can apply to brand gimmicks like names, taglines, caricatures, and imagery, to name a few.

But why the need for a recreated marketing campaign? Because usually, a marketing gimmick that has sown success in a certain region may flop in another, thus requiring constant research and knowledge of cultural nuances on the marketer’s part. Translating and adapting a creative message from one culture and language to another might seem like a minuscule task that will make little to no difference, but it will obviously work out in the long run, especially if the transcreated message reaches the hearts and minds of your target audience, which is one of the main purposes of marketing. When it comes to global marketing, there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

At first glance, the practice of transcreation might seem like a simple task, one that can be done in a matter of minutes. For one who is inexperienced, this couldn’t be more untrue. Fair enough, the process initially involves knowing your target market and their culture, then creating content that can easily be relatable to said target market, right?

But how does one create content in a way that carries the same implications and brings to mind the same emotions in the target language in exactly the same way as the original language? Bear in mind that the best-case scenario for content that has been misunderstood can cause confusion, perhaps a small drop in sales. At worst, it may cause mass anger. Mistranslated slogans may cause shoppers to avoid your product in the stores, but showing imagery that is otherwise taboo within the culture of your target market may end up offending them, giving you the opposite of what you wanted.


The Transcreation Process

Although there are no specific instructions on how to transcreate and the methods on how to go about it vary depending on the person doing it, there are essential steps that must be undertaken in order to successfully execute the process.

First and foremost is the importance of knowing your marketing content, the original source, as they call it. The various images, taglines, and any other gimmicks shown in said content will serve as the foundation of your transcreating process. Ask yourself questions like: What are we selling? What emotions did the source material bring out when shown to the public? What are the campaign imageries used in order to invoke said emotions?

Once that’s all handled, think up ways on how to send the same message to your new target audiences using symbols, images, and words that they’re familiar with. Keep in mind that certain symbolisms are only known in some regions and countries, essentially forcing you to find a similar image within that culture that can invoke the desired emotions and reactions.

To give an example, one particular story of how Procter & Gamble mishandled their Pampers diapers sale in Japan has been making their rounds on the internet. Apparently, the imagery of a stork delivering diapers left Japanese audiences confused since urban legends from their country stated that babies came from peaches floating down the river, not dropped off to parents by a bird with a long beak. Whether or not the story is true, a lesson on the importance of cultural differences can still be taken from it.


Transcreation Services in Singapore

If you or your company has plans to market their services overseas, then you have to take into account whether the campaign should be handled by a translation or a transcreation team.

Here at Verz Design, we can and will ensure that the message you intend to send out to your target audience will be positively received. So if you’re unsure of whether translation or transcreation is the way to go, give us a shout!

Looking for an agency that offers high-quality transcreation services? We’ve got your back! Give us a ring 6841 1680 or link up with us via email at [email protected] for a free consultation!

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