Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Transcreation = Translators + Teamwork


On the evening of 24th March, Creative Culture held an inaugural Transcreation Gathering at the Durrell Arms in Fulham. The turnout was excellent. The evening was very friendly, interactive and collaborative. The benefits of teamworking for transcreation were very apparent by the end of the evening.

Founder Mel introduced the evening. Roz and Julia then opened a debate about transcreation. They used slides, a flip chart and even a Venn diagram to help shape and capture our thoughts. What is transcreation? What comes to mind? Overlaps? When would a client choose transcreation over translation?

All translators present were invited to share their experiences of creative projects - within the confines of client confidentiality of course. Examples on the night came from French and Russian. When translating between French and English, it may be necessary to shorten sentences and use a less florid style. Limited headline space can be particularly tricky in Russian adverts. Sometimes deleting text is unavoidable. Pre-set client visuals impose considerable restrictions. Jokes can be especially tricky and sometimes have to be dropped altogether.

Transcreation is not easy to define. Born of globalisation, the term has come into use relatively recently. It is most definitely not a literal translation. Transcreation attempts to capture the style, tone of voice, phrasing of the original text. Visual elements have to be taken into account too. Balancing the client brief against the possibilities within another language and culture can be challenging.

After the break, we were split into three teams. Each team comprised a mixture of different nationalities. One of the Creative Culture team sat at each table for guidance. We were given a visual of a VW car key. We had both a verbal and detailled written brief. Each team had to create 3-4 headlines for an advertisement. I found myself “volunteered” as team leader of the Blue Team. Creative Culture is a demanding client: only 15 minutes for our creativity! 

Were our creative juices restricted as all the team had to work in English? Not at all. Many ideas had their roots in other languages. Indeed, the Blue Team’s best headline was very much a collaborative effort. It combined several suggestions from different team members.

At the end, each leader presented their team’s most creative suggestions. The difficulties in meeting all elements of the brief in a single headline were apparent. Which headlines held the most masculine appeal for the male target audience? Which words did all teams use? Which headlines were totally original? The comparisons were fascinating.

We ended the evening by voting for the best headline. We were each invited to stick a little pink heart alongside our personal favourite. Voting for your own creations was banned. On leaving, there was a nice little row of hearts against the Blue Team’s best effort. 

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