What is advertising transcreation and how can you use it effectively for your global business?
What is transcreation and how does it differ from translation? With your standard literal translation, it’s all too easy to make blunders as it doesn’t consider the cultural and societal complexities of a language, something that can wreck even the largest company’s marketing strategy. You could address this problem with cultural localization but sometimes a more flexible approach is needed to adapt the message. This is where advertising transcreation comes in.
Think of transcreation as elevating translation to another level. Transcreation changes and adapts a text so that it is in line with the language, tone, style, and culture of the market it is targeting. So it’s not a literal translation, as it won’t read or say the same thing, but rather it will carry the same meaning or context.
Transcreation is used when there are major culture adaptations required to make the content relevant to a culture or region where it is going to be marketed.
It requires a quality translation as well as copywriting and copy editing to ensure that the translated work is relevant to the marketing strategy for its target market. That is why it’s important to have linguistic testing & localization services for your global marketing strategy.
For example, legal documents might require a literal translation whereas advertising content, such as website localization or eLearning translation is often best suited for transcreation.
While there are many examples of how translation and transcreation can go wrong, what about the ways it’s been done right? If you’re looking for inspiration here are eight exceptional examples of successful transcreations.
“Put a Tiger in Your Tank.”
This is one of Esso’s original slogans and it’s still popular today despite it originally appearing in 1959. It was a massive campaign that was immensely successful. What made waves was the innovative ways this slogan was marketed internationally. For example, Esso used transcreation in a creative way for the Italian market. While they initially wanted to try and stay literal with the translation, which would have had the slogan appearing like this,
“Metti una tigre nel tuo carro armato” (Put a tiger in your tank)
However, this literal translation lost the alliteration from the English slogan so to give it more impact, Esso opted to change the slogan to,
“Metti una tigre nel motore” (Put a tiger in the engine)
This was a clever move from the interpreter translator as the word engine translates as motore and the “or” sound mimics the roar of an engine. It also managed to keep the catchy alliteration that was present in the English slogan too.
While iPod shuffles are no longer relevant to today’s fast-changing technology, they were very popular at the time of their release. The tiny MP3 player carried a simple but effective slogan, “Small Talk”. The slogan emphasised how small the device was but also its effectiveness. While it would be easy to assume that this simple slogan would be a basic one to translate, it created a lot of trouble for Apple as the phrase itself is an idiom in the English language. Idioms are generally specific to one culture or language and carry a figurative meaning, so they’re not easily literally translated, and, in this case, the slogan often lost all meaning when directly translated.
Wanting to ensure the same message reached the world, Apple decided to transcreate their slogan for each individual market. Here are some of the best examples of Apple’s transcreation process,
Each slogan sounds completely different but they all conveyed the iPod shuffle’s capabilities while maintaining the brief and simple tone of the original English slogan.
“When Swiffer’s the one, consider it done.”
The use of rhyming couplets in this slogan made Swiffer’s slogan catchy and memorable while also emphasizing its cleaning power. To maintain the rhyming scheme in this slogan, transcreation was needed for a variety of global markets. Here’s a great example from the Italian transcreation,
“La polvere non dura, perché Swiffer la cattura”
(The dust doesn’t last, because Swiffer catches it)
The rhyming portion was maintained and shifted to the second part of the slogan and it still emphasised the effectiveness of the product.
“Just do it.”
Arguably one of the most memorable and successful marketing slogans of all time is Nike’s “Just do it”. Another simple slogan that, sadly, does not translate very well. While Nike’s slogan is so well recognized now, its English translation will often be included in Nike’s advertising along with additional transcreated slogans that convey the brand’s meaning for that region.
In 2011, Nike used 用运动 in one of its advertisements which roughly translates to “make sport” or “have sport” and it was a much more culturally relevant way of conveying the same brand meaning to the Chinese market.
“Haribo makes children happy, and adults too.”
These delicious German gummy sweets can be found just about anywhere in the world thanks to their successful advertising transcreation. The original German slogan is,
“Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso”
This translates to English as “Haribo makes children happy, and adults too”. While this literal translation worked for the English speaking market it needed to be transcreated for other languages and areas. For example, in Italian its slogan says,
“Haribo è la bontà che si gusta ad ogni età”
(Haribo is the goodness that can be tasted at any age)
This brilliant transcreation created a playful and nostalgic slogan that was easy to say and remember.
Selling an image…
Red Bull is another product that can be found just about anywhere. Yet how did this product become so successful? Red Bull isn’t exactly known for its taste and it doesn’t have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, so what is it about this product that makes it irresistible for consumers?
It’s not the product that sells or even its catchy slogan, it’s the creative image that Red Bull has created for it. Red Bull exudes a larger-than-life image and has associated itself with promoting extreme sports, events, and athletes. The slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings” is meant to instill a sense of self-worth and the belief that you can do anything.
Red Bull is so effective at transcreation that it even altered its branding and product when launching in mainland China. If you buy a Red Bull on the mainland you will find it’s likely not carbonated and that it will be in red and gold packaging, auspicious colours within Chinese culture.
“I’m lovin’ it.”
The top contender for the most memorable advertising jingle would have to be McDonald’s’ “I’m lovin’ it.” I bet you’re singing it right now… However, this masterful slogan wasn’t the easiest to translate when McDonald’s took it globally. The biggest issue is the word ‘love’ as there are many other languages in which it does not translate the same way, isn’t used the same way, or just doesn’t even exist, like in China. To address this in China McDonald’s went with,
“我就喜歡” (I just like it)
This Chinese slogan is the same loving message about McDonald’s food while catering to the cultural nuances of the Chinese market.
“Sponsors of tomorrow”
Intel created this slogan to show their commitment to pushing the boundaries of new technology, however they encountered issues in translating it for the Brazilian market as it didn’t carry the same meaning. Intel transcreated their slogan to,
“Apaixonados pelo futuro” (In love with the future)
While not quite the same as the English version it still highlights Intel’s innovative aims for technology.
Want to transcreate your business as well as these ones have? Into23 has all your international translation solutions to help take your marketing strategy to the next level. Whether it’s localization and translation services, marketing translation services, eLearning translation services or more, Into23 has the translation professionals you need to help convey your brand’s message. Get a free quote today!
Even machine translation software like Google still has languages that defy translation.
In April 2006 Google launched a service that quickly became every internet user’s go-to for quick language translations. Google now boasts that it can translate 108 languages covering 99% of the internet population.
Yet in a world with over 7000 languages why aren’t more being included?
Many languages defy machine translation software, even though they are spoken by millions of people such as Bhojpuri (52 million), Fula or Fulani (65 million), Quechua (8 million), or African languages such as Luganda, Twi, and Ewe. So why is it that languages like Czech or Swedish, who have relatively smaller or similar numbers to these other languages, get translation support while the others are barely recognised?
Machine translation, like Google Translate, rely heavily on algorithms that are learned from human translations that require millions of words of translated text called parallel corpus. For translation machines to be effective they require a staggering number of parallel corpora for each language. An ideal parallel corpus will have content from a variety of contexts such as novels, news reports, and other pieces of writing that make up a language.
For languages like Czech or Swedish, as they are part of the European Union, a large part of their parallel corpus comes from official parliament documents. These countries are also important for big tech companies in terms of eCommerce marketing, language translation services and more, meaning that they have a larger parallel corpus to work with. With other languages, a large basis of their parallel corpus has come from the bible, which resulted in some entertaining doomsday prophecies from Google Translate prior to 2016.
In 2016, Google started using a new technique called neural machine translation which claims to have reduced translation errors by 60%. Neural machine translation is a type of artificial intelligence that can mimic some forms of human thinking. Sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, right? The neural machine translator can associate meaning to certain words and phrases. It can look at a sentence as a whole rather than translating each word. However, the database required to make this neural machine translation effective is still substantial.
Neural machine translation has been effective for select languages but what about the thousands of others?
When West Africa was hit with Ebola or when Haiti was hit with an earthquake in 2010 difficulties occurred when those that were there to help could not communicate with the locals to get them the resources they needed. With little translation support for the languages spoken in these areas, it shed light on the need for diversifying machine language translations.
With COVID-19, health information has been needed in many languages which machine translation has been incapable of helping due to poor translation quality.
Further, for countries that have low literacy rates or no written language, locals may not even be literate in their mother tongue, using voice messages to communicate which increases the need for audio translation.
So, while expanding on neural machine translation is revolutionary in terms of very basic internet communication and translations it lags in terms of international need and diversity, especially in times of crisis. So what about for business?
Google Translate is a convenient tool so it would be a stretch to say never to use it as it usually gets the basic understanding of a text, however, it is far from ideal in getting a quality translation that would be needed for business. Especially if you are aiming to enter the global market, need website localization, eLearning translation services, or are bolstering your eCommerce platform.
Here is why Google translate is not effective enough to be used in business.
One of the appeals of Google Translate is the speed in which it produces translations, however, this comes at a cost as it doesn’t equate with a quality translation. When you use certified translation services you are guaranteed a properly formatted and grammatically correct quality translation. Further, Into23’s translation services offer 24/7 availability with a quick translation turnaround making them nearly as fast as Google.
Google does not have to be accountable for any inaccuracies in its translations as it is a free service. Any user can also manually input their translations and at times malicious and incorrect translations are allowed through. What’s more unnerving is that Google isn’t even accountable to your security or privacy as it collects data on whatever content you place into its text box to translate. When you work with translation professionals, your confidentiality and privacy are ensured.
The translations from Google Translate will not be catered to your specific business needs and you run the risk of having nonsensical or inaccurate translations. In today’s global market it is important to speak to clients and customers in their own language, such as with website localization, and if the first impression of your content is incorrect it sends the message to any prospective customers that you are not the right business for them.
Misinterpretations in formal and legal documents have the potential for serious safety or financial concerns which can lead to legal disputes. In a study performed on the terms and conditions of airlines, it detailed the risks of machine translations for legal documentation and its possible negative outcomes.
No matter what type of business you run if you need to translate in any language, using multilingual translation services is crucial for business success. From transcreation for marketing to eLearning or eCommerce translation services, Into23 offers high-quality translation services in any language. Into23 works on your time and your schedule with 24/7 accessibility and fast turnaround. Get a free translation services quote today by filling in the form below or uploading your files to our quick quote portal.
The eLearning industry is projected to be worth 181 million USD by the end of 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.26% per year. Driven by the widespread adoption of eLearning platforms by educational institutions and employers around the world, as well as the increased popularity of online course providers, eLearning made the jump from supplementary service to primary platform in 2020.
The industry has continued to grow in 2021, as workplaces expand their online skills training platforms and commercial eLearning providers more effectively engage their users with gamified app experiences, data driven personalized services, advanced modules, microlearning (short bursts of platform access) and content optimization, including the use of audio and video.
The expansion of the eLearning market drives service providers to offer their programs in multiple markets to reach new audiences, which requires the use of eLearning translation services and website localization. The pace of development in the industry has resulted in increasingly complex platforms with more content, which makes effective translation and software localization challenging, considering the scale and scope of material to adapt.
Machine translation services are ineffective in this context, considering the nature of the application. eLearning translation not only requires attention to detail, but also an extensive level of quality assessment in order to ensure that course materials effectively engage users. Linguistic QA specialists can identify and evaluate the lexical and grammatical options which make the difference between efficient progress through course modules and ambiguity that can challenge users’ patience.
eLearning platform design in any language carries inherent cultural connotations. Everything from curriculum planning to content and the layout and user interface has a culturally specific context in the original language and culture that the module is developed for. This comprises the source language and content. There are six elements which make all the difference between successfully adapting to different cultures and lessons ending up lost in translation.
Text is the simplest but most important aspect of eLearning translation and software localization. Opting for simple machine translation is unlikely to provide accuracy, and while machine translation with post-editing ensures a level of quality and consistency, it does not provide a framework for cultural context and therefore has limited scope for localization.
Cultural context often accounts for variations within same language. For example, people from Hong Kong use an English transliteration for the word strawberry, (士多啤梨) while in other regions it is translated as 草莓.
While Cantonese is spoken in Malaysia, local lexical variations arise from from Hokkien, Hakka and Malay influences, which contribute loanwords like 撩 (play) which in Hong Kong is written 玩. There are also considerable variations in pronunciation.
For eLearning platforms, the most efficient translation and localization solution when faced with cultural variations within a single language is to identify the most important market and develop the eLearning translation accordingly.
It is important to consider which language to use for localization in Asia: most content localized for the Malaysia market is in English. However, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Mandarin are widely used in Asia.
While there is considerable regional variation in Chinese language usage, the cost effective approach is to develop eLearning translation and localization for the most important market. Articulate Rise is a widely used course authoring tool for eLearning platform developers. Rise 360 is well suited to text-heavy courses, which can be challenging to translate into multiple languages. We can quickly and efficiently process translation and localization for all courses designed with Articulate Rise.
Multimedia localization in particular requires a solid understanding of regional and cultural context in the target market, in order for audio and video content to effectively supplement the text. Articulate Storyline is a streamlined multimedia content solution for eLearning platforms, and we can effectively process and translate all assets from Storyline 360 projects.
Localizing the text provides a basis for the eLearning voice over, which should also be developed for the most important market.
Planning, developing and organizing a workflow for high quality translation of text, video and audio between completely different languages requires expertise and experience with providing localization and translation services.
Visual content in images and video should also be assessed for cultural relevance. While American Football imagery effectively conveys concepts to North American audiences and translates reasonably well in Europe, it may distract Asian learners who are less familiar with the sport and might not intuitively grasp concepts illustrated with quarterbacks and goalposts. Sports like soccer and tennis are more culturally neutral and help make content more easily localized across markets.
Image and text elements should also be maintained separately, in order to avoid difficulties with translating and localizing images with text. Videos should ideally have captions set up as distinct elements in order to streamline translated versions. The design language for video caption and user interfaces should ideally provide a degree of flexibility, because colours have different associations in different regions and cultures.
For example, the colour red indicates passion in Western cultures, while it is associated with prosperity and luck in Asian cultures. In South Asia, the colour the colour orange is associated with the Hindu religion, while in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam. Streamlining colour configuration settings makes for an efficient eLearning localization strategy. Designing elements with flexibility and configurability in mind is an important step for eLearning platforms to take so that they can effectively translate their content for different markets with software localization services and expert translation services. Another efficient approach is to opt for culturally neutral design elements in order to effectively serve a wider eLearning audience.
eLearning translation and eLearning localization go hand in hand. Unlike legal language translation services, culture cannot be separated from language in an educational context. While marketing transcreation is an essential aspect of adapting an advertising strategy which would certainly enhance eLearning platforms, the scale of eLearning projects are generally best served by cost-effective localization and multilingual translation services with specialized eLearning voice over carried out by experienced professional translators who can optimize your platform and efficiently scale the reach of your services while ensuring they are effective for every user.
Into23 provides comprehensive eLearning and localization services with unmatched quality, speed and value in Asia. Our translation system supports Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content, which streamlines the setup of translated and localized courses. We can deliver a complete portfolio of course translations in any number of languages you require, including all audio and video content, in one go. Our clients never have to worry about keeping track of 25 different translations and coordinating launch dates. In Hong Kong’s English to Chinese translation services market, attention to detail and appreciation of cultural context is key to effectively serving markets.
Our experience in the region, global partnership networks and passion for language and culture enable us to develop effective solutions tailored to the scale of your project.