One of the most important things in international advertising and marketing is how you address the target audience.
It’s not enough to merely translate content from one language into another. You have to go beyond the words and convey tone, intent, emotion and the message. The idea is to keep the objective of the text and the personality of the brand, while adapting to how you communicate with the culture of the target text.
If you do that, you’ll ensure that the new audience will experience the same impact as the original audience.
Do you know what is the translation process that transforms not only the language but also the form of the message? It’s called transcreation. And in today’s post, we’d like to provide you with a brief explanation about it. Plus we’ll show you some examples of brands that will surely ring a bell.
Transcreation is a process that combines translation and creativity, thereby adapting a message to the culture and local context of the receiving audience and to how the people there communicate.
To do good transcreation work, not only should a translator have linguistic and cultural knowledge, they should ideally also have knowledge of marketing. In the end, the translator’s role is similar to that of a copywriter in the target language.
Slogans and logos are among the marketing texts for which transcreation is needed the most. This is because these texts typically represent the first contact with the users of a brand. It is essential that an audience perceives that a company is approachable and familiar.
Let’s look at transcreation from a more practical perspective. We’ve selected a few examples in which transcreation was applied to the logos of some brands that you’ll certainly recognise. Keep reading to discover them!
AXE / LYNX
AXE is a French brand of deodorant. The product is marketed under the name “LYNX” in some Anglo-Saxon countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
The brand decided to change its name because the word “axe” could sound aggressive or confusing to the English-speaking audience.
DANONE / DANNON
The Spanish brand DANONE changed its name when it decided to enter the US market, also for linguistic reasons. But in this case the change was related more to pronunciation than to meaning: for the English-speaking public, “DANNON” is easier to pronounce and more familiar-sounding in their native tongue.
Mr. Clean / Don Limpio / Mr. Propre / Mastro Lindo / Maestro limpio
Despite the fact that Mr. Clean was initially marketed with the same logo throughout Europe, over time distributors began to take advantage of the price differences between countries. To avoid problems, the company decided to choose different names for the product in each country. The names are all similar, but they are each adapted to the specific target market.
So in Spain there’s Don Limpio, in Italy Mastro Lindo, in Mexico Maestro Limpio and in France, Mr. Propre.
Coca-Cola / 可口可乐
And of course, there’s Coca-Cola, which also did a good transcreation job with its logo for China. They chose 可口可乐 [kěkǒukělè], which is pronounced similarly to the original name but at the same time means “delicious happiness”.
Nike / 耐克
The name of the famous Nike sportswear brand in Chinese is 耐克 [nàikè], which not only maintains the brand’s phonetic similarity to the original but also means “to endure and overcome”.
Can you think of any other examples of logo transcreation? Leave us a comment on social media and share it with us!