Before I attended the ITI conference I’d just finished reading the excellent “Translating Promotional and Advertising Texts” by Ira Torresi.
It was an interesting read and I learnt a lot. But it took me a while to plough through it. I tend to gauge a book’s readability by the number of tube journeys it takes to finish it. This was a 20+ (and I live at the end of the Central line) with a couple of train trips for good measure.
So although the book was very useful I much preferred Percy Balemans’s workshop at the ITI conference. Percy is an experienced Dutch transcreator and she shared her tips on how to succeed in the fascinating world of transcreation.
As the title of this post suggests, my main learning point was that transcreation isn’t translation. In short this is because:
• Rates are different to those for standard translations: the jobs are smaller but take a lot longer. So don’t quote per word or you’ll never make any money.
• They’re difficult to plan as material can be sent through in drips and drabs.
• You need to see the client’s brief to do a good job. Having worked in advertising I’ve got carried away writing my fair share of pen portraits and DILOs(day in the life of). But the transcreator needs these so they can adjust their copy to match the target audience.
• It’s essential to keep up to date with adverts, brands and slogans. That way you won’t repeat words or phrases that have already been used in your market. A good excuse to watch TV and read magazines. I tend to refer to Brand Republic as it offers a good overview of current UK ad campaigns.
• You need to sleep on it! The same can be said for standard translations but according to Percy that extra day can really help.
• You often need to completely rewrite the original source text. Rather than translating the text literally it’s important to translate the message, not the words. Some source texts include puns (tricky to translate) or words that have a negative connotation in the target language (particularly bad examples here). Transcreation certainly calls for creativity.
All in all this was a great introduction to transcreation and a worthy member of my ITI five.