Transcreation is the process of creating new marketing content in a foreign language. Transcreated content is based on the source/original language content, but customized to fit the culture, slang and idioms of your target audience. Unlike technical copy, it is not enough to simply translate the text — the content itself must be re-written so that it resonates similarly with local consumers and ‘speaks’ their language.
Fluent Translations’ transcreation services helps you skillfully adapt taglines, slogans, and entire websites for a broad range of overseas markets. Our transcreation services help you prepare effective marketing materials that will resonate with your target audience. Whether you’re a corporation looking to adapt and target your branding, marketing, and advertising for new markets, or an agency working toward these goals on your client’s behalf, Fluent Translations’ multicultural marketing solutions help ensure maximum impact.
Through the use of expert copywriting and marketing linguists, and the implementation of technology tools to help streamline processes, Fluent Translations helps create efficiencies across the entire campaign lifecycle. Significant time and energy goes into producing your source language copy and creative ― make sure you don’t short change your global efforts by settling for straight translation.
Taglines, headlines, and other creative marketing copy are often based on culturally dependent elements including idioms, puns, word play, insinuation, subtext, or rhymes in the source language. If translated directly into another language, these elements may not make sense, or worse, can be potentially offensive.
Coors ‘Suffer From Diarrhea’
For a large part of its history, Coors beer could only be found in the western US and was affectionately known as ‘Colorado Kool-Aid’. The company’s ‘Turn It Loose!’ slogan was successful in America but had a surprising impact in Spanish-speaking Mexico, where the literal translation stated that anyone who drank Coors would ‘Suffer From Diarrhea!’
Pepsi ‘Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave’
When Pepsi entered the Chinese market, it launched with its popular American slogan ‘Pepsi Brings You Back to Life’. Unfortunately, the company failed to realize that the phrase had been translated as ‘Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave’. Not an ideal blunder in a country where reverence for ancestors is an important part of the culture.
Ford ‘Tiny Male Genitals’
When Ford Motor Company introduced their popular Pinto model to Brazil, they were surprised to find that sales suffered. After some investigation, the company learned that a ‘Pinto’ was slang in Brazil for ‘tiny male genitals’. The company quickly removed the nameplates from the cars and changed them to read ‘Corcel’, which means horse.
While most businesses try to make a good impression when expanding into a foreign country, KFC got off on the wrong foot when it first opened its doors in Beijing, China in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s infamous “Finger-lickin’ good” slogan had wrongly been translated to this not-so-appetizing phrase: “Eat your fingers off.”
Swedish vacuum maker Electrolux got a quick lesson in English slang when it introduced its products in the states. Thinking it was highlighting its vacuum’s high power, the Scandinavian company’s ad campaign centered on the tagline “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” While the slogan might have been grammatically correct, it never really took off with U.S. shoppers.
When advertising copy or other marketing language is involved, the priority in translating shifts to maintaining the concepts, meaning, and significance of the source message, regardless of what text changes are required. Effective marketing translation requires trained linguists experienced in translating marketing, and familiar with the cultural nuances of the target audience.