Ads & Marketing Translation Services

Translation for the Advertising and Marketing sector

In the digital age, Marketing and Advertising deal with electronic media and acquire completely different contours, where the production of content gains ground and raises great expectations in regard to the quality of the messages transmitted. Under the light of globalization, the dimensions of these new challenges are multiplied by the cultural pluralities and the great diversity of languages.

Transcreation, the correct nomenclature for the translation of advertising texts.

A new field of work within the scope of translations? Understand better this nomenclature and the scope that defines it.. Digital media makes things a lot easier, but requires agility and consistency in the development of contents. Refinement, richness of detail, depth and capacity of synthesis define the expectation..

Challenges for transcreation

Advertising in the digital age becomes more and more the secret to success, challenging imagination, sophisticating itself and broadening its scope, as well as the high levels of expectations nurtured in its regard.

Growing competition within the globalized world has been generating great transformations in the concepts applied to advertising. The efforts focused on bringing subtler concepts into context should now consider the target audiences of the most diverse cultures of the world

What is the origin of this nomenclature?

The word “transcreation” was already being used to refer, for example, to the translation of poems or other texts with figurative or more abstract speech. It is thus considered that well elaborated advertising language faces these same needs of giving great importance to the “subtleties”.

Transcreation needs to be established as a task in which more freedom is granted to the translator in transmitting concepts perceived in the original text, prioritizing the transfer of meaning in an adequate form to the target audience.

The North-American institute Common Sense Advisory, the world’s top consultancy for the multilingual services industry, at the end of 2012, promoted a debate with major companies regarding this matter, during which they concluded that the majority of projects in the area of advertising and marketing requires a blend of conventional and transcreation translation. The major factors to characterize this activity would then be the objectives, project types, necessary resources and, consequently, service costs.

Transcreation and localization. Close, but different

The growing demand for transcreation also requires cultural adaptations, given they often refer to content from website and software texts, where the term “localization” is also used in a way to greatly approach both concepts.

Facilitating interfaces and obtaining quality gains

For the multilingual service industry, the adoption of the term transcreation will come to solve many kinds of problems, which is the case of definition and regulation of the activity, staff specialization, and more clarity between the service’s hiring and production parties.

Broadening the perception of human translation value

This activity shall certainly reflect in a very positive manner on human translation in general, considering that every good translation requires some creative freedom to better interpret the idea transmitted by the original text. This is, after all, the main characteristic that differs human translation from automatic ones, such as Google for example, very important for a fast and superficial understanding of the immensity of texts found on the web today, though its result is unacceptable for any other purpose.

A matter of commitment

Technical translation, literary translation and transcreation are permeated with “subjectivities”, which require the translator’s in depth involvement. “The professional should be able to intimately feel the text’s meaning, in both languages worked, in order to offer the proper and clear translation alternatives, without leaving cultural or linguistic gaps behind. And especially not fall on the mistake of translating to the letter”, explains the translator Suzana Schindler.

Translator of general knowledge books and magazines, among them the German publication GEO, Suzana uses quite a bit of transcreation in her works. “Especially when I translate from German, which is a complex language for placing the verb tense at the end of the sentence. This forces me to adapt and reorganize practically all paragraphs in a text”, she says. “In addition, simple translation always involves risks, for they tend to be literal and involve words that don’t exactly express the content / meaning of the original. Transcreation, differently, allows us to feel the original foreign text and adapt it to the target-language, in this case, Portuguese.”

And Universities, what do they think about this?

According to the professor of the English Department of the Philosophy, Communications, Language Arts and Arts School of PUC-SP, Glória Regina Loreto Sampaio, particularly in poetry, given the intimate relationship between the meaning and the form, the conversion to another language represents a rupture of the original aesthetics. “Hence, a translation in purely referential moldings will come out failed and insufficient”, explains. “Obtaining an equivalent aesthetic effect, or one at least similar, may only be achieved through recreation/transcreation.”

This is the reason why, according to the professor, transcreation requires great sensibility, knowledge, repertoire and technical and artistic capacity from the translator, who should confer to the text by him created/transcreated those similar qualitative marks from the source text. “A translator duly skilled to practice his profession does not lack creativity, sensitivity, and technique. Nonetheless, when we enter the field of literary translation, these qualities are required in a more pressing and incited manner.”

The challenges of qualification

In addition to a strong dose of sensitivity and technical knowledge, the recreation/transcreation process requires a high level of sensitivity, maturity, experience and time. “Transcreation, due to its predominately individual, peculiar character, non mechanic and non reproducible, may not be defined as a “service” in the commercial sense of the word. It is an instance of ingenuity and art, as the Lusitanian minstrel once said.

The development of a transcreation capacity is nurtured within the translator training courses, by specific studies that comprise reading, critical discussion and reflexion about essays and writings of great translators and poets, as well as by translation exercises on texts with a strongly aesthetic nature. “These exercises are followed by constant discussions and adaptations, until the minimally desired results are attained. It worth emphasizing, however, that not all achieve the recreation/transcreation successfully”, says Glória Sampaio. “Due to its nature, the company which embraces the field of transcreation should compose a staff of specialized translators, holders of specific knowledge, qualities and competences for the task.”

Attention, advertising and marketing agencies

Transcreation has nothing to do with serial production and pre-determined deadlines”, ”, the professor assures. In other words, transcreation requires a profound interaction from the translator with both languages, a judicious search for words that express with the highest possible perfection the original idea, or in some cases such as slang and idiomatic expressions, the search for an equivalent expression.


F Nazca, Publicis-Salles, Le Pera, DM9, Mccann Erickson Maples, Item, New Mind, Mark, Oficina de Arte e Propaganda, Pentágono Publicidade, Brandworks, Proper, Free, Comunicação, Ayalla, Auspex, TWK, P2B, EXIT, SIN, Geospatial, B.BRO.