Apr 12

From Translation to Transcreation in five steps

Soon after I was introduced to transcreation it became more than a word to describe an activity or marketing tactic ... it became the identity I was seeking in my professional career. There was something in the concept that connected my innate personal interests and drives to business needs and opportunities. And isn't that something we're all seeking?

By way of background that led to this discovery, I spent my childhood summers abroad, discovering both a passion and a knack for understanding different cultures and languages. This naturally led me to translation studies in university, which was the only relevant field that was accessible; and I became one of those students who always struggled to find the right word. It is only when I  moved to Paris to do my DESS in conference interpreting that I understood how powerless words are if we do not understand the context and the meaning.

Fortunately, I ultimately stopped short of pursuing a career in conference interpreting ...but serendipity brought me into the world of advertising. Here a found a fit in the most natural way: helping global brands apply their core messages in a way that made them relevant in different markets a around the world. I found an almost instantaneous application for everything that I had learned.  And it became more than just an enjoyable and useful profession -- I was actually able to help brands become successful in markets where they had struggled in the past. This success brought the agencies where I worked new clients, and with that the opportunity to grow our team of transcreators both in-house and as part of our broader network. I had found my niche, my identity, and then as a manager was fortunate to find and assemble a community of people who were both multi-lingual and multicultural. Yet, it continued to be challenging to train and develop our growing staff of transcreators to unveil that unique sensitivity to a world in which words were not the only important tool, but many other more subtle elements of communication had the capacity to make or break a brand.  Solving this problem became the key to building one of the largest and most successful teams of transcreators in the global advertising industry.

What precisely is this elusive set of skills that only begin with translation and then evolve into a much more creative endeavor?  And how can I help you to help you to move further along this richly rewarding path?

What made significant progress possible was the utilization of tools, applied systematically, that helped my teams think differently and to grow as a consequence. These are the frameworks, models and tools that I will be sharing with you in Berlin.

We will review the importance of THE BRIEF, as this is the foundation of intent on which the ability to bring a message to life in another language is built. As rudimentary as it seems, it is surprisingly often that many embark on projects without understanding the goals, objectives, target audience, and without making explicit the cultural reality, How the words are linked to the visuals, as well as the regulatory constraints, all must be taking into account as critical context.

We will examine some case where a great transcreation turned out to be better than the original, a few examples of how a cultural faux-pas has had dramatic consequences, and also instances  where the effort just falls flat.

We all learn best through actual experience, so we will spend a good part of our time together working through some real life examples. So if you are planning to join us, please bring along magazines, papers or videos of ads that you have loved or that you feel are particularly effective ... and in your native language.

I am confident that you will find our experience together both fun and enriching, and I am looking forward to getting to know you and your culture, and discovering together the creative potential that lies within all of us who are fortunate enough to work in this exciting and meaningful field.