Or do you prefer adaptation?
Some people in the translation industry think that “adaptation” and “transcreation” are just buzzword equivalents for plain, old translation.
Agencies that are pioneers in adaptation/transcreation beg to differ. Adaptation/transcreation is to translation what copywriting is to writing. Here’s a sampling of web copy from some these agencies’ sites…
“We don’t translate. We create. Rather than direct translation, we always strive for the perfect adaptation.”
Bauzá & Associates
“Transcreation is the creative adaptation of marketing, sales and advertising copy in the target language”
NTIS New Zealand
“Translators translate, whereas Transcreation is an entirely different ballgame, involving the creativity and discipline of professionals specialised in adaptation.”
“Transcreation: For services related to the adaptation of promotional material”
“…project manage the adaptation, transcreation, production and delivery of international advertising…”
“…anyone in advertising or marketing who needs to be sure that the foreign-language versions of their copy will be as good as the original in every way…”
“…help global brands adapt their marketing campaigns to different markets, languages and cultures…”
“…strategic marketing analysis, concept development, copywriting and copy-editing; adaptation and transcreation; concept checking and transculturization…”
So, what’s the difference between translation and adaptation?
- Adaptation supports marketing. Translation is much more general.
- Adaptation involves changing both words and meaning but keeping the attitude and persuasive effect. Translation involves changing words but keeping meanings.
- We describe successful adaptation with words such as “bold” and “creative.” We describe successful translation with words such as “faithful.”
- Adaptation inevitably requires a team (or a series of teams). Translation can be done by an individual (though independent proofreaders are often involved).
Be sure to check out our series of articles on international copywriting.
About the author
- Lawrence LaFerla is the division head for JAPANtranslation and blogger in chief at “Marketing on the Japanese web.” He works in sunny Osaka.