To someone far removed from translation, translation just means taking words of one language and changing them into equivalents of another language. However, this view is too simplistic and completely eliminates the creative side of translation. Sure, some texts are translated practically word for word with no deviation or structure or meaning, yet others take more liberties in delivering the same message to the reader, yet in a different manner.
This freedom to present the same information in a different way, or even change key details to preserve the feeling and style of the original text are at the very basis of transcreation, a.k.a. creative translation. Nowadays, creative translation is incredibly important in marketing and business globalisation, as it allows readers to feel the same emotions and get the same message from reading a translation as they would the original text. Many companies, including Global Lingo, even offer
There are several characteristics (beyond the aforementioned ones) that make creative translation important in the modern era, and we will review some of them.
A thoughtful creation process
It is safe to say that a lot more thought and effort traditionally goes into creative translation than standard translations of technical instructions or product use manuals. For example, a text that is meant to get the reader interested in a product will often have several hooks – enticing promises or unique facts that need to be recognised for what they are to retain them in the translation.
Thus, a translator will need to carefully read and analyse the text to understand what kind of feelings, thoughts, and questions the original author wanted to conjure before trying to recreate them himself. Secondly, they will consider how the translation will be structured and decide whether any deviations from the original structure need to be made. It is only after this thoughtful planning that the actual translating will begin.
Even after completion, it is not unusual for the text to be revised and updated if the translator feels that he did not accurately evoke the same feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, the changes and revisions deviating from the original are used to elevate the original text. Unfortunately, failing to take a creative and thoughtful approach to translation can lead to a disinterested or unwanted reaction from the reader.
A greater application of skills
A creative translation approach creates more advantages for the text owner over dispassionate translation, but it also requires more skills. For example, for a translated text not to come off as stiff or formulaic, the translator will apply his own writing style. Though it might be different from the style of the original text, readers will typically find it more
sincere and artistic.
Another important skill to have in this practice is dexterity with complex words and phrases. Someone with a limited vocabulary and poor feeling of a language will simply fail to miss the point of several words and phrases, leaving the translated text much simpler and not as creative. On the other hand, a masterful grasp of wordplay can turn even the most boring and dysfunctional original text into a clear and intriguing read.