Michael Benis

More than translation

The creation of new strategies, concepts, images and expressions

Not simply to convey the same message in the same way, but to

Reach the hearts and minds of your targets to the same effect

So what is transcreation? Well, it’s a made up word - as of course all words are - combining “translation” and “creation”. This makes it sound rather exotic, but for any text intended for advertising, publication or use in a presentation or speech, it’s exactly what you need, even if you’re a US company wanting to communicate effectively in the UK

You see, most big translation services today are dedicated to driving costs down, amongst other things through the use of various translation technologies about which I have no intention of boring you - though do feel free to contact me for more information if you need to combat sleepless nights. 

As a result, you get rapidly-delivered translations that have changed all the words dutifully from one language into another, but do little to take into account the differences in idiom or even syntax between different languages, never mind the differences in culture and psychology between different peoples. If you’re lucky, these texts may be comprehensible. But they will never be fluent, stylish, impactful, moving or persuasive. You wouldn’t want to risk using them for anything of strategic importance: an ad, brochure, important speech or presentation. 

The traditional solution has been to call in a professional writer to “fix up” these texts, rewriting them to create polished copy with the power to achieve your intended goals. 

Transcreation combines these two stages in one, not only saving you time and money but also delivering more dependable results. The aim, crucially, is not to provide a faithful translation of the original copy and concepts but to create a version that achieves the same desired effect on the client’s target market, sometimes using a radically different structure and images to do so. 

In this it differs from transadaptation (used in education and the life sciences in particular), which makes appropriate cultural substitutions, but does not engage in creating different conceptual, strategic or expressive solutions.

You need an experienced copywriter to do this effectively, preferably one with extensive in-house advertising agency experience. And you need a professional who can ground this strategic creative approach naturally in the client’s “home branding” thanks to strong linguistic credentials. For example, I’m a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a Member of the Translators Association of The Society of Authors. What’s more, I lectured and delivered training for translators at all levels and wrote regular columns for translation journals for over a decade of my career. 

It is this combined with more than 38 years’ in-house and freelance experience in advertising that enables me to provide a uniquely effective service, regularly used by many of the top companies, advertising and PR agencies in Italy.

In good company!

Brand and Communications Consultant

Branding • Creative Concepts & Strategy • Copywriting 

• Creative Direction • Speechwriting