Be creative and faithful to your brand 

When taking a marketing message in one language and transporting it to a different language without compromising its meaning, your copy may face challenges. Why? Creativity, cultural references and humour are often behind any powerful slogan or any engaging piece of content.

The weather, political history or culinary traditions of a particular country can lead to cultural norms. And these cultural norms are usually rooted in people’s collective sense of humour and their perception of reality. Can you think of any funny expressions in your native language? I think one of my favourites from the English language has to do with remaining positive: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. 


If you translate this expression word-by-word into other languages, it may not elicit the desired response. Why? Many countries are not familiar with the drink lemonade, so the expression “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” will make no sense.

Ask an Englishman his thoughts on Spanish humour and the chances are he will say it lacks subtlety. Ask the same question to a Spaniard of British humour, and he will say it is too dry. Neither the Spaniard nor the Englishman can understand how the other can find certain things funny.

And we can go a bit further. Language is not only the words we speak, but also the way we say those words. Italians, for example, use more gesticulation than those in most English-speaking cultures, which implies that humour in the English language is left entirely to the actual words and can depend heavily on wordplay.

Imagine a slogan such as this: “A champion is someone who's ready when the gong rings.” How does a translation carry the same essence and evoke the same emotion as that of the original message? The best creative translators can get around these challenges using local expressions from the language into which they are translating.

The creation of creative content with a strong and meaningful impact in the target language is often referred to as transcreation. Slogans, taglines and marketing campaigns must often be transcreated, so they resonate with the target audience without changing the message behind your brand.

Do you want to find out more about our creative translation services? Then please get in touch!

Creative translation