Hello, linguistic argonauts and creative pioneers. Welcome to the first post in The Word Gym’s blog. Which incidentally is the first post in a series endeavouring to reproduce Bill’s talk at the Royal Over-Seas House in Edinburgh, about the ‘heaven and hell’ associated with copywriting and translation.

Because this is an introductory post of sorts, it would only be polite to begin with the trendy term for copywriting. Sound the drums and set the hipsters free: let us discuss transcreation. This is actually appropriated for what used to be called localisation, and simply means creative translation. But because we’re cool and modern, we’ll call it transcreation.

The Word Gym is a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) translating firm. Sorry, what an incredibly chewy mouthful. But this does mean we are seasoned veterans in the field of what resonates with people. What kinds of advert can appeal to the deepest parts of people. Copywriting, in short, that is designed to persuade you.

Transcreation is copywriting that can apply to literary translation or anything that is trying to create a specific, layered, complex impression on you. (Bill, Edinburgh 2016)

So why do we differ between technical and creative translation? Technical translation is used to convey certain salient facts as efficiently and clearly as possible. It is fact transmission, pure and simple. Extreme clarity and simple language isn’t necessarily easy; creative translation was triggered by how thorough, technically difficult and slow technical translation can be.
Creative translation has a long proud tradition. Perhaps it was the first kind of translation – the things that have inspired people to translate are often not necessarily mere facts. The first written translations were almost certainly done by people who were passionate about something they discovered, and wanted to share it.

So to wrap up part one of many, on the respective heavens and hells of transcreation, we shall leave you with this: to learn a new language, a person has to have a deep desire for communication. All we do with creative translation, is help them to convey this in another language, with the same depth of feeling, register and consideration as it means in the original copy. Sometimes, to have the same resonance, the nature of the text has to change just a little. Just like language really.

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