Creativity and Translation: Do People Overlook the Creativity Involved in Translating Text?

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By Rossion

Is translation creative? Technical? A combination thereof? The short answer is that it depends. A technical, medical, or legal text needs exceptional attention to detail to ensure that no errors are introduced in translation. A literary or marketing translation, on the other hand, needs a creative touch. Translation is filled with creative opportunity. The kicker is that a good translation may be completed so seamlessly that we don’t necessarily see the creativity involved.

Many people now refer to creative translation in fields like marketing and content creation as transcreation. Often, this requires taking a more open approach, changing words and expressions to match the readership in a new language.

Your translator is a problem-solver

Can’t find the exact translation? Trying to recreate a style or nuanced meaning in a different language? Translators are often faced with tasks that require them to think outside the box. Think puns, jokes, literary translations, even marketing material. Finding the right solution to fit in the right context takes creativity.

Your translator respects your voice

A big part of good translation is respecting and recreating the tone of the material. Is it funny? Well, it should be funny in translation too. Is it thoughtful? Poetic? Clever? Your translator uses creativity and artistic expression to mimic and adapt as best they can for the audience and the material.

Your translator adapts for its market and readership

We’ve all seen translations that have no oomph. They’re too literal and fall flat. A good translator works to create the best work possible for the audience based on the material they have. This means using their judgment on what the audience will understand – often based on localization, what they will relate to, and so on. All of these judgment calls require sound decision-making and a creative mind.

Your translator helps you recreate your brand in another (or several) language(s)

Have you worked hard to craft your brand’s voice? Are you proud of your catchphrases, tone, and messaging? An experienced creative translator will be able to recreate the essence of your messaging and style in another language.

But what if your translator is a little too creative?

While your translator will use their creativity in their work, you don’t want them to take too much liberty with the text. A good translator won’t rewrite the whole thing the way they would have written it, add new elements, or change the meaning. That is where experience and understanding of what is appropriate comes in.

Key Takeaways

  • The creativity required in a translation depends on what is being translated. An experienced translator will understand how a technical text differs from a literary text, and so on.
  • An experienced translator balances good judgment, creativity, and respecting the author’s voice.
  • Marketing material, literary translation, and content creation takes a high degree of creativity. Translators experienced in transcreation are a good bet.

Planning to localize content for the Quebec market? We’re here to help. Get in touch to learn how Rossion can support your company’s transition and adapt your industry-specific content to French.

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