Creativity in Translation: 5 Ways Translators are Creative

Last Updated April 27, 2021


Learn more about how creativity plays a role in the translation process, especially when it comes to marketing your brand.

Translation is the process of converting words or text from one language into another, but it is not always as simple—or literal—as it seems.

Word-for-word translation is certainly necessary for certain tasks that require complete accuracy. Technical translation is a good example.

But not all translation projects are that simple.

Most translation tasks require creativity on the part of the translator. A translator must engage in a process of negotiation between two cultures, two languages, and sometimes two entirely different worldviews.

What works in one context might not be appropriate or acceptable in another. It’s the translator’s job to navigate how to use different words to achieve the same meaning.

That is where a level of creativity comes in. Let’s take a deeper look at how creativity and translation are related.

5 Ways Professional Translators Share their Creativity with the World

Translators are faced with a complex task: Take a specific text and convert it into a target language while maintaining its meaning.

Excellent writing skills are crucial. Since writing is a creative act, the process of translation will no doubt bring out some creative elements.

Here are a few ways this really comes out.

1. Translators are artistic

Language is indisputably creative. There’s a whole history of people creating languages for communal and artistic purposes.

Because of the link to creativity, many translators are also artists, in the truest sense of the word. Quite a few linguists expand their creativity in the following activities, either as a hobby or on a professional level:

Translators also soak up the different languages and can experience a measure of inspiration simply by being exposed to the diversity that exists across the world.

2. Translators have a personal translation style

Translators aren’t simply copyists. They assimilate, elaborate, and simplify information as part of their work process, consequently instilling something personal in their work.

The final product is therefore directly and inherently linked to the person who produced it as each translator approaches a text in a different way.

Every little decision along the way belongs to the one person working on the project, and each person will employ some measure of creativity while remaining faithful to the original text.

3. Translators connect the dots

When translating, there are many dots to connect to achieve the best result, including language, writing skills, understanding of cultural context, and an ability to read between the lines.

Translators need to be able to dig into the text they are working on and consider all possible nuances before adapting the text for a new audience.

They could even be considered brilliant copywriters in that they are able to approach texts from a “translator’s perspective,” focusing on clarity and precision while avoiding wording that can be misinterpreted.

4. Translators see below the surface

Translators do not read superficially. They assimilate and share information as part of their work process.

They are enriched by languages and they know how to complement possible “voids” in one language with information from another.

Creativity is more likely to surface when speaking more than one language. Knowledge inspires. The more you know, the more you want to explore, create, find solutions.

Translators are creative because they are exposed to different ways of writing and speaking, soaking up the knowledge from around the world, and sharing it with others.

5. Translators have an eye for branding

A translator’s creativity can also be made evident when it comes to branding for your company. They help communicate your message to clients and prospects in target languages.

This doesn’t come through only in the translation of text, but also in effectively communicating your company’s name, design, colors, and user guides.

Translators can dig into your marketing materials and consider all the context and nuance to open your company to target markets around the globe.

Let’s take a closer look at how creativity in translation can help your business.


What Creativity in Translation Means For Your Business

When it comes to marketing for your business, branding is where translators’ creativity comes out to play. They help connect the dots that will help communicate your message to clients and prospects.

A translator’s ability to translate the essence of your products and services in different languages and to specific geographic regions is invaluable.

Storytelling is one of the most important techniques of content marketing. Creative narrative has a compelling power – your potential customers may not be convinced to buy your product when they see a list of properties, but they sure will trust your company if you tell them a good story.

The facts are important, but they should be complimented with a compelling story. This is where your brand can benefit from transcreation.

Transcreation: Where Translation and Creativity Connect

Transcreation describes the creative process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining intent, style, tone, and context.

The goal of translation and localization is to deliver the same message in target languages and dialects. The content is adapted to fit context and cultural norms, but in essence the core meaning stays the same in both languages.

Transcreation, on the other hand, has a different objective – to ensure that your brand’s voice is maintained, the tone of the text is preserved, and that it has the same effect on all markets.

A successfully transcreated message will evoke the same emotions and carry the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language.

With transcreation, your materials may be changed as the copywriter sees fit. The focus is less on preserving the exact meaning of a certain word.

Transcreation therefore offers considerably more creative freedom than translation or localization.

Transcreation allows your company to:

  • offer content that resonates with specific target audiences,
  • meet customer expectations,
  • increase customer trust,
  • prioritize cultural sensitivity.

A translator dealing with your advertising campaigns should therefore be knowledgeable regarding the linguistic and cultural realities of a given region and have extensive experience in copywriting.

How Summa Linguae Can Help

Transcreation is recommended in the case of affective advertising in which the recipient’s emotions, linguistic nuances, a subtle play on words and cultural connotations are essential.

Meet the expectations of your clients and provide them with high-quality content in their language.

Work with our multilingual copywriters and let us show you the true power of words.

Contact us today to get started.

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