Is creative translations and creative transliteration necessary for companies? The biggest misconception about translation is simply the conversion of a document or source file from one language to another. If it is such, then a company could just hire a bilingual individual to do the job. However, this is far from the truth.
Translation is a creative process and a professional translators need to equip themselves with the skills of translating in a creative process, where the understanding of multiculturalism and diversity is applicable.
Translation is an act of adaptation and negotiation between two sources, that is, the source language and the target language. It is not about content. It is about context. Some languages have idioms and sayings that do not exist in other languages. The simplest example to look at is poetry. A direct and literal translation will not suffice. There are issues such as rhyming, imagery, rhythm, context, and flow that a skilled translator will need to consider.
So what is the difference between creative translation and creative transliteration?
Creative translation is focused on the delivery of content with the right contextual message. Creative transliteration is the ability to use that message to create a buzz among target audiences. To create conversations and hype. To create engagement and discussion. It is a very unique way of branding.
2017 saw a number of major brands implementing such strategy when penetrating new foreign markets.
Looking at China alone, in October of this year, Mcdonald’s created a buzz when they changed their registered name to Jingongmen, which literally means “Golden Arches”, after being sold to a Chinese consortium. Companies are now leveraging on creative transliterations of their brand names to stir imagination among their audience. BMW goes by the name Baoma, which means “Treasure Horse” and Coca-Cola, known as Kekoukele, means “Delicious Happiness”. With such a rise in developing memorable brands, this avenue has opened up room for complexities in various industries.
Companies are recommended to trademark their names should they choose to creatively transliterate their brand. One major complexity is that there are companies who face difficulties in trademarking because the name has already either been taken or protected by their own distributors or even competition. This is a major strategy companies use to block their competition from penetrating the market. As a result, many disputes and court cases become prevalent.
One of the common example was the litigation by Michael Jordan, which took years. Eventually Michael did win the rights, over his own trademarked Chinese name, Qiaodan, against a local Chinese sportswear company.
Creative translation goes beyond just the brand name. It is what drives messages across to target audiences. When the audience reads the translated content, flare, personality and style needs to be projected in the target language and not just appear as a replica of the original text.
Let’s look at vintage art.
An artist who replicates a painting will never be in direct communication with the original artist in order to get the right message across. Replicating is a simple act of copying and if translators are seen to be copyist, then copyrighted material will be irrelevant.
Skilled and professional translators need to be able to plough into the text they are working on so that all possible nuances are taken into account before adapting the text for a new audience. A task which cannot, under any normal circumstances, be absolutely perfect since the concepts within a text are embedded into a culture and the language spoken by the people of that culture. Texts, therefore, cannot be rewritten 100% accurately in another language. Each language works differently.
This is why companies are advised to dive into translation as a serious strategic move when communicating with their target audience in a different language.
With so much consideration that needs to be taken into account, that’s where professional language solutions service providers come in to assist. Whether you require translation services, transliteration services, transcription services, or even interpretation services, language solutions service providers have their own pool of professional and skilled translators who are equipped in dealing with the creative process of translation and transliteration with the understanding of cultural diversity, values, beliefs, and context of the source language to the targeted language