German to English Transcreation in Action
Transcreation involves applying both translation and creative writing skills to ensure that slogans, captions, press releases, brochures, packaging, blogs and websites are effective marketing tools in more than one language. To give you an idea of what is often involved, I have compiled the following examples of transcreation from projects I have completed for German and Austrian companies ranging from textile retailers to cosmetics firms.
When it comes to slogans, I always provide the client with three options as the final choice often boils down to personal preference. For further information on the transcreation process, please see my post ‘Time. Tenacity. Talent. Translating German Slogans’.
Textiles retailer slogan
Zeitgeist und Stil – durch Qualität, Innovation und Herkunft
1. Evolution and revolution – innovative contemporary design rooted in the past
2. Stylish contemporary design that looks to the future and the past
3. Innovative and stylish contemporary design drawing on our textile heritage
The challenge here was dealing with Zeitgeist and Herkunft in one phrase. Although it has found its way into the English language, Zeitgeist would not work in this slogan and is incorporated within the use of ‘contemporary’. It may also be necessary to accept a certain degree of translation loss (e.g. omit ‘high-quality’) for the sake of style and fluency. Researching the company told me that they pride themselves on staying on trend whilst respecting artisan design and craftsmanship. Encapsulating a company’s overarching goals and ethos in one short phrase can be fun but challenging.
Cosmetics product description
Für diesen Look sollten Sie wie in der Kunst der Regeln brechen. Rechtzeitig zum neuen Mustermix. Das Augenmerk liegt auf den bunten Lidern! Leichte Egozentrik im Jahr 2019 steht jedem!
Artistic rules are made to be broken which is certainly the case with this new look.
The new colour block look has arrived on the scene, complemented by colourful eyelids which have become the stars of the show. Flattering trends never go out of
The biggest challenge here was Leichte Egonzentrik. The idea of treating yourself or indulging is a little overused, so I focused on the flattering and fashionable aspects of the product.
Tourism association slogan
XXXXPass – Das Städteticket für Neuentdecker
1. Exploring [city name] for the first time? The city is your oyster with the XXXXPass
2. Fall in love with [city name] with the XXXXPass
3. Travel all over the city with just one pass. Make your first visit to [city name] stress-
free with the XXXXPass.
It was important to include the idea of the pass being a benefit for first time visitors. German-speaking clients often prefer the more concise option.
Luxury car retailer press release
Transcreation skills were required when dealing with the imagery in the following press release for a luxury car retailer. It was necessary to stand back and consider the overarching message and context rather than focusing on specific words and phrases.
Große Ereignisse werfen Ihre Schatten voraus. Und in diesem Fall handelt es sich
um zwei imposante Schatten mit den Silhouetten der SUV-Neuankömmlinge XXXX
The recent launch of two stunning luxury SUV models has caused quite a stir
which has reverberated across the car industry. The XXXX and the XXXX are the
first performance SUVs to be launched by these manufacturers and they have
certainly not failed to impress.
As these few examples show, careful research skills and a degree of ingenuity are required to ensure that the transcreated text reads in a natural and compelling way. Often a number of attempts and revisions have to be made in order to find the right solution and it is very rewarding when you know you have done a good job and the client is happy.