Translating advertising is very close to copywriting and the relatively new concept of transcreation. When you think about it, advertising is often based on creative concepts that are not translatable. However, that doesn’t mean that an ad’s message cannot be conveyed though different means and concepts.
The process of writing a piece from scratch in a new language is called transcreation (a combination of “translation” and “creation”), which is a developing specialisation within the translation sphere. In practice, however, only the term is new: there have always been translators who perform this task successfully.
Some of the modern tweaks to ad translations are:
- constraints based on the number of signs rather than space available
- focus on keywords
- consistency requirements (as the message is conveyed through many more channels than it used to be)
If you have an upcoming ad translation project, remember it is a good practice to work with native speakers who live in the market that they translate for.