First, we should understand the definition of translation. Translation was defined by Foster (1958) as an act by which the content of the text is transformed from the source language to the target language. For example, if you have text in English that you want to convert to Spanish, then English will be the source language and Spanish will be the target language.
- Specialized document translation in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, German, and Russian
- Film; Video Clip; Subtitle; Voiceover Translation
Creative translation and language localization
Both have a few things in common. First, they all consider cultural nuances. As we mentioned in the previous post, language localization is more complex than simple translation. In language localization, we translate source content to the target culture and tailor it for local use.
The purpose of localization is to create content for the target audience. That adjustment may involve changing colors, cultural references, names of people, names of places, etc. to elicit an emotional response from the reader in some cases such as a website or blog post, hotel description, literature…
However, creative translation focuses on the intended effects of the message. The goal of this type of translation is to maintain such a message in the target language. Thus, creative translation is more complex than language localization that not only adjusts cultural references in the text to logically homogenize.
Creative translation, on the other hand, is creating a new text that maintains the original intent, style, and tone. Since then, creative translation has become popular when it comes to translating marketing materials such as slogans or advertisements and creative texts such as comic books.
Good examples of creative translation
We used to love the example that Translation Today chose for the successful creative translation industry, Asterix comics:
"There is no better place to end a discussion about creative translation than the English translations of Asterix comics. Many people may quibble and say that this is a pure and simple translation. When Anthea Bell was translating all the puns and nuances in it, she certainly didn't think "I'm translating creatively". The difference here is academic, but a few other examples quite capture the fun spirit of creative translations to improve the original.
The names of all the characters use puns, many of which can be translated but they can be put together. The English names Bell created were often more lucid than the French names. For example, the tone-deaf poet was originally named Assurancetourix, which is a play about 'guaranteeing tous risques' – a comprehensive insurance. In English, he becomes Cacofonix, a word game 'cacofonix'. The fishmonger's name is Ordralfabétix, a pun on 'alphabreiqueab'. He became Unhygieneix. The French originals are funny because they are so irrational. The English names really reflect the characteristics of the characters, and make the actors much more alive.
Other name translations are also perfect. The main character Obelix's grumpy pet dog is called Idéfix, a play on the French phrase 'une idée fixe' which means an unforgettable obsession. His name became Dogmatix, which is a very interesting translation, since Idéfix is actually a dog, and he is also dogmatic.".
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