‘All good things start today,’ ‘go out and shine,’ ‘Mondays drive me crazy,’ ‘adventures start with a blank canvas’… These phrases definitely transmit positive vibrations. But…who do you imagine is behind them? Mr. Wonderful! The simple things always work and at Okodia Translation Group and we’ve had the opportunity to help companies like this get wind in their sales Because the transcreation of certain products can also be done through rose coloured spectacles.
Phrases that make you smile
Mr. Wonderful develops decorative products and accessories with pleasant designs and phrases that make us smile. They are friendly, encouraging messages that can brighten your day and inject a little energy. In principle it seems easy to translate phrases that are simple, short and as natural life as life itself, into other languages. But sometimes things are not as simple as they seem. And in this case, choosing the wrong word can ruin brand’s communication, and the purpose of its products.
Maintain proximity in transcreation
Proximity is just as fundamental in professional translation as it is in the transcreation of products. And you realise when you look at friendly products like those of Mr. Wonderful, that maintaining proximity is fundamental in order to transmit the same good feeling.
If you choose the wrong verb or adjective in the text of a thousand words, or one which isn’t quite appropriate, the mistake may go unnoticed. But this is not quite the case when dealing with a short direct message, and one which takes the spotlight, as often happens with these products.
Here the message is just as important as the image itself, and for this reason it’s vital to choose each word meticulously. You may choose a word which is not necessarily incorrect, but nevertheless does not carry the same meaning as in the original language.
Transcreation for Mr. Wonderful Wonderful
Would you like an example? One of the breakfast mugs contains the message ‘‘taza con superpoderes para borrar las ojeras de oso panda’ (mug with superpowers that will rid you of early morning panda bear eyes.’) It obviously refers to the amount of coffee that most of us need to get started in the morning. Well, when it comes to translating this text in English we find that there is no equivalent word (for ojeras) to express the same sense of morning tiredness, or lack of sleep. Our alternatives range from puffiness or bags under the eyes which, at the end of the day, have negative connotations. There is no room for negative messages with Mr. Wonderful
The answer? To describe them as ‘early morning panda bear eyes.’ This wasn’t the case when translating the message to Portuguese, where there is an equivalent word in ‘olheiras,’ though we could have fallen into the trap of using the verb ‘borrar’ (blur) instead of ‘apagar.’ (remove). Blur early morning panda bear eyes? Yes, exactly. Because in Portuguese and Spanish these verbs have different meanings. But you have to know that and not assume the obvious.
As you will see, transcreation is neither automatic nor easy. It needs someone who is creative and above all, a native speaker of the target language. And as Mr. Wonderful would say: Today could be a great day to hire a professional translator.