Transcreation is a hot topic and there are different translations of it. Some assume it is only for creative content, while some use this term as a synonym to localization. Others claim that translation is more verbatim, literal and closer to the source text as oppose to transcreation focuses more on the message, meaning and the audience.

Old schools argue that all of the above are 50 shades of translation and by definition a good translator is expected to manage the register, tone and locale.

Enough said about the debate on what transcreation is, please allow me to share several tips for Turkish to English transcreators. Although my examples are from Turkish, I have a feeling that other source languages could also benefit reading this article. Here we go.

AVOID WORDINESS

Yes, back to basics, that is where we should return to excel. Avoid wordiness but how?

  1. Ask yourself this very important question: Is this word really necessary? Check out!
Source Translation Transcreation
İş dünyasının liderleri Leaders of the business world Business leaders
Finans alanındaki yatırımlar Investments in the area of finance Financial investments

A lot of words are filler words that you may drop without losing meaning in many sentences. For example, world, community, issue, matter, area, industry, sector are among those filler words.

2. Can you use a suffix or prefix to shorten the phrase? Sometimes you can. See below:

Source Translation Transcreation
Raylardan çıkmak Get our of the rails Derail
Kontrol edilemez Cannot be controlled Uncontrollable

3. Eliminate (sometimes source related) redundancies

A poorly written source text is no excuse to undertranslation. eliminating redundancies is an easy to develop skill. Redundancy happens when part of the sentence or phrase is already covered by the other part and that removing the reduntant part will not change the meaning at all. See this example:

Turkish: Bize servis sağlayan üçüncü taraf hizmet sağlayıcılar

English translation: The third party service providers who provide us services

English transcreation: Our third party service providers

 

FIND THE VERB

English sentences are more verb-centric than Turkish, whereas Turkish sentences are typically more noun / subject centric. Turkish verbs are at the end of the sentence and many Turkish statements use an auxiallary verb such as make, do, bring, provide, supply, realize, etc. If we were to literally translate “yardım etmek” to English it would be to “make help”.

In other words, if you do not find the right verb in English and just keep translating word by word from Turkish, your translations will inevitably contain lots of auxillaries. Read the following examples:

Source Translation Transcreation
Analiz çalışmaları yürütmek Conduct analysis works Analyse
Etkinlik organizasyonunu gerçekleştirmek Realize the organization of the event Organize the event

 

Or try this exercise:

Keyword: make (yapmak in Turkish)

Source Translation Transceation
Kek yapmak Make a cake Bake a cake
Yemek yapmak Make a meal Cook a meal
Çay yapmak Make tea Prepare / brew tea
Başvuru yapmak Make an application Apply for
Teklif yapmak Make an offer Offer / Place an offer
Hazırlık yapmak Make preparations Prepare

Think about other common verbs you are using and build your vocabulary of synonyms for perform, make, give, take, send, go, come and so on. It is the simple verbs where you make a difference in transcreation.

 

IMPROVE USAGE

If structure is the bone, usage is the blood of a language. First and foremost benefit of improved usage is improved claritry. Because people are used to certain words in their daily lives or profession and it is our duty to speak to them in their own words.

Advanced usage advances eloquency, rtythm, tone and register, all of which require scores of articles and years of experience.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

Turkish: Türk lirası değer kaybediyor.

English translation: Turkish lira is losing value.

English transcreation: Turkish lira is depreciating.

English transcreation for a headline: Turkish lira take a blow. / Turkish lira melto down.

If you want to improve your usage, read literature, read benchmark web resources, i.e. investopedia.com for finance and read corrector changes of our copy-editors.

I suggest that your start improving your usage on simple words. Try this:

Keyword: start (başlamak / başlangıç in Turkish)

Source Translation Transcreation
Proje başlangıcı The start of the project Project kick-off
Hastalığın başlangıcı The start of the disease Onset of disease
Kampanyanın başlangıcı The start of the campaign Campaign launch

Similar to building a voculary of verbs, build a vocabulary for nouns and adjectives as well. Begin with most common words, i.e. important, good, bad, big or small.

Translators crave for technical terminology because a great part of their lives is inevitably invested in researching jargon.

To be more precise, your Turkish source text may contain ‘önemli’ (important) and in English you may want to translate it as ‘major, substantial, significant or dramatic”.

Unfortunately, many translators underestimate the usage of everyday words and neglect connotations, colocations or sub-texts. Focus and you can surely do better.

 

STUDY GRAMMAR

Almost half of all translation errors are related to sentence structure, usage of articles and usage of prepositions. As for the sentence structure here is what you need to do:

  1. There are four sentences types in English: simple, compound, complex and compound-complex. More can be find here. Use these structures and do not imitate /superimpose what you see in Turkish, otherwise you will produce Turklish sentences.
  2. Tighten your sentences or otherwise split them; shorter is better.
  3. Find the verb and use the verb; avoid abusing nominalizations. Also avoid abuse of there is / are.
  4. Learn how to manage and reduce relative clauses.
  5. Study sentence branching because Turkish language branches to the left (verb is in the end), where as English language branches to the right (you can expand the main clause with objects, phrases and also other clauses).
  6. Prefer active voice over the passive, event the Turkish is written with passive voice. There are exceptions but only a few, very few.