There's more to transcreating app content for children than meets the eye. Here's a short take on some general challenges I've come across in the transcreation of an app for kids from English into Spanish LATAM.
WORDPLAY AND COINAGES ARE A KEY INGREDIENT
There’s more to the #transcreation of content in apps for kids than meets the eye.
For one, wordplay and humour may be just around the corner. Coinages, too, are quite frequent, since kids love creating words and picking up on new ones, even when they don't know exactly what they mean and content creators know that. They play with that idea and they infuse their content with made-up words to render their messages appealing and amusing to the eyes and ears of youngsters and pre-teens.
How can a transcreator get ready for this and do these figures of speech justice? Well, I always say that a transcreator is the result of the content they consume: from the books you read to the films and series you watch to the side projects you keep when you're not doing your job, everything you do will influence your creativity.
So watch out for tasks and hobbies that will boost it and keep you on the alert to spot puns, alliteration and more rhetorical devices whenever you attempt to work in a transcreation project!
CHARACTER LIMITS ARE THE ORDER OF THE DAY
Add to the above linguistic challenges a set of character limitations depending on whether you’re transcreating a title or a description of some feature within your app for kids, and you’ll find yourself wondering if the job could get any more challenging😌
How can you tackle this challenge and still stay true to the creative concept behind every message in the app?
Not an easy mission, but it's possible. At least, into Spanish for LATAM, I've managed to keep within the character limit so far. How?
Well, by inevitably shortening certain strings, which sometimes required me to do a lot of rephrasing, other times I've had to omit an adjective altogether AND send a note as well as a query to the client.
This is really important: If you're going to erode part of the message when rendering into a new language because you know the client wants and needs you to prioritise character limitations, it's essential to create a separate document with a table or list of the things you've had to cut off on behalf of those character restrictions. This way, the client can gain insights into what their content sounds like in its 'new life' within the new language system. This extra task may even require you to send some back-translations, which is another common practice in transcreation as a service.
This year I started working as the lead transcreator for a children’s app into Spanish for LATAM which gets as exciting as a new transcreation account can get: while the jobs I’m entrusted with are always 300 words or less, I never trust appearances. Because I know that regardless of the word count, the challenge is bound to be great. Both big and awesome, if you like a challenge😍
So if you’re working in transcreation or looking forward to it, never underestimate the complexity of a task beyond, regardless of the word count. Chances are that the smaller the word count, the bigger the creative challenge for you as the transcreator in charge.
Want to learn more about transcreation?
I'm Delfina Morganti Hernández and I am the creator and host of Founded in Transcreation, the first podcast🎧 on transcreation, where I delve into how brands cross borders. Listen to the podcast on Anchor, Spotify and YouTube.