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Bilingual corporate websites — from translation to transcreation?

Sissel Marie Rike, University of Agder, Norway


As an increasing number of companies see the world as their marketplace, bilingual and/or multilingual websites are becoming increasingly common, and the demand for translations in this domain is growing. Corporate websites are multimodal, and verbal messages, images, layout and sometimes animations and sound interact to create the rhetoric on the site. With web texts being instantly available to readers anywhere, the translator’s role as a cultural mediator attains a special significance as the texts may be accessed by a diverse audience with a multifaceted cultural background. A concept might be best expressed by a verbal text in one language and by an image in another. The question that then arises is: what are the translator’s responsibilities in this situation? How should the translator take account of multiple semiotic resources? New situations may require new approaches and concepts. It is argued that a shift in emphasis from ‘translation’ to ‘transcreation’ will broaden perspectives with respect to both translations and translation research.


Bilingual websites, cross-cultural communication, social semiotics, transcreation, corporate communication.

With the worldwide web now a well-established channel of corporate communication, most businesses take advantage of the affordances offered by this medium. Web-based communication has provided companies with an efficient means of promoting products and services as well as maintaining and building internal and external interpersonal relations (Garzone 2009). Parallel to the globalisation of business and industry, the availability of web sites in two or more languages has been growing steadily and, consequently, so has the demand for web translations.

The special features of web pages, such as screen-based multimodal content (see below) and instant availability, potentially simultaneously in all parts of the world, set texts in this medium apart from printed texts on paper. Moreover, over the past few decades, the interest among both linguists and discourse analysts in studying how meaning is communicated through both linguistic and visual resources has increased (Machin and Mayr 2012). The question then arises what the implications of multimodality are for translation, and for our conception of concepts such as ‘text’ and ‘translation.’ Assuming that translators should consider the meaning-making of all semiotic resources on a page, how should the translator take account of other semiotic resources than the verbal message?

Firstly, this paper will focus on how the interest in multimodality has affected views of ‘text’ and ‘translation’ and also of the kind of work expected to be performed by translators. Secondly, the Norwegian and international websites of a Norwegian company, Marine Harvest, will be used to demonstrate how content may be produced by a process which stretches the definition of what we might call translation.

Text and translation

The view that translation concerns linguistic elements only has, as is well known, been challenged in recent years. It has been pointed out, by Jeremy Munday for instance, that although up until now the focus of translation has been largely on the “conventional, progressively outdated, written text” (2004: 216), translation should now be seen in a broader perspective, beyond the written word, and should incorporate multimodal features of texts. Similarly, Gunther Kress maintains that while translation traditionally has been focused on linguistic transfer, we should be “looking at the field of meaning as a whole and see how meaning is handled modally across the range of modes in different societies” (2010: 11).

Multimodal texts are composed of multiple semiotic resources. Web texts, for instance, include linguistic elements, images, colour, layout, animations, voice, music, etc., each of which is a ‘mode.’ A ‘mode’ is, according to Kress, “a socially shaped and culturally given semiotic resource for making meaning” (2010: 79). Language is no longer seen as dominant, but as one mode among other potentials for making meaning (ibid.). Meanings are created by the interplay of the semiotic resources, and image and text “interact synergistically in the construction of meaning” (Unsworth and Cléirigh 2011: 154).

For translators it is, of course, natural to consider how meaning is made in the source and target cultures respectively, but translators have commonly been supplied with a verbal text in one language to be transferred to a verbal text in another language, and have not been expected to deal with all the semiotic resources that may be deployed in a ‘text.’

However, the fact that texts include non-verbal elements that have to be taken into account in translation is not new. Christiane Nord points at other modes and presents a checklist as a basis for a functional interpretation of non-verbal elements: “which non-verbal elements are included in the text; which function do they perform with regard to the verbal text parts; are they conventionally bound to the text type; are they determined by the medium; and are they specifically linked to the source culture” (1991/2005: 122). This checklist, among other things, should help the translator to produce a text that is as optimal as possible with respect to the skopos, or purpose, of the translation in the target culture. Taking account of the non-verbal elements would for instance enable the translator to adjust the verbal message in the target language version so that it would be consistent with the imagery provided with the source text.

What is new, is the idea that translators should not only pay attention to non-verbal elements, but actively use various semiotic resources and consider their possible affordances, or potentials of meaning-making. They should be involved in the production of multimodal texts as a whole. Such production may include, for instance, dragging meaning from one mode to another, to paraphrase Kress (2010: 124), for instance from an image to verbal text as will be shown in the analysis of the Marine Harvest website below. Or iconic signs may be replaced due to their cultural connotations. As pointed out by de Mooij (2010: 181), “[i]t is a misconception that visuals are universally understood across cultures.” To illustrate this point, she brings up the example that the black sheep carries different symbolism in different cultures; in Italy it symbolises independence, while in other cultures it is associated with the outcast. Volkswagen presented an image of a black sheep in a flock in Italy to show a VW Golf owner as an independent, self-assured person, an image which would not have carried the right connotations in many other countries. Considering the influence of culture on people’s perception, memory and communications styles, de Mooij (2004: 196) states that the translator should closely co-operate with the copywriter/art director team and not only translate but also advise about culture-specific aspects of both languages.” Her concern is advertising, but the statement is equally relevant with respect to corporate web sites as promotional texts.

The role of the translator as an advisor and as a mediator is closely linked. According to Hatim and Mason (1990: 236), “the translator takes on the role of mediator between different cultures, each of which has its own vision of reality, ideologies, myths, and so on.” The importance of the mediation role is also stressed by David Katan (2004), who maintains that the translator should not be regarded as a mere copier of text, but be seen as playing an active role in the communication process. An example of cultural mediation is shown below, on the Marine Harvest website, where information that is implicit in a video on the Norwegian page is made explicit for users in different cultures.

However, it is a question whether a translator is totally unbiased by his/her own cultural background. Hatim and Mason (1990: 224) argue that “[i]deological nuances, cultural predispositions and so on in the source text have to be relayed untainted by the translator’s own vision of reality.” Whether this is possible is debatable. Venuti, for instance, states that “translation is readily seen as investing the foreign-language text with a domestic significance… The foreign text, then, is not so much communicated as inscribed with domestic intelligibilities and interests” (2004: 482). A similar view is taken in marketing literature, where for instance Kotabe and Helsen point out that people have a tendency to be influenced by their own cultural experiences and values in cross-cultural communication, and that it is essential to be sensitive to cultural biases that affect our thinking in order to function in the global marketplace (2011: 123). In a study of LSP translations, Karen Korning Zethsen found that “culture-bound words and concepts …pose a major challenge even to the experienced translator,” and that “[t]he receivers of a text will always superimpose their own cultural layer on their interpretation” (2010: 555). This applies, then, to translators as first readers of a text, and also to the readers of the target text.

It is not possible to know how people in different target markets will react to a text. But we can ask: Are the choices made in the production of the multimodal text influenced by the source text culture, and should certain presuppositions consequently be made explicit and if so, how?

Working as a cultural advisor, or mediator, and with texts in various modes, the translator may find that deviations from a source may be essential for creating the right impression in the receiver. For instance, a cultural element in one language could be substituted by a cultural element from another language and culture, or be omitted completely (Pedersen 2011). For instance, references to baseball can be effective in American texts, but might have to be changed to another type of sport or omitted completely in a translation to Norwegian as few Norwegians are familiar with baseball terminology. With respect to advertisements, a complete change in form and content from the source text is sometimes justified by reference to the function of the target text, for instance to sell a product in the target country. In an advertisement for kiwi from New Zealand, Ho reformulated the text and called the fruit “Chinese gooseberry from New Zealand”, as kiwi was little known to Chinese people (Ho 2004: 232).

Substantial shifts away from the source text may call into question how we define translation. In fact, the concept has changed over time, as many scholars have acknowledged. According to Mary Snell-Hornby, “the concept of ‘translation proper’ has changed through the centuries as we could already see with Schleiermacher” (2006: 155). She also points out that the new developments within multimedia have resulted in new text types. According to her, intercultural communication requires far more than language mediation, and cultural expertise is of the highest importance (ibid.) In this situation, the translator plays an increasingly vital role, and must take responsibility for the final product. Gambier and Gottlieb (2001: x) argued more than a decade ago that since “‘translation’ remains synonymous with transcoding, word for word,” as texts become ever more multimodal “the concepts of translation and the translator’s world are generally considered archaic.”

Multimodality constitutes a real challenge for our understanding of translation, and Gambier and Gottlieb (2002: xix) assert that (multi)media translation “shatters the very notion of translation, to which a consensual definition has never been tied.” They go on to state that translation is moving into contact with technical writing, editing, etc. This is in line with Remael’s (2001: 21) contention that translation and text production are becoming almost indistinguishable.

In fact, translators are often required to perform other tasks than pure translation as the professional environment for linguists is changing. According to the findings of the European project “Thematic Network Project in the Area of Languages” (Helmersen et al. 2008), translators are increasingly involved in various forms of foreign language corporate communication, including web communication and intercultural mediation and consulting. This shows, to a certain extent, that a clear-cut definition of a language expert and a translator cannot be readily made.

With regard to these various conceptualisations of ‘text’ and ‘translation,’ one might agree with Kress that it is a problem that existing terms are being used to designate new phenomena. According to him, “[n]ew entities, new relations, new processes need new names” (2010: 103). Kress is concerned with the moving of meaning between semiotic categories, and between cultures or within a culture. He finds the term ‘translation’ relevant, but concedes that this term traditionally has been used to denote inter-lingual exchanges. So he suggests translation as a hyperonym and ‘transduction’ and ‘transformation’ as hyponyms, the former denoting a “process of drawing/‘dragging’ meaning across from one mode to another” (Kress 2010: 124), and the latter the traditional concept of translation of a print text such as a novel from one language to another (Kress 2010: 129). It is doubtful, however, whether this distinction makes concepts clearer, in particular because the existing term ‘translation’ is being used here with a new meaning.

However, the process of ‘moving meaning’ not only across languages, but also across modes, certainly widens the field of work for translators. Translators are accustomed to expressing meanings in a language different from that of a source text, but traditionally have often been expected to stay true to the source text and produce an ‘equivalent’ version, a point also mentioned, and countered, by Nord (1991/2005: 25–26). But equivalence may mean something a little different when applied to corporate websites. These constitute a part of corporate communication and have the purpose of establishing and maintaining “favourable reputations with stakeholder groups upon which the organisation is dependent” (Cornelissen 2004: 23); corporate communication is a promotional activity (Garzone 2009). The rhetorical aim can be seen as establishing credibility or ethos. This credibility with the target audience, rather than a source-text-based equivalence, then becomes the priority for the translator.

The process of recreating texts on all levels to make them appeal to people in the target culture may well be called recreation, adaptation or transfer (Nord 1991/2005: 28, Göpferich 2007), but I prefer the term ‘transcreation.’ The term indicates that a ‘translation,’ or ‘transfer,’ is involved, while at the same time alluding to creativity. Transcreation is taking a text in one language and recreating it in another, “rather than just translating the source version” in order to create a message that is designed for “maximum impact in all markets”, to quote Alpha CRC (Transcreation), a company that offers transcreation as one of its services. The translator is seen as taking an active, creative part in the communication process. Transcreation is an approach used in particular for websites, marketing and advertising texts (Translating is an art).

The concept of transcreation thus borders on localisation, which means adapting a text to a particular audience or local market (Cronin 2003, Sprung (ed.) 2000). However, localisation is mainly used for software, manuals, user instructions, etc., and is not associated with the idea of creativity in the way that transcreation is.

Text material

As an example of web texts that may be regarded as the result of transcreation, features of the websites (in Norwegian) and (in English) will be discussed below. The texts have been chosen because they illustrate how the Norwegian company Marine Harvest (please see below for details) chooses to communicate with a Norwegian and an international audience, respectively, through a combination of semiotic resources.

Marine Harvest ASA is a group based in Norway, and “is the world’s leading seafood company offering farmed salmon and processed seafood to customers in more than 50 markets worldwide.” It has operations in 22 countries and employs 6,500 people (see The Norwegian site focuses on operations in Norway, while the international site presents the group from the perspective of its worldwide activities. The pages have some identical and some diverging content. An alternative way of presenting a company with international operations would be to present the parent company in both language versions using the same content, both visual and verbal, which would then imply a translation in a more traditional sense than with these web pages.

Methodological considerations

The framework for analysis will be multimodal social semiotics. This approach seems particularly relevant, as social semiotics focuses on how communicators use semiotic resources, whether verbal or visual, to realise certain interests (van Leeuwen 2005, Kress 2010, Machin and Mayr 2012). The resources deployed in these multimodal texts are described and then analysed, to determine how they are employed in this context for this specific purpose, taking into account the fact that corporate websites are anchored in a social context as part of corporate communication.

Social semiotics is rooted in Michael Halliday’s systemic functional grammar (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004, van Leeuwen 2005, Jewitt 2009/2011). According to this theory, the social functions of grammar are realised through the three metafunctions of language; the ideational, interpersonal and textual functions. In multimodal approaches, these metafunctions are applied to all semiotic resources (Jewitt 2009/2011: 24). The ideational function of a semiotic resource is an expression of what goes on in the world, the interpersonal function is an expression of the relationship between those who interact with the text, and the textual function relates to the organisation of the text. As noted by Jewitt, “[a]nother way of thinking about the metafunctions is as meaning potential, that is, ‘what can be meant’ or ‘what can be done’ with a particular set of modal (semiotic) resources” (ibid.). The application of a social semiotic approach can thus be a useful tool for translators in handling multimodal texts.

The present analysis will include a description of the semiotic resources used, including verbal text, images, animations and layout, and a comparison of some of the choices made on the two sites, with the purpose of showing how the communicative purpose is achieved through transcreation.

The websites

The Norwegian and the international site have the same layout (see Figures 1-4).

Marine Harvest Norway
Figure 1. Marine Harvest Norway: homepage1.

Marine Harvest worldwide
Figure 2: Marine Harvest worldwide: homepage.

  Marine Harvest Norway: Sjømat og helse
Figure 3: Marine Harvest Norway: Sjømat og helse [Seafood and health].

Marine Harvest Norway: Seafood & health
Figure 4: Marine Harvest worldwide: Seafood & health.

Vertically, the homepages are divided into three sections. The upper section comprises the logo of the parent company, Marine Harvest, in black and white, while to the right, there are links, in white letters on a black background, giving access to contact information and international pages and providing an opportunity for information search. Below is a navigation bar with eight links. The links are not in quite the same order on the Norwegian and on the international sites; for instance, the ‘Career’ link is in the right-hand-most position in the English version, while the ‘Karriere’ link is third from the right in Norwegian, which may indicate a difference in emphasis on the item in the two contexts. These links are displayed on a salmon-coloured background, which appears as a horizontal bar across the top of the page.

Below the bar, the main section of the homepages has a horizontal division where two thirds is occupied by an image. There are differences between the two pages in the imagery occupying this main section, a point which will be dealt with below. Below the image there are two frames. A vertical bar on the right-hand side is divided into five frames. All of these frames contain hyperlinks to subpages. The content of these frames is different in the two language versions. As of May 2013, the Norwegian page has links to Bærekraftrapporter ‘Sustainability reports,’ Investor ‘Investor,’ Marine Harvest Fondet ‘The Marine Harvest Fund,’ Jobb i Marine Harvest ‘Jobs in Marine Harvest,’ Om Marine Harvest Norway ‘About Marine Harvest Norway,’ Laks er viktig for Norge ‘Salmon is important to Norway’ and Overvåking av lakselus ‘Surveillance of sea lice.’ The international page contains the section headers “Marine Harvest worldwide,” “Products,” “Investor,” “Seafood value chain” and “Latest news”; in the two sections under the slideshow there are, as of May 2013, details of the Annual General Meeting and information about a proposed merger. The difference in headers between the Norwegian and international site indicates a target orientation with respect to content. For instance, the link to details on sea lice is potentially of great interest to many Norwegians as fish in several rivers have been affected, which constitutes a problem related to the angling of wild salmon. Dealing with this issue, the company may appear as showing responsibility, thus establishing ethos vis-à-vis Norwegians. This topic might not have the same interest for and effect on international readers, and this may explain why it is not presented on the homepage of the international site. Investor information may, on the other hand, be equally important to the two audiences as a possible merger between Marine Harvest and another important company in this line of business, Cermaq, has been the subject of great attention lately in Norway and in the industry generally.

At the bottom of the Norwegian page is a horizontal bar consisting of a black field where the links from the navigation bar at the top are repeated, the logo is repeated, and to the right, the name “Marine Harvest Norway,” e-mail address, telephone number, street address, postal address and copyright information are presented. The same field appears on the international page, except that here the group name “Marine Harvest” is listed and the information is otherwise presented in English.

The vertical top and bottom fields appear on every page both in the Norwegian and international versions. The resources chosen in the top section serve several functions. On the ideational level, they constitute a means for the company to present itself, first by means of the logo, and secondly via the colour which has a clear link to the company’s main product, salmon, and to its line of business. The navigation bar is another means of providing company information since it gives access to subpages with further details. On the interpersonal level, viewers are invited to interact by means of clickable links to navigate around the site and choose their individual reading paths. And finally, the textual function is taken care of in several ways. The hypertext structure of web texts is one means of connecting different pages of a website and make it a coherent whole, as well as making connections to a related site, in this case the international site. Each website is a network of texts, with links giving access to other pages and with the homepage as a “global portal,” to use Garzone’s term (2009: 159). On the Marine Harvest sites, coherence is also established by the fact that the same sections and colours are found on each page and in both language versions.

While the elements just mentioned are parallel on all pages and the English components appear to be the product of translation, a transcreation process is more evident in the middle sections of the pages where the contents are more clearly geared to different audiences. The Norwegian homepage has an image that dominates much of the page and attracts immediate attention. It is in shades of blue, depicting a fjord, snow-capped mountains and sunrays beaming down the mountainside. Embedded, is a text in English: “Your salmon lives here,” and below that, in Norwegian, an invitation to click a link to see a film. The use of English so centrally on the Norwegian page is in line with the rapidly growing use of English for marketing purposes, for instance as an attention-getter, in ostensibly non-English-speaking environments (Bhatia 2006: 607–608). The English wording here is efficient and also captures the connotations inherent in the film, as will be shown below. A corresponding Norwegian text, Laksen din bor her, would fall flat. So the English wording can be seen as a creative element, just as “[t]he use of English is motivated by the deeper, creative desires on the part of advertisers” (Bhatia 2006: 610).

The image itself carries many connotations for Norwegians; beautiful scenery, clean water, fresh air, natural surroundings, etc., indicating that the salmon have the best living conditions, which should ensure good and healthy food. The colour blue reinforces the impression of a serene, crisp and sound environment. In fact, the emotional associations with the colour blue are peaceful, soothing, tranquil, cool and trusting (Bovée and Thill 2010: 540), all of which are positive connotations that reinforce the image of the company.

The film starts with snow-capped mountains, continues on the fjord and shows fish swimming in the water, net pens, boats and people engaged in fish-farming work. The final scene repeats the words “Your salmon lives here.” This line sums up the implicit message in the film of safe food and a responsible producer. Music accompanies the images, but no oral comments are made. Ideationally, the film tells the viewer about the company’s location, environment and operations. The interpersonal level is evident from the fact that the viewer has to interact through a click to see the film and also be emotionally involved through the images and connotations. In addition, the use of the personal pronoun ‘you’ contributes to fulfil the interpersonal function. Textually, the blue colour creates coherence within the film, and its connotations are closely related to the page as a whole.

By means of these metafunctions, the film works rhetorically through ethos, pathos and logos arguments. Ethos is established by the fact that the company is portrayed as a producer of seafood based on raw materials from a clean environment, which again indicates responsibility on the part of the company. The beautiful scenery is combined with musical appeal to the viewer’s feelings, which is a pathos argument that contributes to creating a favourable attitude to the company. And finally, logos is instantiated through the factual elements of the film. The various semiotic resources employed thus work synergistically together to achieve the purpose of creating a positive image of the company and its products.

Turning now to the international pages, the same image is shown, but this time not as the first motif in a film, but as part of a slideshow of four still photos. The tagline “Your salmon lives here” is superimposed on the image on a black background, along with the following hyperlinked phrase: “Cold, clear waters give fresh, tasty salmon.” This can be seen as an example of meaning being transduced from one semiotic resource to another. The international reader is assumed to have a different knowledge base than the Norwegian reader, and adaptations are made accordingly. Information which is implicit on the Norwegian page is made explicit on the international page. By clicking on the hypertext phrase, the viewer is taken to the same film as on the Norwegian page.

Making certain implicit elements explicit to bridge knowledge gaps in the receiving end of a translation process is a normal procedure to achieve the intended function of a target text. In these web pages, however, the process is drawn further than just providing explicit information to understand the connotations of a statement, whether in the form of a verbal message or a photograph. Here, the explicit information is offered along with an opportunity for the viewer to navigate further to see a film. The creator of the page has provided background information to ensure appreciation of another semiotic resource, namely a film.

Returning to the homepage on the international site, the other three images show fish swimming in a net pen, slices of salmon, and salmon served on a sandwich, respectively, all with clickable verbal texts that lead to information under the headings of “Sustainability” for two of the photos, and “Seafood & health” for the fourth. These subpages are also accessible through the navigation bar at the top and bottom of each page.
The subpages have a clickable menu to the left, verbal text and images in the middle and verbal information to the right, some of it hypertextual.

While, as mentioned earlier, the salmon-coloured field is the same in the two language versions, the information on the subpages on the international site is generally more extensive than on the Norwegian pages, and the imagery is also different, as will be seen below. The pages on seafood and health may serve as an example (refer to Figures 3 and 4 above).

The organisation of these pages is the same in the two versions while the quantity of links and verbal text is greater on the English page. In the left hand column, the English version has ten clickable elements including information on the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, diseases, mental health, behaviour and development of children, external links, FAQ and glossary. The Norwegian page has three links leading to information on recommendations for eating fatty fish, fatty acids, and nutrient content. On the Norwegian page, three other sections are included, while the English page has five sections. In both versions, the verbal texts above the images point out the health benefits of seafood.

On the Norwegian page (Figure 3), the photograph shows seafood elegantly presented in the form of sushi. The content of the image is closely related to the theme of the page, and can be seen as an elaboration as it exemplifies what has been stated linguistically. According to van Leeuwen (2005), the relationship between imagery and verbal text can be regarded as either “elaboration” or “extension” of either element. If an image is classified as an elaboration, it is an explanation or a specification of the verbal text, while an extension adds information. The distinctions between the two concepts are, however, not always clear-cut. The photograph on the international page (Figure 4) can be seen as an extension. Not only does it show a healthy young woman, but the direction of her gaze and her arms function as vectors pointing into the image at clear blue water and natural surroundings, the habitat of the seafood produced by the company, again with the colour blue supporting the message. With her open hands, she invites the viewer to take it all in; clean and fresh environments, high quality fish, healthy food, reliable producer, etc. The interpretation of the photograph is also to a certain extent dependent on the information on the homepage of the website where connotations are made explicit: “Cold, clear waters give fresh, tasty salmon”.

On these subpages, the ideational function dominates in the verbal texts, both in Norwegian and English. The subjects of the sentences are in the third person, mainly related to seafood and nutrients, and the overall content is informative. The heading on the Norwegian subpage is: Laks er sunt ‘Salmon is healthy,’ and the text continues as follows: Laks er noe av det sunneste du kan spise. Fisk inneholder viktige næringsstoffer som kroppen får for lite av gjennom mandre matvarer. Laks har i tillegg et høyt innhold av omega-3[‘Salmon is among the most healthy food you can eat. Fish contains important nutrients which your body will not get enough of through other types of food. In addition, salmon has a high content of omega-3.’. The corresponding international page has the following text: “The health benefits of seafood. Seafood does not only taste good - it is also good for your mental and physical health. The presence of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids makes seafood a healthy choice.” Although the two language versions are similar in that the informative aspect is dominant in both, they differ somewhat in content. The English text brings in more elements than the Norwegian one, such as mental and physical health, and is also more concrete, mentioning vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. On the international site, there is also an interplay between the verbal text and the image of the healthy-looking woman, connoting a connection between nutritious food and an attractive appearance.

The image showing sushi on the Norwegian page can also be seen as informative, but at the same time operating on the interpersonal level as it may be interpreted as a promotional effort to tempt the viewer to buy salmon. The image of the woman on the international site functions more on the interpersonal level as it invites the viewer to make his/her own interpretations and draw own conclusion on the basis of the clues given. So, these two subpages show how the creator has dealt with one core element, seafood and health, but developed the theme differently for different audiences. A corresponding approach has been applied on the other subpages.


The Norwegian and international websites of Marine Harvest have been analysed as examples of how the core content of a multimodal text can be presented on a Norwegian and international site respectively through a process of transcreation. On the one hand, a unified corporate image and coherence are created by the logo, the colours and a consistent layout throughout the pages in both languages. On the other hand, the content of the two versions differs with respect to both verbal text and imagery so that differences in expected awareness and cultural orientation among the audiences have been taken into account. At the same time, the purpose of presenting the company and its products and establishing its ethos has been maintained.

The final result has been achieved by a consideration of the affordances offered by various semiotic resources, a selection has been made, and the relevant resources have been deployed. With awareness of multimodal semiotic resources and their meaning potentials, translators can be involved in and take responsibility of multimodal communication processes, as well as providing valuable inputs on cultural aspects related to cross-linguistic texts. On the assumption that the realm of the work of translators is moving towards a convergence of translation and text production, the concept of transcreation can contribute to broadening the scope of the translator’s part in the communicative process. This may have implications on how translation is viewed and taught in educational institutions, as well as how both translators and clients see the services which translators are able to supply to facilitate intercultural communication.

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Rike pictureSissel Marie Rike is Assistant Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway, with translation of LSP texts as her area of specialisation. She is also a government authorised translator of Norwegian and English, and has long practical experience with translation of a variety of document types. She is currently involved in the research project “Multimodality and cultural change” at the University of Agder. E-mail address:

Note 1:
Images courtesy of Marine Harvest.
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