1 Object Result

HCI Platform: collection:

Fostering a Culture of Transcreation for Improving Mistranslation and Miscommunication (2020)

Curators: Laura Burnes, Stella Fundingsland, Tesia Kosmalski, and Cara Stromback | University of Minnesota | May 2020

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

Closely-related Fabric collection: What Language Sounds Like: Wearable Devices in Translation Communication (2019)

Our world is becoming increasingly connected through globalization. As ideas, research, products, and technologies are spread internationally, how do we create a sense of community and shared experience? As there are over 7,000 languages spoken around the world in 2020, the need for translation services and the systems that support it have evolved to meet the growing demand (Ethnologue, n.d.). Words alone, however, do not always convey the intent of the message or bridge the gaps between cultures. To effectively communicate across a global audience, we must move beyond the literal translation of words to the concept of transcreation. Transcreation is “the creation of content in the target language that is inspired by the source, but highly adapted for the language and culture where it will be used” (Bell, 2018).  In other words, transcreation focuses on creating culturally sensitive content for users and considers the context of both languages to reduce miscommunication. Embracing the concept of transcreation can help people and companies connect on a deeper level and help us avoid mistranslation.

Our transcreation collection explores the intersections of language translation, culture, and emerging technology. Through the artifacts provided, we explore how this interconnected nature has the potential to improve global communication. By harnessing emerging technology that focuses on cultural competence and understanding, we can create consistent messaging and reduce mistranslation. With artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robots, videos and wearable devices, translation technology is advancing rapidly with the potential to break down cultural barriers and eliminate translation errors. Neural machine translation (NMT) is the foundation for many of these new technologies. NMT is a machine translation approach that utilizes an artificial neural network to predict the likelihood of word sequences. These predictions are necessary to keep pace with complex real-time translation and verbal interactions.

A few examples of emerging real-time translation technologies from our collection include:
  • Wireless earbuds augment face-to-face conversations for people who don’t share a common language.
  • Highly sophisticated portable AI devices facilitate complex real-time translation.
  • Multilingual Augmented Reality AR-based systems communicate instructions for global employees.
As technology begins to break down language barriers, there is the need for cultural awareness surrounding those devices. Perhaps, a globally distributed AI translation device will look like Star Wars’ C-3PO? Or humanoid robots will represent more people by seamlessly adjusting regional accents? The larger picture is, by utilizing the principles of transcreation, translation technology has the potential to bridge cultural gaps, foster more sincere communication and improve our shared human experience.


Bell, T. (2018). Translation, Localization, Transcreation: What’s the Difference? CMSWire. Retrieved from https://www.cmswire.com/digital-experience/translation-localization-transcreation-whats-the-difference/
Ethnologue: Languages of the World (n.d.)How many languages are there in the world?
Retrieved from https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/how-many-languages

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