What is transcreation?

Whilst there’s a fine line between translation and localization, the same can be said about localization and transcreation. Generally speaking, content must be transcreated if it contains:

  • Very specific cultural references that won’t be understood in countries other than the country of origin or that would require long paraphrases.

  • Space constraints, a common problem for texts such as web page headers, social media posts, or AdWords advertisements.

  • Visual constraints, for example if the text creates a dialog with images, graphic elements, or even just emojis.

  • Hashtags, which often require changing round the original syntax and grammar.

  • Wordplays and rhymes, commonly found in taglines or advertising jingles.

But these are just some examples of structural issues. Besides overcoming linguistic obstacles, transcreation shifts the attention from the meaning to the emotional effect the content has on the reader. Expert transcreators not only have an extremely creative mind and high command of the language, but they also know how to capture the essence of the source text and reproduce it almost from scratch: A process closer to copywriting than translation.


What are the benefits of transcreation?

Marketing content is fundamental for promoting a company’s identity or products. To also sound natural and engaging abroad, the original message must be stimulating and effective for the specific user persona from the market in question. Marketing translations allow for a certain degree of freedom with regard to the original text, but they must still reproduce the meaning in a faithful way. However, when the original is a slogan, an ad, or an entire promotional campaign, a higher level of adaptation is needed compared to normal translation. This is where transcreation comes into play.

With transcreation, the register, vocabulary, tone of voice, and emotional nature of the original text are adapted to the cultural context of the target country. This process is particularly important for content marketing, where the aim isn’t to promote a product or service, but to create an experience. And to feel part of an experience, the end customer must feel that the text is speaking right to them. By relying on us, you can be sure that your most creative marketing content will generate the same engagement across all the markets in which you’ll be distributing it.


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