Transcreation: Getting Your Message Across

Transcreation for Marketing and Advertising
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To connect and engage with your multilingual audience, you have to communicate with them in meaningful ways. This means that the copy you write needs to be professionally translated and, in some cases, transcreated to resonate with your audience.

But, wait, what is transcreation and how is it different from translation? 

Transcreation is a type of translation typically used for marketing taglines, product names, brand slogans, movie titles, or other materials where the original meaning and intent needs to be re-created in its target language because a literal translation doesn’t exist for the audience. Transcreation allows the translator more creative freedom to convey the meaning behind the content across languages.  

Transcreation Process

Transcreation often starts with a creative brief, just like copywriting or marketing projects. We first need to understand the intent behind the source content. So, instead of translating a slogan word-by-word, for example, we understand the meaning of the slogan in the source language, describe it, and then recreate the meaning in another language. 

Sometimes, with transcreation, the content in the target language could use a completely different set of words than the original. But, the translation will preserve the intended effect on your audience. 

Understanding the cultural nuances of the language and region of the intended audiences proves key to the transcreation process. Preserving the intent, context, and tone of the original message through transcreation avoids translation mishaps. 

Share a Coke
Share a Coke campaign has been a great success internationally due to localization and transcreation. Photo source: bevindustry.com

We’ll use an example from Coca Cola to illustrate the points about the importance of transcreation. When Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” marketing campaign launched in the U.S., it used labels with popular American names on them to create a personal connection between the consumer and the brand. When Coca Cola expanded into China, using popular names on the bottles would not have had the same personal effect as it did in the U.S. This is because it’s more common in China to address someone using a surname and not a first name. So, they could have used surnames instead, but, Coca Cola thought this didn’t quite convey the “personal connection” idea of the original campaign. So, in China, instead of translating the names in the U.S. campaign, or even using names at all, they transcreated nicknames like “friend” or “buddy” on the labels. This is a great example of how transcreation can help bridge the gap between language and culture while staying true to the original messaging and intent.

We partner with you to understand your unique project goals and identify which content needs to be translated, localized, or transcreated. Most of the time, a combination of some or all of the services are used when we work on marketing translation or movie subtitling projects.

If you want your message to resonate with your audiences around the world, contact us. We’d love to discuss your project goals!

Want to see more like this?

We periodically share news and updates about language and our business. We’ll never share your contact information with anyone.