A few weeks ago, we started discussing various terms related to the translation field. So far, we have covered three main terms; translation, localization, and globalization. One which we did not cover in detail is transcreation.

Transcreation is a highly specific term, which overlaps with all of the terms we’ve covered previously, in the sense that it contains many of the same elements, but is not identical to any of them.

What is transcreation?

When we are talking about translating a brand or a very specific product, we immediately see many of the challenges which both the translators and companies would face. As seen with localization and globalization, adapting the message, slogans and visual identity are very detailed and time-consuming processes, unless companies want to end up shooting themselves in the foot and making things worse than before the process was started.

Transcreation is the process which companies need to go through in order to check all the boxes. As the name says, the company will not just translate the content word-for-word; they will create actual new content for each individual target market, depending on the target audience.

Transcreation = Translation + Creative Writing

Transcreation is mostly used for marketing and advertising materials, such as brochures, slogans, and websites. The process can be divided into four main stages:

#1. Classifying the type of materials

When entering a new market, companies will need to localize a lot of the content, from legal to marketing. As already mentioned above, the best candidates for transcreation are materials that shape the identity of the brand in the eye of the beholder.

#2. Hiring the right people 

As with any type of content, the language service provider working on such a project needs to find the right people for the job. For instance, with technical texts, the LSP would use translators that have an extensive background in tech.

For transcreation projects, they would involve copywriting native speakers who understand the brand, and who have the imagination to copy-write new content for the target market.

Another two important things in this process are the involvement of the client and proper stylistic guidelines that the person working on the transcreation can follow.

#3.Visual identity

As already mentioned, transcreation doesn’t only involve the textual content only, but also the visuals used in the target market. As an example, Red Bull has shed its traditional colors in the Chinese market. There, they use gold, red, and black, since gold and red are considered to be colors associated with luck or prestige in China.

This is one of the aspects that needs to be harmonized with both the client and the marketing department. The person working on the transcreation can point out certain problems with the visual identity, but the client will have to decide on how to approach this, and often develop a new and separate visual identity for the new market.

#4. Review and optimization

This is also a step that requires the client’s involvement. Unlike technical texts, which can be compared more easily to the source, transcreated content needs to be reviewed in a different light. Was the message conveyed?

Will the content work with the new visual identity? Is this new content optimized for search engines? Many such questions will come up in the final review phase. By working closely with the client, the gap can be bridged more easily, of course.

As you can see, transcreation can be pretty tricky. If you need support with such projects, reach out to us and our dedicated team will be glad to help!