Get Creative with Transcreation

What is it, and how can it be used with global marketing?

Defining Transcreation

The most basic definition of translation is the process of translating words or text from one language into another. But we all know that it is so much more than that! Content is created in a source language to serve a specific purpose. Look at marketing and creative content, for example. There are many goals for marketing your content. Some include brand awareness, brand loyalty, customer education, and customer engagement. Creative phrasing, logos, and artwork are used to evoke emotion and make content more interesting.

Many companies are marketing globally. Because we are a multilingual world, they are seeking the help of translation agencies to help make their content available in other languages. When we are talking marketing, we are talking transcreation.

Think of transcreation as a fusion of translation, localization, and copywriting. It is taking source copy, translating it, but adding a creative touch and a local flavor. When an in-country, native-speaking linguist transcreates copy, they are doing their best to make sure that that the content evokes the same emotion in the target language. Content such as logos, marketing campaigns, taglines, and product pages are examples of things that can be transcreated.

Things To Remember

  • When developing content, we always like to say “keep translation in mind.” The same applies for transcreation. Taglines are often idioms that are culturally-specific, so they may not make sense in other locales.
  • Transcreation may take more time than standard translation, since there is more work involved with multilingual copywriting.
  • Make sure your graphics and slogans won’t offend other cultures. Cultural consulting can help with that!
  • An LSP will use in-country native speakers who have backgrounds in copywriting to perform transcreation. We also recommend that any transcreated projects be signed off in the market that they will be used in by a product manager or reviewer. You can never be too careful! In fact, we encourage client review and welcome feedback!

For Example
We know you’ve read about those infamous brand tagline translation fails. However, many brands have gotten it right! McDonald’s first global marketing campaign, “I’m lovin’ it,” was launched in 2003. The fast food chain transcreated the tagline into 20 languages and tailored the meaning for each culture. For example, in Chinese, the phrase was changed to “I just like (it),” since the meaning of the word love in China is taken very seriously.

In short, transcreation is taking the essence of a message and re-creating it in another language or dialect. If you want to learn more about LinguaLinx’s transcreation and global marketing services, visit this page or contact us today!


  1. Anna Maria Sciacca 04.07.15

    just read your post on transcreation, very useful indeed. I am a professional freelancer translator – occasionally I have also collaborated with you – and I’m also in active in transcreation.
    I would be interested in taking some training on transcreation. Do you organise webinars or online training days that I could attend from abroad?
    Thank you for sharing your experience and for your attention.
    Anna Maria

  2. Caitlin Nicholson 04.09.15

    Hi Anna Maria,

    Thank you for the positive feedback and for reading our article! We do not offer any training sessions at this time, but I will update you if we do in the future.

    If there are any other topics you’d like to see covered, let us know!

    All the best,


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