Transcreation The Secret to Successful Globalization

Transcreation: The Secret to Successful Globalization

In today’s global marketplace, businesses that are looking to expand on a global scale must carefully consider their communication strategies. Companies that do not adapt their messaging and branding to fit the cultural nuances and preferences of their target audiences run the risk of failing to resonate with and even offending potential customers. This is where transcreation can really come in handy.

Unlike direct translation services that solely focus on translating words and phrases from one language to another, transcreation involves changing content elements to fit the local culture and linguistic nuances of the target market the content is intending to reach.

Transcreation takes into account cultural norms and values, humor, metaphors, and other cultural aspects specific to the target audience. Transcreation is crucial for international expansion because it ensures that a company’s message is not only accurately translated but also effectively communicated. It can also help avoid major accidental faux pas that can ruin your launch in a new market. These are four examples of major brand blunders that transcreation could have helped businesses avoid.

Keep reading for more insight into why transcreation is the secret to successful globalization.

The benefits of transcreation in the globalization of a company

The benefits of transcreation in the globalization of a company are numerous. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them:

  • Higher engagement. By editing the images, words, and other content elements to suit better the customers they’re trying to reach, businesses can achieve higher engagement with potential customers. When devoting ample time, resources, and money to a new launch, the last thing you want is for your content to fall flat.
  • Improved ROI. Increased levels of engagement can translate into an improved return on investment (ROI), as highly engaged customers are more likely to convert.
  • Better brand positioning. By using transcreation to appeal to the local culture, businesses can achieve a stronger and more recognizable brand presence in the target market. This positioning is key for establishing a brand’s credibility and reputation in a new market.
  • Avoid cultural mishaps. Transcreation can help businesses avoid cultural mishaps that can arise from a lack of understanding of the target market’s cultural norms and values. These mishaps can include inappropriate language, imagery, or other cultural references that can offend potential customers.

For all these reasons—and more—it is essential to work with transcreation professionals who are experts on the target market culture when undertaking transcreation. These expert transcreators understand the nuances of the local culture and can ensure that all elements of a product or brand communication are appropriately adapted to fit the target audience.

The Takeaway

Transcreation is a vital component of any global growth strategy. By using transcreation to customize products and content to their target audience, businesses can achieve higher engagement, improved ROI, better brand positioning, and avoid cultural mishaps—all in one fell swoop. To take advantage of these benefits, companies must work with professionals who are well-versed in the culture and language of their target audience.

4 Brand Blunders that Transcreation could have Avoided -Portada

4 Brand Blunders that Transcreation could have Avoided

Entering a foreign market can be a great move if your goal is to grow your business by reaching new audiences. However, this goal welcomes a unique set of challenges. When it comes to translating content into different languages, brands can make major blunders that impact their success in a new market—especially if they don’t take the target country’s culture into account.

To better understand how mistakes can occur, we’re going to look at four real-life examples of brands who had major blunders occur after entering new markets. Blunders which could have been easily avoided with market research and transcreation.


To celebrate the 40th National Day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), PUMA launched a new shoe design using the country’s flag colors. This seemed like a great marketing initiative at first glance. The problem? The shoe included a respected symbol on an item that is considered very dirty in Arab culture. Puma didn’t intend to cause offense, but by not taking the cultural sensitivity surrounding this symbol into account, they caused mass offense, had to issue an apology, and needed to remove the shoes from stores.

Hiring a target market specialist who is familiar with the local culture and what is considered offensive could have helped avoid this disastrous launch.

P&G for Pampers–1970s

In the 1970’s P&G for Pampers ran a campaign in Japan that seemed really charming at first glance from an American perspective. The ad included a stork delivering diapers to a mom. Storks are frequently associated with delivering new babies to their parents in America, but in Japan folklore tells stories of newborns arriving via a giant peach floating down the river. While the inclusion of a stork didn’t cause offense, it didn’t strike a chord either and consumers simply ignored the commercial which wasn’t an effective use of marketing dollars. A skilled transcreator may have known that the commercial wouldn’t resonate and would be a bit of a flop. They could have helped create a high-quality final product.


Pepsi entered China using a slogan that they intended to translate to “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life.” What the phrase actually translated to? “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” Ancestor worship is an important part of Chinese culture, so this slogan did not have the effect it intended. Not only could a transcreator with proper knowledge of the local language and culture have translated the phrase properly, but they could have ensured no major culture faux pas occurred.

Braniff Airlines—1987

In the late 1980’s Braniff Airlines ran ads on televisions, radios, and in newspapers to let everyone know that their jets had luxe all-leather seats. In the Florida market, they ran ads on Spanish-language radio stations. The result? Accidentally revealing an unintended double entendre. Their slogan for the campaign was “fly in leather”. In Spanish, this translates to fly “en cuero” which sounds like Spanish slang for “fly naked”. While some suspected this scandalous move was intended, the executive who created the ad confirmed the double entendre was in fact an accident.

Again—this could have been an easy mistake for a transcreator to catch.

We all make mistakes and that’s okay, but whenever possible, it’s very helpful to learn from the mistakes of others! Especially when you’re spending a lot of time and resources to launch in a new target market.


What does the transcreation process look like?

Transcreation takes the translation process a step further. Oftentimes a direct translation simply doesn’t do the trick. With transcreation the translator takes extra steps to ensure the nuance of the language translation is clear. Humor, culture, and literary devices are examples of when transcreation can do the job much better than a simple translation. As the name implies, transcreation is a creative process and is a process that can’t be rushed.

Let’s take a closer look at what the transcreation process looks like.


To start the transcreation process, the transcreator analyzes the client request and makes sure they understand the scope and requirements of the project thoroughly. They will analyze the transcreation brief to understand the content that needs transcreation and if there isn’t a creative brief, they will try to gather all the information necessary that would normally be in one. They will also do preliminary research on things such as the industry, product, and client.

The transcreator should not take anything for granted. If there’s something that is not clear in a transcreation brief or because of a lack of one, they should ask the client for clarification.


Once they are confident they have all of the information and context they need, the transcreator will read the source copy again and again. At this point they will identify which are the challenges ahead. For example, does the content have a rhyme in it? Does it use wordplay? Is there an image tied to the text?

Once the challenges are identified, the transcreator will start brainstorming potential ways to overcome them. They will produce several drafts and play around with different ideas. All ideas are okay to float at the beginning and shouldn’t be discarded without taking the time to think them through.

They will continue doing research, looking for inspiration, editing, and polishing what they have, and then they will come up with new options for the copy. At times, they will have to stop, let it sink in and come back to it later with a fresh mind.

Oftentimes, the transcreator will read the copy out loud to test the effect it has. The goal is to catch the consumer’s attention and captivate them. By the end of this process, the transcreator will have two or three good options he or she feels confident about, but the ultimate choice will be the client’s.


Once the transcreator comes up with a few options that would achieve the intended goal in the target language, they will have to submit their work to the client for approval. This is generally done through a sheet where the transcreator presents the different options in the target language, provides a back translation for each option so that the client understands what is actually being said in the target language, provides an explanation for each option, and states why they work for the target market. If the transcreator prefers one option over the others, they can express this as well as the reason why they chose that specific option so the client can understand their thought process.

The Takeaway

Transcreation is a complex process that takes time to get right. Giving a transcreator a long enough timeline to do ample research and to not rush the creative process is key. It’s always best to leave a little wiggle room to overcome challenges and to work together to fine tune the final copy.

Common Transcreation Challenges to Look Out For - Portada

Common Transcreation Challenges to Look Out For

Transcreation takes the act of translation a step further. Instead of creating a direct translation, trancreators take elements like culture and humor into account to create custom copy that is tailored to a specific audience. It’s very common to utilize transcreation services when it comes to slogans, video games, ad campaigns, and social media content.

Transcreation projects may be very short in the sense that the final copy may only be a few words long (like with a slogan), but since the work required is purely creative, the transcreator faces many challenges before coming up with the perfect target text.

Here are a few transcreation challenges transcreators tend to run into.

Specific knowledge of the industry, target audience, client, and product

Before tackling a transcreation project, the transcreator should make sure they know the industry or product their content is about inside and out. If they aren’t familiar with it, the transcreator should research the industry and related terminology in depth in order to know in which ways they can use its jargon in a creative or persuasive way. A transcreation brief can also aid in providing the transcreator with all the information necessary to complete the project. Familiarity with the target audience is of utmost importance and not knowing exactly who the text is targeting can present a real challenge. Not only in terms of language variant, for example, but also where they live and what generation they belong to.

Lack of context

It’s not unusual for the transcreator to only receive an email with the sentence that needs to be transcreated. However, this isn’t enough information for them to go off of, as blindly translating copy is an impossible task. Knowing how and where the content will be displayed is extremely helpful to the tanscreator. If this is not taken into account, the client runs the risk of having a target text that is not effective.

Images tied to the source text

Frequently the content that needs to be transcreated has an image attached to it which can present a challenge for the trancreator. When a piece of copy needs to relate to a select image, the transcreator’s creativity becomes restricted as they must come up with a solution that also goes well with that image. Consider the example shown in this video with the phrase “why the long face?”.

Character limits

Space is valuable real estate when it comes to ads and other marketing mediums, so character limit restrictions are often the number one enemy of the transcreator. Words in some languages are longer than in English, so the target text regularly expands as soon as it is translated.

Character limits can force the transcreator to look for ways to convey the same intention of the original copy with other words or creative devices that use less space. Even if there’s not an actual character limit, the transcreator should strive to make the transcreation no more than 10% longer than the source. Otherwise, the copy becomes wordy and loses impact. In our fast-paced world, people want clear and concise messages—they don’t want to read long-winded text.

Cultural references

Incorporating cultural elements into marketing content can help the customer relate better. Nevertheless, when taking products to new markets, these cultural elements should be reassessed and adapted by the transcreator to fit the target culture. This can be a challenging part of the transcreation process.

Idioms, puns, wordplays and rhymes

These creative devices spice up the language and make messages funny, witty, and more engaging. Ultimately, these devices can make copy memorable, but when it comes time to take it to the target language they are almost impossible to replicate (especially considering the challenges discussed above).

To overcome this, the transcreator strives to look for other devices, from the target language, that can help evoke the same emotional response or create the same impact. On occasions, the transcreator has to choose between content or form. This is of course an impossible choice, but at times it is not necessary to keep the rhyme if the text maintains the rhythm.

The Takeaway

Transcreation is not a process that should be rushed. Taking the time needed to overcome these challenges can lead to a much higher quality final product. It also helps immensely to have someone working on the project who is very experienced in transcreation work as they will be best equipped at dealing with these challenges.


Why Transcreation Briefs are Necessary Before Starting a Transcreation Project

When working with a transcreation specialist, it is extremely helpful to have a high quality transcreation brief on hand. Having a thorough transcreation brief at the ready can improve both the speed of the transcreation process and the final quality of the content delivered.

Transcreation is a time-consuming process that requires ample research. You can speed up the process, and limit confusion, by creating a brief that tells the transcreator the key information they need to know to get started. Outlining things like idioms, culture-specific terms, double meanings, and imagery that is specific to your brand in the transcreation brief can provide some much-needed clarity from the get go.

Let’s take a closer look at the questions a transcreation brief should answer.

Questions a Transcreation Brief Should Answer

Not sure where to start when creating a transcreation brief? Consider adding the answers to the following questions to your brief.

Questions About the Brand

Unless the transcreator is already familiar with your brand, make sure to introduce them to who you are, what you do, and what your brand values are. This will help the transcreator deliver the message in a way that aligns with your usual branding efforts.

  • What is the brand?
  • What is the product or service?
  • Why is this product or service different from the competition?
  • What is the brand essence (personality and voice)?
  • What does the brand stand for (mission and values)?

Questions About the Campaign

When you identify answers to important questions about the campaign the transcreator will work on, take care to clearly define your audience. Doing so will allow the linguist to work with specific references that may or may not be perceived by all age or social groups in your target audience.

  • What is the purpose of the campaign?
  • What message should the campaign convey?
  • Who is the target audience of this campaign?
  • What response are you looking for?
  • What should the customers’ next steps be after consuming your brand’s content?

Questions About Style Preferences

When it comes to style preferences, you’ll want to pay big attention to what you do and don’t want the transcreator to say. For example, a brand may want the transcreator to stay away from certain words or concepts that are against its values or their messaging. On the other hand, the brand may be used to referring to certain ideas or using select words to convey their personality and may want to make sure that style carries through to this project.

The source copy is likely already a very creative copy that may include wordplays or other creative devices. While the meaning may be evident, it’s helpful to explain why it was chosen and what it accomplishes in the copy. Is the aim to make the reader laugh? Is the aim to use an analogy? This helps the transcreator create the same effect using different creative devices in the target language.

It can also be helpful to share your plans for the campaign, such as where the copy they’re working on will appear (such as a social media ad, billboard ad, or TV commercial). This information will help the transcreator put themselves in the target audience’s shoes and guess how this message will come across in a certain medium.

  • Are there any things or concepts you want to avoid?
  • What things or concepts should be included?
  • Where is the copy going to appear?
  • Are there reference materials or other relevant websites?
  • Are there space limitations such as character limitations or a max word count?
  • In which format should the job be delivered?
  • Are there any special clarifications regarding wordplays or jargon?
  • Will there any other visual assets accompany the copy?

Visuals are an important part of a marketing text or campaign. Send your transcreator all the visuals you can possibly provide: mood boards, brochures, websites, outdoor posters, etc. Anything that might be useful should be included. Remember those previously mentioned wordplays? Well, they often relate to the visuals of a campaign. If your linguist is missing them, they may miss the campaign’s whole point.

The Takeaway

Answering all of these questions in written form may take a lot of time, so if you’re in a time crunch, you can walk your transcreator through these questions verbally on the phone. The essential thing is that all of these aspects are talked about so that the target copy can reflect not only what the source says, but also what the brand/client had in mind when they created it.


Transcreation vs Copywriting—Are They The Same?

Nowadays, there’s more potential than ever for businesses to reach new audiences around the world. So, how can businesses spread the word about their product and services? Transcreation and copywriting are two different areas of focus in marketing—both of which can help a business tell their brand story, distribute their offerings, and reach new audiences.  

Let’s take a look at how copywriting and transcreation vary and when each is needed.  

What is Copywriting? 

The art of copywriting combines creative writing with persuasive writing with the goal of reaching a target audience and persuading them to do something in a given medium. For example, the goal may be to have the potential customer click on a link, provide information about themselves, to fill out a form, or to make a purchase. 

With copywriting projects, the copy is created from scratch in a given language, based on a brief and reference material the client provides the copywriter with. At this point, no translation is involved and the copywriter is likely writing in their native language.  

Copywriting services have evolved a lot during the last decade. In the past, copywriting was something that newspapers and magazines required to come up with catchy headlines, cover story titles, and other forms of copy that would increase their readership and sales. Today, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and new mediums like email, social media, and websites require a different form of copywriting. The aim for copy today is usually to be clear and concise.  

While the message may be brief (a slogan for example) the work that entails is not. Copywriting requires a lot of creative skill in order to come up with effective copy while balancing the data-backed needs of SEO.  

What is Transcreation? 

Transcreation is very different from copywriting, yet involves copywriting skills. While it requires the same creative writing skills that copywriting does, transcreation adds in the essential element of translation to the process. 

Transcreation services are used in the field of multilingual communication and marketing. The result is a persuasive, creative text in a different language. The transcreator works with the copy already produced in one language and comes up with new text in a different language that creates the same effect as the original. As a result of the translation work required, transcreation projects can be much more complex than copywriting projects and bring a number of challenges.  

Before starting a transcreation project, it’s essential that the trancreator receives a transcreation brief. This brief ensures that the creative liberties the transcreator takes are in line with the brand and with what the client ultimately wants to achieve.  

The Takeaway 

Both copywriting and transcreation play pivotal roles in helping businesses extend their reach globally. Copywriting usually comes before transcreation. Once it’s time to reach a new audience that speaks a different language or belongs to a different culture, that’s when you need to transcreate the copy you already created during the initial copywriting phase. 

How to Measure the Quality of a Transcreation Project - Portada

How to Measure the Quality of a Transcreation Project

In business, the stakes are often high. Many times, you have only one chance to nail important business objectives, such as entering a new market, and failure simply cannot happen. This is often the case with projects that require transcreation. For some business objectives, a literal or more straight forward translation can get the job done. When it can’t, that is where transcreation comes in. 

One of the main challenges of transcreation is measuring quality. Doing so can be more difficult than when handling a more typical translation. Transcreation requires a level of creativity that is difficult to measure. Addressing quality while the transcreation process is actually happening is imperative. While quality standards will vary from client to client, there are ways to work towards general quality standards during the transcreation process.

The Transcreation Brief

Before a transcreation project even begins, steps towards quality assurance must be taken. The transcreator can get a strong start on the project with a solid brief that provides context on the purpose of the content they will be transcreating. For example, a marketing campaign will have different transcreation requirements than a movie would. Understanding the purpose is key, as transcreation projects don’t require a word-for-word translation, but instead aim to adapt a piece of content to have a similar meaning while conveying the same feeling in another language. 

While the brief should encourage flexibility and creativity, it must give the transcreator clear guidance on what direction to take. Who will be reading the final text? What was the original purpose of the text? Why does it require transcreation? These are all important questions that require answering in the brief. A brief can also share brand values, how the client hopes their brand to be perceived in the target location, and what the desired approach to break into a new market is. 

The Timeline

Transcreation is not a project that should be rushed as it can involve a high level of research and creativity to master. Providing a transcreator with a clear timeline without expecting rushed work can help ensure they manage their time in a way that leads to a quality final project. 

The Back Translation Process

The back translation process involves giving the translated version of the text to a separate independent translator who has not seen the original text. They then translate the new text back into the original language. Their results will help ensure clients that the meaning of the source text was not literally lost in translation. 

Back translation is a quality assurance step that can be useful in certain scenarios such as when content requires a high level of control because semantic errors can have consequences. Or when a client doesn’t speak or read the target language, back translation can allow them to check the accuracy of the translation by themselves.

How to Measure Success

While the goal is to achieve quality during the transcreation process, there are post-publishing measurements that can check if the transcreator accomplished the intended effects and purpose. Pre-publishing, there are tools that can be used to measure readability. Post-publishing measurements require more collaboration though and can involve human intervention. Changes to text can sometimes be made post-publishing, so using the following methods to test quality can provide value.

  • Seeking an objective corroboration that examines sales and site traffic data. 
  • Employing a third-party editor or reviewer. 
  • Hosting market surveys and focus groups.
  • Undertaking blind A/B testing. 

At the end of the day, the ultimate “quality test” can be uncovered through the feedback the client receives or the bottom-line results of the project. If feedback is positive and the expected results arise, the client can have confidence that the transcreation project was successful.

The Importance of Transcreation in Video Game Localization

The Importance of Transcreation in Video Game Localization

Today, video games are considered by some to be the world’s biggest cult phenomenon. This iconic status exists in-part because of transcreation in video game localization. Without this process, video games would only be accessible to players who speak the language and understand the cultural context of the original game. Transcreation has broken down borders and changed the entire landscape of the video game industry.

What is Transcreation in Video Game Localization?

Transcreation in video game localization is a different process than a traditional translation project. Providing an exact translation is not the goal here. Instead, transcreators use creativity and individuality to retain the original meaning while adapting the language in a video game to the target audience in a natural and effective way. Generally, transcreators have carte blanche to make necessary changes to language, and they generally try to retain the original meaning of the language used in a video game. That being said, sometimes they must change the meaning completely. The most important aspect of their job is to help ensure the desired outcome or result in the game.

Where is Transcreation Used?

A transcreator adapts all the text and audio language used in a video game. The list of the language they have to transcreate is quite extensive, but the following list captures some of the main considerations.

  • Names of characters: Adapting the names of video game characters can be particularly important for improving the user experience, especially if the original name carries meaning or has a certain connotation. Transcreating names helps users relate and empathize with the characters. For example, if a character’s name is “Berry Cute”, because it’s a friendly little strawberry, you might want to adapt that word play to something related to berries and cuteness in the target language.

Examples taken from Overhit

  • Names of weapons and powers: Generally, the creators of games must coin new terms or names for elements like weapons and powers. Therefore, a word-for-word translation may not be possible under reasonable circumstances. In cases like these, transcreators provide a translation from scratch. In order to do so, they may take into account what the weapon or power actually does. Because of this, it’s especially important that translators play the game during the transcreation process or have visual references of the game.

Examples taken from Pokémon

  • Instances of character restriction: In some cases there is nothing wrong with a literal translation, but in some languages a literal translation can cause issues. For example, a literal translation may end up taking up too much space on the screen, in which case transcreation can help find a solution that takes into account space restrictions. Buttons are usually one of most challenging UI elements because they can accommodate so few characters.

Example taken from Overhit

  • Jokes: Because cultures can have different senses of humor, it is especially important to apply transcreation to jokes. A direct translation can be potentially problematic if a joke that is considered funny in one culture is highly offensive to another.
  • Cultural references: These references can vary in relatability which can cause confusion. Common foods, songs, movies, celebrities, and politicians may be familiar to gamers in the country the game was originally made for, but can be very foreign to other gamers from different countries.

How This Affects the Gamer Experience

Alongside the task of making video games more accessible to audiences from different cultures, the transcreation in video game localization process also helps improve the gamer experience. One of the best things a transcreator can do to ensure they’re executing their job well, is to play the video game in its entirety. Ideally, they will play the game simultaneously as they work through the transcreation process. Doing so will help guarantee the proper interpretation and maintain the context of the game’s plots, tools, and characters.

At the end of the day, video games are supposed to be fun and the gamer should be “immersed” in the world created by game developers. If any of the elements are off, the gamer’s experience could be disrupted. Generally, their sole purpose is to entertain and a transcreator needs to keep that in mind when doing their work. Their end goal should be to convey the game’s play experience in a way that is as close as possible to that of the original, while ensuring that the game is appealing to new audiences. 

Subtitling Challenges Cultural References and Wordplays

Subtitling Challenges: Cultural References and Wordplays

Subtitling for streaming platforms implies translating content that will be distributed to a very large audience. For on-demand sites, Spanish subtitles are available globally, even in countries where it’s not an official language. Given that the target text should be understood by Spanish speakers across many countries, translating wordplays and cultural references is a task for skilled audiovisual translators only.

While this challenge may also be common to other localization tasks, translating subtitles has another specific and crucial characteristic. They are moving text that doesn’t stay long on the screen, and depending on the media (TV, cinema, on-demand platforms) they cannot be re-read. Thus, the translated text should be effective and as easy and fast to understand as possible.   

Cultural references: challenge accepted

Sometimes, dialogues refer to very specific aspects of the culture of origin of the show, such as cultural products, personalities, food, brands or institutions. Whether to localize them or not should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Leaving the reference as is or translating it literally may leave all the audience to not understand the reference, but adapting it may result in losing some of the original meaning. A skilled audiovisual translator will know which reference is better to leave unlocalized, and which is better to translate or adapt by choosing a similar but not equivalent referent in the target culture, among other available strategies. The translator will decide what is more effective and useful for each situation. Technical requirements are also a factor that can restrict the choice of the target text.

For a better understanding of what cultural references are and how they are treated in subtitles, we can analyze samples of some strategies, for example, in the Spanish LA subtitles of Mad Men’s pilot. 

Screenshot: Source text, Translations and Used Strategy in Mad Men.
Screenshot: Source text, Translations and Used Strategy in Mad Men.
Screenshot: Source text, Translations and Used Strategy in Mad Men.

Pun intended

Comedies take the challenge to another level because they are also full of puns and jokes that are difficult to recreate accurately in other languages. The translator of the subtitles has to choose between a literal translation or adapt the joke in the best way possible. Creativity plays a major part in the task, since the translator invents equivalent jokes or wordplays in the target language. Let’s consider one example from BoJack Horseman (S01E01).

Screenshot: Source text, Translations and Used Strategy in BoJack Horseman.

A matter of consistency

Regardless of the strategy used to translate cultural references and jokes, maintaining consistency across episodes is crucial. In large team projects, KNP sheets (key names and phrases) are a very common resource. There, the linguistic team can register proposed translations for names, cultural references or jokes, in order to maintain a consistent criterion.

Discover why a transcreator should serve as a cultural advisor!

Transcreator: What the Role Entails and the Skills Required

Ready to get creative? Here’s a unique word for you. Transcreator. A transcreator is someone who works on transcreation projects, most commonly in the marketing and advertising space. Let’s step back for a moment. Transcreation is a combination of two words. Translation and creation. Transcreation is a process that helps replicate an original message or piece of content in order to hide that translation occurred. 

Transcreation plays a crucial role in the success of marketing campaigns. Which means a transcreator is an important asset to any marketing or advertising team that wants to take their marketing efforts to new audiences in foreign countries through transcreation. There are a set of skills that a good transcreator should have in order to be successful at this tricky job.

Who is qualified to transcreate?

In order to transcreate successfully, one must have skills and knowledge regarding not just language, but cultural nuances. The transcreator should be able to confidently advise on the look and feel of a client’s campaign, alongside guiding copy, in order to ensure it is a success within the local target market. Point being, a transcreator should serve as a cultural advisor as much as an expert on translation. 

What skills make a successful transcreator?

The number one skill a transcreator should have may not be one you’d expect. Creativity. The marketing whizzes may be the ones who get all the creative credit, but transcreators are a big part of the equation. Transcreators will play with words, rhythm, proverbs, alliteration, and personification in order to make them work creatively and accurately in the target market. 

Aside from creativity, a transcreator needs to be adaptable. They may have to set aside their personal style or preferences to adapt to a campaign’s needs. An expert knowledge of both the source and target language is also extremely important. Having a high level knowledge of both languages will assist when working through cultural differences and language variants, such as with colloquialisms. Being familiar with the culture of the target language will not only help with word choice, but the meaning behind those words. Throughout the world, different societies have varying traditions, values, struggles, priorities, and passions. Working with a transcreator who is deeply aware of the culture they’re targeting will be an invaluable asset. In essence, a transcreator should have the following skills and experience at their disposal.

  • Have proper training in both literary translation and creative writing.
  • Not only be bilingual, but actually be born and educated in the area relating to the target audience.
  • Stay up to date on the cultural and socio political events of the target market.
  • Be able to write creatively and have advertising, marketing, and copywriting skills.
  • Be knowledgeable about advertising regulations that affect the target audience.

How to work with a transcreator successfully

When working with a transcreator or a transcreation team, it’s important to focus on the work being a collaborative effort. You can give the transcreator as much or as little creative leeway as needed. You can work together to make sure they maintain your vision and preferred style, while also allowing them to put their expertise to work. By working with a high quality transcreator who has an expert knowledge of both the source and target languages and cultures, you’ll be able to ensure that your marketing campaigns shine wherever you distribute them.