10 Things you should know about Marketing Transcreation


The world is evolving, the global market is growing larger and larger. Local businesses are diving in to the international limelight. As companies set out to grow beyond their borders, there is a rise in demands for marketing transcreation. Sectors including, rural communities, tourism, health, sciences are not left behind.

Transcreation is sometimes referred to as creative translation. It is used by the marketing and advertising industry. It refers to the process of interpreting a text from one language to the another; encompassing the translation of its content, style, emotions, intent and culture. As the result, the translated text in the target language should stimulate the same emotions and implications as the text in the source language. Marketing Transcreation is to take the message of a text and re-create it in another language.

Marketing Transcreation means “to re-create”. It helps shape a brand’s image such that, the target audience easily identify with the brand, their product and services. Marketing Transcreation gives “life” to an existing word so it can be perceived in a whole new way. It is a process that involves integrating a creative campaign into another market with a different language system and culture whilst still keeping the overall tone and brand approach global.

When transcreating, the following are tips you should consider;

1) Marketing Transcreation begins with a concept:

While marketing translation starts with a text, marketing transcreation starts with ideas. What is the intention of the brand campaign ? How is it intending to arouse the desire of the target audience? The transcreator or transcreation team will look for an efficient method to pass the message of the brand to the target culture effectively. To successfully communicate the same message to two different audiences, you have to take into consideration the cultural differences.

It is also important for the transcreators and client to understand each other, align and work towards a common goal. This involves investment from both parties at the start of the marketing transcreation process and ongoing communication to achieve global teamwork. Ensure teams are familiar with marketing objectives, desired user experience, creative components, existing marketing assets and quality expectations.

2) Cultural Appropriation:

Before embarking on the transcreation process, all concepts should be tried and tested. This allows for all possible challenges to be sorted. It might be that the visuals (for example a body gesture) are not quite appropriate for your target markets, or it could be that the entire concept (for example references to kissing or dating) is not a good idea for some countries.These examples might sound quite straightforward, but often times,  they can be easily missed if this step is not properly researched. Cultural appropriations would often also reveal things about the competitor landscape in your target market, which may likely change your approach.

Often, many people view translation as a way to communicate and reach global markets. But each local market not only speak a different language, they will also have different traditions, norms, purchasing pattern and other traits that differs. For high-level marketing transcreation campaigns, content must be tailored for each target market. A translator can translate from one language to another, but a linguistic copywriter can transform content from one culture to another.

3) Know your Target Market:

They can and will influence the language-use in a great way. It is very important that we know the target audience from the start. Proper research should be done. There is a need to understand their perception level about certain concepts. Understanding the nature of your target audience, helps greatly in the transcreation process. You are able to create concepts that can appeal to their emotions. If you want to identify with something, it always involves some kind of emotion. And emotion is where the difference between translation, localization, and transcreation lies.

4) Visuals and Time:

When transcreating, it is important that the picture and the text work together. Certain images will allow the writers or transcrator to pick particular words. Without these images, one is working blindly. When it comes to transcreation, the visuals need to be available at the start of the process. Because transcreation is a creative process, it should done with care and patience. It is a process that should not be rushed. It should be given time to go through all necessary steps, from briefing to copywriting, from quality control to queries.

5) Transcreation skills:

As a transcreator, you should have an idea in marketing and advertising. It is important that you have a close relationship with the target audience and be able to take demographic statistics. Transcreators need to speak both the source and target language at a native level. You should read about their countries, understand their culture and their market pattern.  It’s assumed that transcreation is more about copy writing rather than translation. As a transcreator,  you should have a skill in writing because transcreators are highly capable copywriters. Transcreator should recreate in such a way that it appeals to the target market. They are experts in evoking emotions in customers to strengthen the conversion rate. If you a new to the transcreating process,  you may need to learn marketing, advertising, and hi-tech. It may serve as an added advantage.

Using qualified and experienced linguistic copywriters is very important for global marketing success. A professional translator may be able to produce 100% accuracy for certain content types, but for content such as digital marketing, in addition to native language skills and knowledge, the writer needs a level of creativity for transcreation to ensure content is transformed, not just adapted.

6) Work with available concept:

Transcreation does not mean you have to start from the scratch. You can work with the already available brand image. Some elements may be kept through the process. Some elements include the main ideas and the image of the brand. Changes will be made and observed,  but the purpose and message of the brand will still remain the same. The difference lies in the ways to achieve that goal in a different cultural and language setting.

7) Transcreation ensures that marketing campaigns are well-accepted:

An important aim of transcreation is to make sure that a marketing campaign is presented in an acceptable  manner such that it communicates well to the target audience. People must be able to relate to it. This includes every section of the campaign: the words, the constructs, the images. Transcreation is a complex process in terms of creativity and cultural knowledge.

8) De-brief your client:

As the global client most likely wants to be on top of the process and all the regions, they also need to understand the possible language barriers and cultural issues that have been faced in the transcreation. Take steps to ensure that the global client is aware of the reasons that have led you as the transcreator to take a certain approach, the cultural and language factors that made you utilize a certain transcreation method.

9) Transcreation can be a very subjective process:

Together with in-country language teams, design the tone of voice and communication style for the products and brand that you want to achieve in each target market. Create a terminology list that identifies idioms and potential product names or descriptions that have no direct equivalent in your target market. Support this creative process by providing the creative brief for the product or campaign.

10) Delivery platforms and Multilingual SEOs:

When transcreating, some questions should be asked. How and where will the message content be read? On a mobile? In a print? Knowing how and where you expect users to consume your content is also a key consideration for transcreation. Creating multilingual adverts for a desktop will have different spacing considerations than those intended for a mobile device. It will also affect the way keywords are used for SEO purposes.

Changing content from one culture to another is one step of the transcreation process. Making sure that content is found is next. Different countries and cultures have different search engines and search pattern. Someone in America will have different search terms to someone searching in Germany or China.


Olujumoke is a graduate of Agricultural Extension and Communication Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, in Nigeria. She is a Content writer and Fiction writer. She owns a blog where she writes short stories.

Blog: www.myfirefiction.blogspot.com