Transcreation Services

At Comms Multilingual, we have a great deal of experience in the translation and transcreation of marketing materials.
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What is Transcreation?

Transcreation is a type of creative translation used for advertising and marketing materials. The aim is to take the core intent and style of the message and recreate it natively in the other language or culture (hence the “creation” part of the word transcreation), so that it is meaningful and feels natural in another language or culture, whilst staying true to the style of the original.

Transcreation vs. Translation

While document translations are generally ordered on the basis of a source text or document (as it will be more of a word-for-word translation), transcreation is designed to “create” a text with an equivalent effect in the target market as was provided by the copywriting brief for the original language.

As a result, you can expect translations to be closer to the original in terms of structure, layout, paragraphs and syntax, whereas you should generally think of transcreation as an equivalent result that has been worked on from scratch in the target language and culture. It may well therefore look significantly different from the original.

Why Do I Need to Transcreate Content?

You can’t just take a marketing concept in one language and simply translate it into another language. That concept may have no meaning in the target language or it may prove to be an embarrassment for you and your organisation.

Even the biggest companies can make mistakes. The name Coca Cola in China was first translated as Ke-kou-ke-la.

Unfortunately, the true meaning wasn’t realised (until thousands of signs had been printed) and it turned out that the phrase was understood as “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect.

Coke then had to research 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic rendering: “ko-kou-ko-le”, loosely translated as “happiness in the mouth”, which was far more suitable!

This just goes to show how important it is to use professionals that are familiar with and live in the target market for any marketing transcreation project.

Coca Cola Branding Translation

What Is a Typical Transcreation Process?

For more creative translation projects, you’ll need to first provide the copywriters and linguists with clear ideas of the creative concept and the desired action you are hoping to trigger with the copy.

We therefore recommend preparing a project brief so that the transcreators are fully aware of the message, the target audience and the level of formality required, among other things.

Transcreation can make a real difference to the success or failure of a project in the target market. Some items will require more transcreation than others. For example, highly technical information won’t require much transcreation, whereas marketing materials, slogans and other sales copy will require a lot more re-writing to make it really appeal to the target audience and to be culturally acceptable.

Transcreation may well involve the production of multiple possible options, each having slightly different effects or wording. These would then require a discussion or decision – either using your own native speakers or between our transcreation team.

What Transcreation File Formats Do You Work in?

Transcreation can be based on documents in a wide variety of formats, including Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, Adobe Illustrator, InPage, PageMaker on both Mac and PC platforms. We also work with all standard Microsoft software.

We would generally extract the text into a universally editable file for the transcreation process, and once we have sign off, return it to you fully typeset and ready for publication.

Marketing material transcreation sample

Tips for Transcreation

In some cases, we recommend that marketing materials are first translated and proofread into the target language if a complex meaning needs to be conveyed.

Then, the copywriters or transcreators can go through the translation from a cultural perspective and use it as a base to adapt and localise it for the target audience and turning it into proper “marketing speak”.

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