28 September 2022

Transcreation: managing words in a global context

Categoria: Linguistic Services

To succeed in a global context, companies must handle words with care and creativity, two hallmarks of transcreation.

Those involved in marketing, advertising campaigns, multimedia content, websites, and the like know that success in other markets requires a transcreation service, i.e., creative translation of content into another language.

Creative translation: why it matters

You might wonder why it is so important to opt for creative translation, rather than just regular translation. The answer is simple: In certain contexts, translating words literally may be ineffective or even counterproductive.

Take an advertising campaign for example. The ultimate goal of this tool is to attract the attention of a specific target audience and therefore recurring expressions and supporting graphic elements need to leverage the culture of the target audience. Slavish literal translation of this type of content risks producing phrases that are meaningless to people living in another country.

Translating words without taking their meaning into account from a cultural standpoint can also lead to another problem, namely the risk of producing an offensive message. This could have negative repercussions for a company that wishes to establish itself in the global arena. A poorly translated slogan risks jeopardizing the outcome of the campaign and damaging the corporate brand identity.

These considerations are all further evidence for the importance of transcreation. Thanks to transcreation, the delivered message can generate the same impact in different cultural contexts. Words are expertly and sensitively translated so as to convey the same concept and arouse the same emotions in a target audience that differs from the one for which the communication was originally intended. But how can this be achieved? Let’s take a look at how it works.

How it works

Like other language services, transcreation is preceded by an information gathering stage, the so-called briefing. After a feasibility check, the customer is asked to clarify information regarding:

  • the company (history, vision, mission, values, etc.);
  • the service or product being promoted;
  • goals, targets, and means at hand;
  • former similar initiatives;
  • communication style.

In creative translation, it is crucial for the transcreator to have this circumstantial information because it enables them to understand the business being represented and thus transform the words in a way that best meets the customer’s needs.

Once this information has been gathered, one or more native-speaker translators specialized in transcreation are deployed. These are unique professionals who, in addition to being extremely well-versed in the relevant languages and cultures, also possess strong creative skills, a basic requirement for performing this work.

The process ends with the presentation of proposals to the customer, accompanied by an explanation of the reasons behind the choices made. The customer may either be fully satisfied and select the proposal they prefer or they may provide further guidance to allow the transcreator to develop and fine-tune a new proposal.

Transcreation is clearly an even more delicate task than traditional translation, since it requires us to remain faithful to the original message, while at the same time breaking away from it in order to manage words more fluidly and dynamically so that they are better adapted to the target context.


There are various considerable advantages to requesting transcreation.

First, it enables the first step toward successful communication: attracting the attention of the new target audience. A transcreator aims to replace the original words with others that resonate in the same way in the mind and soul of those who belong to a different linguistic and cultural background.

Attention and interest must both be captured so that reading a slogan becomes an actual action, such as entering a store, buying a product or downloading an app, small acts that bring a viewer closer to the point of purchase.

The key benefit of transcreation, as well as the ultimate goal of those who request it, is to increase sales of sponsored services and products. Communicating in the same language as the target audience and using their cultural references are crucial to building the trusting relationship necessary for people to grow attached to a particular company and to buy what they need from it.

Last but not least, transcreation is an effective way of promoting your brand globally. Through this service, the company’s image can be adjusted by highlighting its core principles. This is a good strategy for winning over new markets.

At Way2Global, we also handle transcreation; indeed, our goal is to enhance our clients’ communication across borders. With our team of native-speaker transcreators, we can convey messages and emotions to any part of the world, thereby helping companies achieve global success.

Contact us to request a quote or more information about our services.


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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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