Transcreation is the process of taking content in one language and recreating it so that its tone and style remains true to that of the original message, rather than plainly translating it into another language. 

Transcreation is most suited for content such as creative marketing copy and advertising material across a range of different media, and aimed at a variety of markets and demographics. A creative spirit is essential for projects requiring transcreation as, often, the content will include linguistic idiosyncrasies such as:

  • Idioms
  • Taglines and creative titles
  • Colloquial or region-specific words and phrases
  • Wordplay
  • Humour

These elements are used informally, playfully, and often work well in B2C content which requires a light-hearted tone and style. In helping to transfer these tonal qualities from a source material and embed them into the target language, transcreation is by far the best approach. For example, idioms do not relate to the literal meaning of their words; the way idioms work is culturally, making associations, rather than merely linguistically. To translate an idiom word-for-word would be a pointless exercise.

Likewise, taglines (or creative titles and slogans), an essential part of advertising kit, are notoriously difficult to translate. Clever and witty slogans, which often use wordplay and humour in order to convey ideas that resonate with audiences, will obviously work (or not work) very differently across different cultural regions. Any slogan should be tailored precisely to serve the target market, and that may mean some radical rewriting on the part of the linguist.

All our linguists and translators are native-born and are fluent in all their language pairings.  The language that they are translating or transcreating into is always their first language. On top of this, the linguists are usually situated in-country, in one of our global offices, and, even if they are working remotely from elsewhere, are regularly immersed in their home language and culture so their expertise stays current.

Creative marketing copy and advertising material, the kinds of content which benefit most from the transcreation process, are much more likely to include colloquialisations and region-specific words and phrases. So, when it comes to transcreation, it is perhaps even more important that linguists have a deep, contextual relationship with, and knowledge of, their language, which can only come from first-hand familiarity.

At Alpha, we use specialist in-house transcreators who are highly skilled at taking the message from the source text and moulding it into their native tongue to suit the target audiences’ culture, needs and humour perfectly, while adhering to the brand’s style and tone of voice.