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Every day, new words emerge; transcreation is one of them. The term was coined to describe the translation of creative content. Transcreation usually denotes transferring creative content into another language and adapting this to the target country and culture.

The transcreation process begins with understanding the meaning, motives, and intentions of the text, i.e. what it is trying to achieve. Once that has been established, the transcreator formulates a message that preserves the original meaning, style, tone, and content while harmonising it with the target audience’s culture so that the message resonates in the same way in the target language.

High-quality technical translations can be described as ‘exact’, ‘direct’, and even ‘universal’, because they are much less likely to express emotions or include cultural references. High-quality transcreation, may be described with very different terms: ‘creative’, ‘innovative’, and even ‘local’.

Creative writing conveys emotion and resonates with a specific culture. Translating creative writing is more than a straightforward linguistic equivalence of A = A, and B = B. Transcreation takes a notion from one language and transposes it to another. This is especially appropriate for translating marketing texts to promote an idea, product, or service internationally.

Translation, localisation & transcreation

Now that you understand what transcreation is, how does it differ from translation or even localisation? This table clearly illustrates the difference:

ContentThe message remains the sameThe message remains the sameThe message is changed and developed to meet the objectives of the communication brief
Language (style,
terminology, tone of voice)
Close and faithful transmission of the source contentTranslation retains the spirit of the source content while adapting it culturally as necessaryThe language can be totally different, but retains the message and intended effect on the reader
ImagesNo changeImages may need to be changed to fit the local cultureImages may need to be changed to fit the local culture
LayoutNo changeMinimal changesLayout may need to be changed to adapt the message to the target culture
Brand vocabularyNo changeNo changeAdapted, improved, and developed to retain message and intended effect text on the reader


Like translators, transcreators are native speakers of the target language. They know and breathe the local culture and possess a broad range of knowledge about the locale and its (cultural and linguistic) interactions with other countries. They are imaginative, creative, and resourceful. They can be marketers who are well-versed in communication or professional translators that consider ‘ordinary’ translation to be too limiting for them. They understand marketing, advertising, and media content creativity. Transcreators are aware of the communication brief and transcreation requirements. They may even assist in developing the message in the source language to facilitate later translation into the target language.

The transcreation process

Translation begins with a source text. Transcreation, on the other hand, starts with the creative concepts and associated briefs prepared by the agency or the advertiser. The advertiser or agency creates the communication brief, which serves as the foundation for producing a text, slogan, tagline, and so on; everything used for marketing a product or service. The advertiser and their agency then create a creative concept, which is next transposed into another language.

The transcreator can be active in preparing and researching the creative concept. The transcreator must understand the client, the product, and the brief completely. While the transcreator can start work when the concept is finalised, including them in the advertiser’s and agency’s creative work processes is beneficial.

The transcreator usually provides several possible versions of the translation, together with an explanation of their meanings in the client’s language, so that they understand what each version means and the differences between them. The transcreator may also provide cultural components (examples and explanations) to assist the client in choosing the preferred translation. Because the transcreation process can sometimes result in a rethinking or even a complete change in the original message, it is essential that the transcreator has solid knowledge of the concept and a brief. They may also point out anything to avoid, such as colours, images (symbolism), or vocabulary that may negatively impact on the target audience. After that, the client can confer with other stakeholders or distributors to receive input on the final decision.

Who needs transcreation?

If you work in (digital) marketing, you understand how crucial it is to convey the right message. When you are aware of how difficult it is to create a certain message, you understand that it is extra challenging to translate it. The words could signify something else, and the imagery and colours could elicit unintended emotions. Consequently, the intended meaning may be completely lost in translation. As a result, every advertiser must opt for transcreation if they want their message to be respected and received in a foreign market with the intended impact and emotion.

How does transcreation work at Alamma?

Our transcreation services are billed on an hourly basis. The cost is determined by the project’s size and the number of target languages necessary. Our team of creative translators will adapt your content, whether it is a slogan, a product description, or a particular advertisement, to fit precisely the audience you want to reach.

The process begins with a consultation to discuss your brand, project, and specific message. Our translators then provide suggested (transcreated) translations and give recommendations. Typically, at least two translators are used for each language. Finally, we present the outcome of the transcreation process. For each proposal, you will receive back translations and explanations.

The transcreator bridges the roles of author and translator, to analyse wordplay and cultural allusions in the source text and recreate them in the target language, While components may be added or removed in this process, the overall message and purpose is retained; the goal is to communicate the same idea in the target language and elicit the same reaction from the target audience.

We would be delighted to read more about your past experiences with transcreation, especially examples of successful projects, in the comments below. Do you need help with a transcreation project? We are here for you! Write to us at, and one of our project managers will get back to you shortly. Happy creating!