Transcreation Services: Why & When You Need Them

Published on October 19th, 2022


Transcreation is a specialist type of translation most commonly used for marketing and advertising purposes. The service was originally crafted by combining translation with copywriting for text adverts but it has evolved over the years for wider use. In this article, we explain what transcreation means today, as well as why and when you might need this language service.

What is transcreation?

Transcreation is the combination of translation and copywriting for the purpose of translating marketing, sales and advertising messages into other languages. With this type of messaging, the intended impact and meaning of the original content are often lost in translation due to the amount of creative language and cultural references they rely upon.

Creative language tends to lose its meaning in translation while cultural references lose relevance as you target more culturally distant markets.

Initially designed for translating text in advertisements, transcreation has evolved and expanded in as much as advertising and modern marketing have. Now, it is commonly used to translate a variety of marketing content in scenarios where direct translation loses the intended meaning or impact of the original content.

This can include everything from video content and e-mail marketing campaigns to blog articles and social media posts. In addition to the more traditional cases such as ads, taglines, slogans, etc.

When do you need transcreation services?

The obvious answer to this question would be that you need transcreation whenever you are translating copywriting – whether that means text-based ads, website copy or any modern marketing copy designed to inspire action.

This is the core purpose of transcreation, but the language service can benefit any language project that faces the following translation challenges:

  • When in need of a more creative approach to translation because the intended meaning of your content or message is lost through direct translation.
  • When dealing with high linguistic distance, meaning the target language is so different from the source that direct translation fails.
  • When translating content for multiple language audiences where market or cultural differences require a different approach to messaging.
  • When translating ads or marketing material with creative language that loses meaning or impact through standard translation.
  • When source content includes a lot of creative language such as slogans, metaphors, puns, jokes, etc.
  • When source material includes cultural references that aren’t relevant to the target audience you are translating for.
  • When you want audiences to take action (e.g. buy a product) and your message needs to have the right emotional impact.
  • When you need to preserve brand voice across multiple languages while staying relevant to every target audience.

If any of the above applies to a given language project, transcreation could be the solution you need. That being said, a variety of other services might also be needed in addition to transcreation, in order to get the best results. These could be localisation or specialist services like website translation, voice-over translation or video game culturalisation.

If you have any doubts over which language services you need for your next project, it is always best to speak to a language service provider (LSP) or professional agency that specialises in similar projects and content types to yours.

Do you need transcreation services for your next project?

If you need transcreation services for your next project, as part of Publicis Groupe, we specialise and handle with a wide range of complex multilingual projects, campaigns as well as content types, including BTL, ATL and TTL content on a daily basis.

If you’re likewise unsure whether you need transcreation or a different type of language service, we also provide a holistic language consultancy service to help you decide what works best for your case.

To request more information or submit a project request, fill out the form on our contact page.

Posted on: October 19th, 2022