Transcreation, also known as creative translation, is another way of translating. Essentially, it means to recreate a translated text while maintaining the same context, ideas and feelings.

Although it sounds like a new concept, it was first said to be used in the 1960s in the marketing field. Eventually becoming a commonly accepted term in the 1990s.

This concept is mostly used in the marketing world. This is due to the high need of adapting one message to different markets. In many cases, translating alone doesn’t do the job. We need to recreate the message so that it carries out the same meaning in different cultures. Because marketing aims to create emotion, word by word translation is not enough to ensure this.

In most cases, a lot of effort has gone into creating the original message. It would be such a shame to see all that hard work go to waste once it has reached an international level.

When transcreating, the most important thing is not to translate word by word. It is crucial to take other factors into consideration, such as emotion, tone, culture, visual elements…

Here are a few things to keep in mind when transcreating:


Transcreation is not necessary for all texts. Most times, translating is perfectly fine. Some expressions may need to be adapted, but the majority of the text can be maintained. This keeps things simple.


Transcreating should take into consideration other cultural aspects such as how it is presented, the visual elements involved and the overall context.

For example:  In 2011, Puma launched a shoe to commemorate the 40th  anniversary of the United Arab Emirates. The shoe design was not well received and it was seen as a sign of disrespect for the culture. The country’s flag was featured on the shoe without taking into consideration that culturally, the shoes and feet are considered dirty.


This is a step between translating and transcreating. It means to adapt certain words or details to the target country. Some examples of this include: changing the flag, colours, measurements or even the spelling like in the case of American and British English.  For example: In Europe, McDonald’s logo is green instead of red. This colour evokes the idea of a healthy and natural product.


Certain social media platforms may vary from country to country in popularity. In some cases, they might be using completely different platforms. It is vital to do some research to figure out where your content should appear for maximum exposure.


Being bilingual in the languages involved is necessary for transcreating. This is to have a better understanding of the culture and all the elements involved in the original copy.


One of the most popular pieces of transcreation is Spider Man India. The creators released an Indian version of the comic books because they knew that the transcreated character would be easier for Indian people to identify with. They created Pavitr Prabhakar who fights the demon Rahshasa in famous Indian landmarks such as the Taj Mahal.  All this effort has created a deeper connection with the comic book in India and has raised sales.

Know that you know what transcreation is, don’t let your content get lost in translation! From websites to marketing texts, if you want to access a worldwide audience it is necessary to keep in mind that transcreation might be the skill you are looking for.

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