Transcreation versus translation

Transcreation or internationalisation of your content

As explained in my article titled: “Why hire a professional translator?”, translation requires you to have several strings to your bow, such as:

  • having a good understanding of the source and target language
  • always translating into his/her mother tongue
  • possessing an extensive and in-depth knowledge in a particular field
  • possessing good analytic skills
  • having good writing skills

However, when it comes to a global advertising campaign, these skills no longer fit the bill. In this context, the translator will do more than simply translate the content into the target language; he will also have to ensure that the “result” corresponds to the idiomatic expression and culture of the target country, and at the same time preserve the meaning and emotion of the original message.

“Transcreation” is a key component of internationalisation, which finds its application in major global advertising campaigns as well as in video game localisation.

When speaking of internationalisation, traditional translation and localisation services does not cut the mustard, as they do not preserve the emotion and creativity of the original text in an efficient manner. The primary objective of transcreation is to generate the same impact on the target market as the original content.

You are probably thinking that it’s all the same and that, after all, it is indeed the main purpose of translation, right? The answer is yes and no! Allow me to explain:

Transcreation is a process, involving the transposition of a loaded message from one culture to another, where the tone, context, style, culture and emotion are just as important as the words themselves.

This “internationalised” translation process was named “transcreation” when industry professionals came to realise the challenge posed by the transposition of a loaded message from one culture to another. The latter were able to observe the importance of modifying the original content where translation alone could not recreate the initial emotion, so as to generate the same impact on different cultures.

To give you a clearer understanding of what transcreation really is, I have prepared two examples for you:

  1. Transcreation gone wrong:


Let’s take the example of American Airlines – Vuela Encuero campaign. To promote its latest leather seats under the simple slogan: “Fly in leather,” the American company looking to run a campaign in Mexico had published “Vuela encuero”, which literally means “Fly naked”. The Mexican nudists must have been overjoyed at the prospect of flying naked!

  1. Successful transcreation


The slogan of the German brand Haribo: “Haribo macht Kinder froh und Erwachsene ebenso” can be translated to “Haribo makes children happy and adults as well”. So that the melody and emotion remain intact, the latter has been accordingly adapted to English-speaking countries: “Kids and grown-ups love it so – the happy world of Haribo.”

Are you looking to improve your international campaign performance? Do not hesitate to contact our Transcreation department at QuickPro Translations for a free, no-obligation tailor-made quote.

As the co-founder of QuickPro Translations, a premier Translation Company in Mauritius, I help numerous companies around the world unleash their potential.

I am a sun loving, island styling and coffee drinking geek.

Leave a Reply