Although transcreation services are often on the list of services provided by a translation agency; the two services are different.


Translating a text means that the meaning, images and layout remain the same. All that changes are the words, which are put from one language into another. If you want to adapt a translation to suit the culture of your target audience, you can have your translation localised.


Localising a document or a web site can be a simple as changing one photograph for another. For instance, for a Chinese audience, you replace the western looking man on your home page photo, with a Chinese man or woman. Content can also be changed to reflect cultural differences.


Transcreation on the other hand is completely different. The work of a transcreation specialist is to create a new text in the target language. Marketing companies often use transcreation to develop new tag lines, slogans, adverts and websites that totally reflect the culture of another country. Why is this important? Because, sometimes literal translations of slogans from one language to another have an entirely different meaning, and they may not always be appropriate.

A transcreation specialist is a writer. They not only understand the culture and traditions of your target audience, but they are creative and clever with words.

Take the case of Ford Motors. A slogan they used for their English- speaking market read ‘Every car has a high-quality body.’ They decided to have this slogan translated for consumers in Belgium. Unfortunately, the phrase came out as ‘Every car has a high-quality corpse.’ Not an image that made the Belgians want to rush out and buy a Ford. So, you can see that in this case translation didn’t work. The slogan should have been given to a transcreation specialist who would have come up with a brand-new slogan which was appropriate for the Belgian market.

A good example of translation, localisation and transceation working together is McDonalds. They change their menus to reflect the eating habits of their global consumers. And, they also use different content, images and colours for each country they target.

If you would like to know about our transcreation service, give us a call or send us an email at Language Insight  and we will be happy to discuss your project. We provide translation, localisation and transcreation services from our offices in London and the North of England.