You face localization every day without even thinking about it. When using some applications, opening websites, reading banners, or watching advertisements of foreign brands.

At the same time, your eye can quickly catch unusual grammar constructions or incorrect translations, affecting the message's impact. Consider the fail scenario where an advertisement showcases "cookies" in Britain, although locals commonly use "biscuits." In its turn, the USA uses both terms with different meanings. So, correct localization is about perfectly adapting your product to the concrete region with its particularity through translation.

Suppose we overview more complex examples when the business needs not only to translate correctly but to replace entire words or sentences, especially idioms, to provide the correct message to the audience - this process has its naming - transcreation. This article details what it means, how it works, and examples of successful cases. Scroll down, and let's dive into this topic with us.

The concept of transcreation

Language is not a mere vehicle for words; it is a carrier of culture, history, and emotion. If we look at the entire process of business adaptation for the new region in terms of content creation, we will see the following stages - translation, localization, and transcreation. Each of these stages has its own tasks and goals.

Translation is a process with a low level of creativity, where the most attention is focused on literality. Translation can be a valuable tool in business for adapting documents such as scientific reports, technical content, and other forms of documentation. There is no task ahead for linguists to attract readers - only inform.

Localization is a much more complex process where the level of creativity is higher, but translators are still targeted on the source text without significant changes. Localization may apply to general app and website content. Its task is to talk to the user in appropriate language, use the local regulations, cultural nuances, etc. The main objective of localization is to provide the target audience with a smooth experience, making them feel like the content was initially intended for them.

And here we come to the transcreation. The word's etymology comes from combining two terms - "translate" and "create." From the name itself, it is clear that this kind of content adaptation requires high creativity. The main task of transcreation is to translate the idea of the message to evoke the same emotions in different regions worldwide. So often, this process ignores the translation's literality and could use entirely other words. We can usually see the transcreation of slogans, advertisements, games, etc.

Transcreation: bridging the cultural gap

As described in the previous paragraph, transcreation targets translating the emotional message, so this process requires a deeper understanding of regional language and cultural nuances. The pun, references to pop trends throughout recent years, and understanding the background of the current generation you targeted can build an emotional connection between you and your audience. Thus, transcreation requires translating, marketing, researching skills, and local experience. Let's summarize the above and look at the key points you should consider during transcreation:

  1. Cultural peculiarities: Transcreation considers the cultural context of the target audience. It ensures the content aligns with their beliefs and values, avoiding inadvertent cultural faux pas.
  2. Emotional impact: Transcreation prioritizes the emotional impact of the message. It considers the tone, style, and nuances that resonate with the target audience, building a deeper connection.
  3. Consistency through regions: Paradoxically, transcreation also ensures global consistency. By preserving the core message and emotional resonance, businesses can maintain a unified brand identity across diverse markets

Playing on the emotions can have a significant effect. Just look at how the Barbie movie has painted the whole world pink. Total fascination with pink is likely justified by the fact that most Barbie are closely connected with their positive emotions in childhood. In his interview, Warner Bros. president of global marketing, Josh Goldstin, explained that some brands started using Barbie color as a licensing deal. Still, some chose this strategy when they saw its high involvement in the culture.

Transcreation best practices

Transcreation requires much more resources than translation and even localization. It must be subjected to a streamlined workflow to achieve the best results. Here's precisely what you should include to reach the best result.

  1. Prioritize the content. This approach will make the content adaptation much cheaper. Decide which content can be only translated which needs localization or transcreation.
  2. Collaboration. Transcreation is impossible without the cooperation of the experts - marketers, linguists, designers, and local experts (depending on the task). This process is targeted at a deep understanding of the culture and a high level of research. Build transparent processes inside your team with clear rules.
  3. Documentation. As well as the localization, transcreation requires all possible information - style guide, glossary, project brief, audience portrait, etc. Prepare all the information to make the brainstorming effective.
  4. Don't stop with the first success. As the main task of transcreation is to provide an emotional message, it can be challenging to find "that one" phrase or sentence. But never stop in the first success - generate as many options as possible to research the audience's reaction.
  5. Quality control. Depending on the type of the project, you can use experimental ad campaigns, local experts, focus groups, or A/B testing so as not to ruin your brand after release (further, we will consider such situations, too.)

Transcreation case studies

Transcreation is frequently encountered in slogans, brand names, and creative industries. To illustrate compelling examples, let's examine some case studies from different areas.

Sprite's slogan, "Obey Your Thirst," in the Ukrainian language, was translated as "Don't let yourself dry out." The possible reason is that the word "obey" has a more negative connotation.

Snickers - "You're unfiltered when you're hungry. Snickers satisfies." This slogan was translated into Ukrainian with the following: "You are not you when you are hungry. Don't slow down and "snickersnee." The word "snickersnee" became a neologism that means "to eat snickers." Also, as you can see, the word "unfiltered" was replaced by another construction to keep the original meaning.

Read more examples of products adaptation fails in our blog.

"Black Friday" somewhere is "White Friday." This example sounds very simple, but it shows the importance of understanding the local culture even if you provide significant discounts. The thing is that in the Muslim world, Friday is a crucial day of prayer and gathering. So initially, such a day couldn't be "black." Firstly, such an approach with naming was used by Amazon in 2014.

One of the industries where you can meet the transcreation even more often is a cinematic. Just take a look at these examples of English-Ukrainian transcreation:

  • "The Hateful Eight" - "The Vile Eight"
  • "Hangover" - "The Bachelor Party in Vegas"
  • "Over the Hedge" - "Forest Brotherhood"
  • "Frozen" - "The Cold Heart"
  • "The Intouchables" - "1+1"

So, as you can see, the original message and transcreation are different messages in the context of literal translation.

How can Lingohub help with translation, localization, and transcreation?

No matter which approach you would love to use in your project, Lingohub can help with any task. Our comprehensive solutions aim to help businesses spread their influence to any worldwide region. Just a part of the features we provide:

  • Machine translation with the combined power of the robust engines - DeepL, Google Translate, and Amazon Translate. Use it to pre-translate the entire project to save your team's time. You can set up the prefill rules and automatically apply the machine translation to all empty segments.
  • Glossary (term base). Does your project have some untranslated terms, or do you want to provide a specific translation for a phrase or word - our term base is a perfect solution for it. With a large amount of context information, it will help your linguists get a correct translation and additional, valuable data.
  • Multi editor. In the context of transcreation, it is essential to see the translation in different languages simultaneously to keep the consistency of the project. We have a multi-editor to help you. Get, analyze, and work with all the information in a single interface.
multi editor
  • Professional translators. Have no time to find a reliable professional? Lingohub can help. You can order the translation or proofreading inside the application with a transparent pricing calculation from the start. This is far from all the possibilities. We provide the tools for each participator of localization - translators, managers, designers, and developers. From the Figma plugin to automatically generated transactions, from integrations with repositories to various reports.


Transcreation is an exciting process that requires a lot of creativity and a high level of local culture. But all the efforts spent on it will bring much more profit. As a part of localization, transcreating will build emotional contact with your audience to build trustful relationships.

To successfully handle all challenges, use a specialized tool to build and control the process. At Lingohub, we would be happy to schedule a personalized demo call with you to discuss your specific case and showcase the capabilities of our product; just choose a convenient day and time! Additionally, you can take advantage of our 14-day free trial to explore all of our features.

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