Transcreation Transforms Digital Marketing in All Industry Sectors

welocalize January 25, 2017

As the Internet grows global businesses and shrinks physical boundaries, there is increasing demand for transcreation as part of localization programs. Transcreation’s rapid growth is made essential because it satisfies a hunger for content in markets outside of the English speaking digital space.

Through transcreation, global brands can establish owned media as a marketing strategy for international distribution of good quality content and start to nurture new leads into future customers.

It is a common perception that transcreation is a technique used only for highly creative marketing and advertising materials. Taglines, advertising straplines, clever online banners, logos, imaging and other digital promotional activities, all of these marketing content types require transcreation in the localization process to effectively reach multicultural audiences.

Many global content and brand marketers are fully aware that some marketing content does not work when linguistically translated and requires “recreating” to meet language and cultural needs in multiple markets. However, transcreation is not just those involved in marketing localization. Customers and stakeholders interact with many different types of branded content across the whole globalization journey, from legal content through to online customer support. Even the most logical and technical content may require transcreation.

Transcreation in Software Localization

In the localization process for software and UI, there are many techniques that can help successfully and accurately create software for local markets. Menu commands and strings do need translation by a native speaking translator; however, consideration must be taken into other components. Is the color of the interface appropriate for the audience? Is the tone of the customer support appropriate? Do users in every market recognize a “thumbs up” icon? Do Western software users scan the screen in the same way as those in Asian markets? Even though software localization may be seen to be more technical and straightforward, cultural habits and traits play a key role; therefore, transcreation techniques must be applied in the process.

Transcreation in Compliance and Regulatory Materials

Another area where transcreation is required to interpret content for multiple audiences is compliance and regulatory materials. In some legal or employee communications, there may be local terms used to describe scenarios that will not translate. For example, the term “whistle blower” is often used in certain English legal documents; however, the term does not correctly translate. Another phrase must be used that conveys the same message outlined in the source material. Similar scenarios apply for employee and health and safety communications. Facts may remain the same, yet the overall message and context will vary between local markets.

Transcreation in Technical Communications

Many technical documents, especially those used in manufacturing, require high levels of accuracy. This is especially true for scientific detail, product instructions and measurements. These facts must be translated to 100% accuracy to ensure full, safe operation of equipment.

Context and the tone of voice will need to vary across markets to make sure communications resonate with local users. For many products in manufacturing and automotive sectors, the product itself is often physically adapted, with different features targeting different geographical markets. The same approach applies to any supporting content, whether marketing or otherwise.

Simply translating the source technical or product manual is no longer enough. The content for each market must communicate and instruct the local user experience. This involves engaging a translator who is a native speaker and has subject matter expertise, as well as someone who is familiar with the culture of the target market and helps create the desired customer experience in getting the facts and the message right.

Transcreation in Learning Materials

Learning and educational techniques vary across countries and markets. Some learning content must be transcreated to allow for different habits and styles, including examinations and tests. Asian markets prefer continuous assessment and exams; whereas, US students prefer online coursework.

In the wider context, the overall learning experience may require overall transcreation to hit the right tone of voice and style of the local student. With the right transcreation service, you can access global audiences by outputting high quality localized content.

In order for any global content to be effective, it needs to be made relevant and developed with the end user in mind. This related to text and images being placed in the correct context. In a multilingual marketing arena, transcreation is the ultimate leveraging tool for all types of content in every industry.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.