transcreation, advertising translation, marketing translation

Translating advertising copy

transcreation, advertising translation, marketing translation

Successfully translating slogans, straplines and advertising campaigns, involves more than employing the services of a translator. Just as your advertising copy is carefully crafted using a professional creative copywriter, a specialist should also handle your creative translation projects.

For this kind of translation project, transcreation is required. As it sounds, it’s a mash up between translation and creation, and does exactly that. Translates advertising copy creatively. You may also find it referred to as ‘creative translation’ or ‘adaptive translation.’

Consider how Cheeky Wipes, an eco-friendly baby wipe manufacturer, can communicate internationally with its slogan “Making a bum job better.” Simply translating it might well perplex some international consumers. This double-entendre may translate successful using one meaning, such as ‘bottom’ or ‘rubbish job’, but without both meanings the humour is lost, the slogan loses its impact, and consumers may be left feeling confused or even offended.

Clever, funny, and culturally relevant advertising campaigns often struggle to work in overseas markets when translated faithfully. So instead of starting from scratch with a new advertising campaign specifically for the target market, transcreation services can help.

Transcreation – creative translations

Transcreation aims to do the following:

Preserve the brand positioning and identity – while sometimes a brand name may be inappropriate in a target market and therefore requires some creative adaptation, the brand values and brand image are retained.

Keep the core message – in the Cheeky Wipes example the core message is that the product is an improvement on other alternatives. With transcreation this message is retained, just adapted so it works in the target market.

Evoke the same emotional response – similarly how the target customer feels about your product and the emotional reaction to the campaign is also preserved. Sometimes these emotions might need to be dialled up or down a little so they resonate better with the target customer.

Optimise the campaign for the target audience – using creative translation and localisation, transcreation makes the advertising campaign, slogan or strapline more culturally relevant to the local market.

What transcreation doesn’t do is scrap the original campaign and start again. Although the translated text may be quite different to the source text after transcreation, the creative ideas behind it and the emotions that engage and influence consumer behaviour are kept.

Work with us

Our team of international copywriters are experts at transcreation, just as your team of creatives are experts at creating original and compelling marketing and advertising copy. They work with you to find the best creative translations for your campaigns, and will suggest a number of different options and how the text can be handled in different ways.

To find out more about transcreation services visit this page, or contact our team directly to discuss your next translation project. Call +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

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