Transcreation Services for the Creative Industries: What, Who and How

Last updated Jan 22, 2024
By Lucy Williams

You might have heard about transcreation services. They’re often talked about in the same breath as creative industries. This is because they both involve creative processes. Creative industries sometimes need to reach people who speak other languages. This article looks at the what, who and how of transcreation services for creative industries.

Blackboard and lightbulb representing brainstorming in transcreation services
Transcreation services involve thinking out of the box. Transcreators brainstorm ideas to convey your brand message in other languages. They make sure you connect with people in their own language and that helps you sell.

What are creative industries and why do they use transcreation services?

Creative industries are based on individual creativity, skill and talent. This might mean designing or developing new products. Or be related to ideas and words. It’s a spectrum of related industries with a common thread. That common thread is that they deal with words, creativity, imagination and skill.

Design, fashion, marketing, advertising, travel literature, video, film and photography are creative industries. In different ways, they deal with imagination, feelings, creative processes and ideas. It’s important that creative industries can explain their ideas to potential customers. But, sometimes those ideas don’t translate well into another culture.

Maybe a type of humour falls flat in a different culture. Perhaps things seen as rude in one culture are funny in another. If the customer is turned off for whatever reason, you’ve lost the possible sale. That’s where transcreation can help.

What is transcreation?

As Gwen explained in her article What Is Transcreation?, transcreation services involve a combination of translation and copywriting. But they’re more than just that. Transcreation takes marketing into account, but it’s a more creative process than marketing translation. You might use transcreation when you need marketing that is specifically designed for another language and culture. Transcreation means thinking outside the box. It helps you connect with customers in other cultures.

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Transcreators are both professional translators and professional copywriters. They know how to take your original material and adapt it. Transcreators are professionals with a foot in both cultures. They use this knowledge and their copywriting and marketing skills to ensure your text achieves its goals. They look at the whole package, visuals as well as words.

A professional transcreation can make the difference between success and failure in the new market.

For what types of documents do you need transcreation services?

Anything where you want to make an emotional connection with your target reader. Texts that you use to sell are obvious candidates for transcreation. Frequently transcreated documents include websites, advertisements, marketing and promotional materials.

As we saw in my article Transcreation Examples: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, a poor-quality literal translation can do a lot of damage to your brand. Nobody wants to discover that their brand name has a completely different and embarrassing meaning somewhere else. Like Ford did, when it discovered that its brand-new Pinto model meant tiny male genitals in Brazilian Portuguese.

Transcreators combine their translation and copywriting skills with knowledge of the target culture. Their finished product respects the spirit of the original and elicits a positive response from the target customer. A professional transcreation can make the difference between success and failure in the new market. So, let’s look at transcreation and how it’s used in creative industries.

Transcreation for travel and tourism

An important part of tourism is sales and marketing copy. You want to get your clients excited about your destination or product. It’s about making sure they want to go there. This is where transcreation comes in.

You need transcreation services when you want to make an emotional connection with your target reader

The travel and tourism industry relies on how one culture perceives the different elements of another culture or place. These perceptions won’t necessarily localise well. Transcreation adapts those ideas for your target market. That way, they can make sure your texts stir the emotions you are looking for. Encouraging the reader to book a holiday.

Transcreation services for the tourism industry might include taking a more creative approach to travel guides, adverts, promotional materials, menus and brochures.

Transcreation services for fashion and design

The fashion industry is cyclical and based on seasonal collections of clothes. As well as descriptions of clothes and new collections, there are regular press releases. These are often very specific to the target market and require an understanding of that market. As with tourism, there are often slogans and advertisements to be adapted.

Fashion encompasses luxury products, where it’s important to get the right feel in the target language. Texts for the fashion industry often involve transcreation. It’s not just descriptions of clothes.

As we said before, transcreation uses copywriting and marketing skills to look at the whole package and how it’s seen in different cultures. As I wrote about in my article Is Fashion Translation a Good Fit for You? persuasive marketing copy is an important part of fashion. Brands need customers across different cultures to identify with them and fall in love with their products. That’s what transcreation can do.

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Transcreation services for online SEO

Writers of blogs and articles may also need transcreation. Social media is an important part of marketing these days. Transcreators can combine their language and copywriting skills to produce a finished product that properly adapts your Tweets, for instance, to the new target culture.

They take visuals and other aspects into account. Transcreation services make sure that the whole package hits the mark and gets the reader reaction you’re looking for. Transcreation services make sure you get a text that sounds natural and that is adapted to cultural issues.

How do you get good transcreation services?

Good transcreation services are all about getting a trustworthy professional. Transcreators are, above all, top-class writers. They are native speakers of their target language and have a very high level in the source language. That means they have excellent knowledge of the cultural background of both languages. So, they understand marketing and can advise you what will work for your target market.

With these skills, a transcreator can look at the whole package and reproduce it for your target audience.

Your ideal transcreator will have experience working in or translating/transcreating for your specific creative industry. They should be qualified in translation and copywriting. They’ll understand marketing translation. These qualities will ensure well-written copy. Which, in turn, makes sure your reader does what you want them to. A transcreator can also provide cultural advice. For instance, they can tell you when a specific term or image probably won’t work for the target audience.

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Written by Lucy Williams

Lucy Williams is a subtitler and a Spanish-English translator for fashion, tourism and luxury goods/services. She holds the CIOL Diploma in Translation and is a native English copywriter specialising in SEO-optimised long-form content. Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn.

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  1. Beth Jones

    Another good one!
    I so agree — your article reminds me of a translation I once wrote for the Austrian ski industry. One of the resorts involved was/is on a mountain named “Loser”. Pronounced “LOH-zer” in German, but of course looking like “Loser” in English, it was quite the linguistic tightrope I had to walk!

    Thanks for the helpful info about transcreation.
    Best regards,

    • Lucy Williams

      Thanks for reading, Beth!


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