Jublo is a certified UK translation and digital agency based in Leeds.

What is Transcreation & When Should You Use It

What is Transcreation & When Should You Use it?

When translating content into another language, it’s very easy to get things wrong and end up with a translation fail on your hands. While incorrect translations are often funny, they simply aren’t good for business. 

Incorrect translations can vary from anything from misspelt words to misrepresented meanings. This is where transcreation comes in. Transcreation takes note of the subtleties of the culture and language you are translating to, so that none of the original meaning is lost.

In this post, Jublo explains what transcreation is, the difference between transcreation and translation, and when transcreation is the better option. We’ll also look at examples of when transcreation would have benefited some big businesses marketing efforts. While these translation fails didn’t lead to commercial success, they certainly did lead to a few laughs.

What is transcreation?

Transcreation, as indicated by its name, is a combination of translation and creation. The intention of this service is to get across the core message of a piece of content. As different countries and cultures have different figures of speech, sayings and inferred meanings, word-for-word translation often just won’t cut it.

Transcreation is a service that is carried out by professional translators who are also talented writers. These translators change a text to make its meaning culturally appropriate for the target market. They also ensure that your brand identity shines through, enabling you to portray your business or website accurately.


Tip: Read this blog if you want to know more about the importance of transcreation.

What is the difference between translation and transcreation?

Translation alone is the verbatim translation of a piece of text into another language. This process produces a word-for-word replication of the original text in another language. 

Transcreation, on the other hand, uses different wording to get across the original meaning. So the words may differ from their original meaning, but the overall meaning of the sentence, slogan or entire website is intact and well expressed.

When should you use transcreation?

Transcreation is almost always the better option. When using the services of a professional translating agency like Jublo, transcreation is simply part of the translation process. We take the target market’s culture, norms, slang and more into account when translating a message into another language so that your meaning is fully expressed and understood by the target audience.

Transcreation should be used in the travel industry, legal industry, the business sector, and on websites.

Times when transcreation would have helped

There have been a few instances where big businesses expand their offerings overseas without making use of transcreation. Below you can see just how badly this has gone and how funny some of these fails were in the end.

Coors

The American beer company, Coors, learnt the hard way that slang doesn’t always translate well. When it launched its “Turn it loose” campaign in Spain, its tagline included an expression that’s commonly interpreted as “suffer from diarrhoea.” This campaign received a lot of attention, just not the type the company were aiming for.

KFC

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s slogan "Finger-lickin' Good!" is well-known in the English-speaking world, but when it branched out into China, it was quickly lost in translation. The slogan became “Eat Your Fingers!” which just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Gazprom

A Russian company, Gazprom, collaborated with Nigeria’s state oil company and unfortunately named the company “Nigaz”. A little bit of cultural sensitivity would have gone a long way here.

General Motors

When General Motors brought out the Chevy Nova in South America, the company didn’t take into consideration that the Spanish expression “No Va” means “It won’t go”. Not exactly what people are looking for from a car.

Do you need transcreation services?

If you’re preparing to branch out into a new country or are in need of professional translation services, get in touch with us today. Our talented transcreation specialists will ensure that your content is accurately translated, with its original meaning intact.