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Transcreation... Creative Translation

Transcreation of Graphics and Images

If you've been thinking about marketing your products or services in another language, you've likely come across the term, transcreation. While there are several different definitions for this, we like to keep it simple; creative translation…

Transcreation refers to the re-creation of your brand names, logos, and slogans to communicate more effectively with multicultural target markets. We refer to this as creative translation because it requires extensive cultural expertise and creativity to get the proper results.

While professional translation should always consider cultural differences, its primary objective is to convey the original message accurately into other languages. Depending on the situation, transcreation might entail a complete alteration of the message to properly position the products or services in the minds of the consumers.


Below are examples of successful and unsuccessful transcreation.

Successful Transcreation:

In 2015, Amazon launched a highly successful ad campaign in India, capturing the attention of nearly everybody who saw the ad.

The #AurDikhao campaign – which translates to “show me more” – pleasantly draws attention to the cultural norm amongst Indian consumers to purchase only the best products or services.

While the ad is completely tailored for the Indian consumer, Amazon’s core message is still clear; you can buy nearly anything on Amazon.

Check it out for yourself!

Unsuccessful Transcreation:

A less successful example of transcreation is Apple’s iPhone 7 launch in certain Chinese markets. The original slogan, “This is 7”, translates literally to “This is Penis” in Cantonese.

Unfortunately for Apple, “7” is pronounced “tsat”, which is also a Cantonese slang word for something else… As you might imagine, the slogan went viral, but not in the way Apple intended.


In order to avoid Apple's dilemma, here are our three keys to successful transcreation.

  • Know your core brand identity. The most important aspect of transcreation is to capture and relay the essence of your organization and it’s offerings. It is easy to lose sight of your core identity when tailoring your marketing campaigns to foreign markets. Make sure your localized campaigns express your values and market position to foreign markets.

  • Know your audiences. Different audiences have different values, norms, and behaviors, which must be accounted for when re-creating marketing efforts. From the catchy music to the catchy tagline, Amazon’s #AurDikhao campaign was entirely geared toward the Indian consumer, which is why it caught such a huge buzz when it was aired.

  • Consult with experts native to your target markets. As we saw in the two examples above, using experts who are truly native to your target markets can make or break a campaign. From project conception to the campaign launch, expert localization and language specialists can help detect potential cultural or linguistic concerns with your transcreation projects. Don’t leave yourself in a rut the week before launch, consult with a transcreation or localization expert.


Auracom International offers professional translation, interpretation, and localization services in over 200 languages. View our services or contact us directly for more information.

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