What is transcreation?

The linguistic niche is always very rich and wide. After all, when we refer to languages, we are also referring to different habits, slangs, cultures and ways of thinking. And it was exactly due to the plurality related to languages that the concept of transcreation emerged.

Also known as creative translation, transcreation emerged exactly to establish new parameters in translation, going beyond what we already know.

That is, transcreation does not simply translate terms, words and sentences. This type of service focuses on going beyond the direct equivalence, analyzing several important factors for a complete and efficient translation.

After all, what is transcreation and what its objective is?

Creative translation, as its name suggests, aims to think outside the box when performing a linguistic adaptation, especially in commercial and corporate environments and areas that involve marketing.

O que é transcriação?

Therefore, in transcreation it is important to adapt elements that are different from usual, such as wordplay, images, ideas, idiomatic expressions and many more.

The aim of transcreation is to cause in another language the same impact created in the original language.

Differences between transcreation, translation and localization within linguistic services

Translation, localization and creative translation have specificities that set them apart.

Thus, we will discuss the main differences between these types of services, in order to better understand the concept of transcreation, as well as its practical application.


Translation is a “simple” and objective service. That is, its function is to translate words from a language to other, without taking so much into consideration cultural and local aspects.

This type of linguistic service is very used to translate texts of the most varied types (articles, reporting, news, interviews).

However, even in simple translation it is necessary to interpret the original text, but with less profound adjustments related to the cultural aspect.


Localization is considered a deeper translation service. We may see localized content in films, series, comedy shows and books, for example.

It is possible that specific themes emerge in the original work that only the target audience in the country of origin could understand.

When the content is then taken to another country, a translation has to be made taking into consideration the cultural and linguistic context of a certain market or region.

That is, the translation with focus on localization adopts a more conceptual approach, aiming to deliver a product that is more suitable to the audience that will receive the content.


In transcreation, the aim is to translate certain content leaving semantic issues aside. There is instead the pursuit of a creative equivalence of terms and expressions.

We may say that creative translation consists of translating a message – not only a text – created in a language, in order to transport it to another language.

This type of work is very usual in the sectors of entertainment and advertising, being considered a pillar within a global marketing strategy of a brand, for example.

In order to better understand how transcreation works, let’s use a practical example.

McDonalds, the largest fast food company in the world, has the slogan i’m lovin’ it. In simple translation, that would be something as “estou adorando”. Taking into consideration cultural aspects, the translation could represent something as “gosto tanto”.

However, in Portuguese, the marketing team of the fast food network had to execute a creative translation, in order to have the same message, even if with other words. The result was the successful slogan “amo muito tudo isso” (I love all this very much).

Therefore, we may say that transcreation preserves the intention and the tone of the text.

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