Transcreation – impacting local markets with the power of language

Transcreation is a term made up of the words translation and creation. The concept behind the term is that the content of a text is adapted for a certain set of target readers and tailored to their specific needs. This is more than just a simple translation because, essentially, something entirely new is created on the basis of the source material. It could also be referred to as "creative translation" – but the term transcreation has already established itself in the industry.

For whom and why – when transcreation should be used

Not every adaptation of content to the local situation is necessarily a creative service. For websites with a heavy dose of information, for instance, formal aspects – time and date format, units of measure, currencies – are often the focus in addition to linguistic adaptation. This is one aspect of website localisation. 

By contrast, we recommend transcreation primarily for content with a significant marketing focus: this could mean entire campaigns or individual slogans and advertisements. Product names are also something that should be thoroughly considered. Some car models like the Lada Nova (Spanish: ‘does not go’) or the Toyota MR2 (sounds like merde, which means "shit" in French) could have done with an expert review.

Many international companies such as BMW, McDonald’s and Dell are aware of the benefits of transcreation and have been using it for some time now. Some of the adaptations are legendary – and have become themselves a part of pop culture. „You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? A Royale with cheese!“ (Vincent in Pulp Fiction)

But not only major corporations make use of transcreation – small and medium-sized enterprises should also consider this approach. In general, we recommend transcreation whenever brands grow globally and hope to resonate on a local level.

How transcreation works – characteristics and features

Transcreation is particularly successful if you are not able to tell that the adapted version is actually a translation. The text has to fit the target market – not only with regard to language and content, but especially in terms of cultural aspects.

This includes language style, tonality, dialects, sayings, specific technical terms and much more. Visual codes in the text – colours and imagery – are also a part of the adaptation process.


Transcreation takes the following into account:

  • Cultural environment in the target country
  • Specific characteristics of the local market
  • Informational and purchasing behaviours of the target audience
  • Corporate and product image
  • Marketing concepts
  • Messages and emotions of the original text

Who can do it – necessary skills of true transcreators

Ideally, "transcreators" feel at home in two languages. They can speak both the source as well as target language of a text – the latter being their native language.

These are exactly the experts you will find at Apostroph Germany. In addition, our transcreators are creative, good writers, have the necessary marketing expertise and are familiar with the conditions of the respective local market.

How much it costs – contact us!

With all that expertise, transcreation takes more time than a ‘normal’ translation – 
so an assessment of the additional effort should be done in advance. We would be happy to do that together with you as part of a detailed conversation,

where we will discuss your objectives and weigh all the alternatives. If you ultimately place an order, we will come up with a detailed briefing together.

We make use of digital tools so that we can structure our efforts as effectively as possible. Terminology databases compare our translations with your corporate language. Translation memory systems prevent your slogan from being retranslated each time, preventing the worst-case scenario of different translation results. This means that our experts are free to focus on the truly tricky questions – and you only pay for the really creative work. 

Do you have any questions? Would you like to work with us?

I would be delighted to introduce you to Apostroph Germany and its services in person.
Tamara Weßel
Operational Management
Tamara Weßel

Achieving goals together

  • Intelligent creativity

    In line with your needs, we put together a creative team that is eloquent and impresses with originality.
  • Your projects in the best hands

    With us, every customer has a dedicated contact person. This means that you will always be looked after by an expert who will respond to your needs and keep you up to date at all times.
  • We speak your language

    Depending on the project, we put together specific teams of internal and external experts who are well versed in your corporate language.