What are Some Examples of Transcreation?

Transcreation is a concept that’s becoming increasingly recognized in the field of language services and surpasses the scope of simple translation. But what is transcreation in simple words? In simple words, it is a creative process focused on changing a message so it makes sense and feels right in another language and culture. It is about keeping the same meaning and feeling, even if the words differ.

3 elements of transcreation infographic

Furthermore, transcreation is a multifaceted process that can be applied in various ways depending on the content, target audience, and specific goals of a project, which leads to different types of transcreation. Let’s check out the types of transcreation and the best transcreation examples.


Advertising Transcreation

This type of transcreation is often used in advertising. It involves adapting slogans, taglines, and other marketing materials to resonate with a specific cultural audience. It’s not just about translating the words but capturing the original message’s essence, tone, and emotional impact to ensure that the brand’s message and values are communicated effectively to different markets.

An excellent example of transcreation in advertising is the global campaign for Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” slogan. The slogan was transcreated into different languages, with each version designed to evoke the same feelings of joy and positivity in the target audience.

Another classic example of transcreation in advertising is the famous slogan of McDonald’s, “I’m Lovin’ It,” which is well-known in English-speaking countries and is associated with the brand’s image of fun, fast, and enjoyable food.

However, when McDonald’s expanded to China, a direct translation of “I’m Lovin’ It” would not have resonated well with the local audience due to cultural and linguistic differences. Instead, McDonald’s opted for a transcreated slogan, “我就喜欢,” which roughly translates to “I just like it.” This version maintains the positive and upbeat tone of the original slogan while being culturally and linguistically appropriate for the Chinese audience.


Literary Transcreation

In literature, transcreation might involve adapting cultural references, humor, idioms, and even the names of characters to make a book characters’ namesakes in a different culture. It’s about maintaining the artistic and emotional integrity of the original work. So, what is an excellent example of transcreation in this field? A good example of transcreation in literature is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The books have been transcreated into numerous languages, with careful attention paid to cultural references, humor, and even characters’ names and spells.

Audiovisual Transcreation

This involves adapting visual and auditory elements in movies, TV shows, and video games. It may include changing visual cues, music, sound effects, and even the appearance of characters to align with the cultural norms and expectations of the target audience. Movies are an excellent example of transcreation; for movies, It’s not just about translating the dialogue; it’s about adapting cultural references, humor, and even visual elements to resonate with the target audience. So, what is an example of a transcreation movie? A notable example is the movie “Inside Out” by Pixar. In one scene, a character dislikes broccoli, which was changed to bell peppers for the Japanese version since children in Japan tend to dislike bell peppers more than broccoli.

Musical Transcreation

Transcreation in music involves adapting song lyrics to maintain rhythm, rhyme, and emotional impact when translated into different languages. It’s a complex process that requires a deep understanding of both languages’ nuances and the target audience’s cultural context.

Although music is a universal language, lyrics often must be adapted to resonate with audiences in different cultures. This is where transcreation comes into play. Transcreation in songs involves more than just translating the words; it’s about conveying the same emotions, rhythm, and cultural references.

One of our favorite transcreation song examples is the Spanish version of “This Ain’t A Love Song” by Bon Jovi. The transcreated version, “Como yo nadie te ha amado,” adapts the lyrics and plays with the rhymes while maintaining the original version’s emotional tone and romantic message to address the Spanish-speaking audiences.


What are the Similarities and Differences Between Translation and Transcreation?

Now that you know more about transcreation, the different types, and some examples, you may notice that translation and transcreation processes are essential for effective cross-cultural communication and require linguistic expertise, cultural understanding, creativity, and ethical consideration.

However, transcreation leads the way when it’s about conveying the same message in different languages. While translation involves converting text from one language to another while maintaining the original message’s meaning, transcreation involves adapting the content to make it culturally relevant and engaging for the target audience. In our article Translation vs. Transcreation, we look deeper at these two different translation styles.

Transcreation is undoubtedly a creative process that requires a profound comprehension of both linguistic rules and cultural nuances to adapt content effectively for a particular audience. Whether it’s a song, an ad campaign, a book, or a movie, transcreation can make the difference between a message that falls flat and one that truly resonates with its audience.


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Updated 2/21/2024. 

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