Top-10 details to include in the ideal transcreation brief

As businesses become more globally aware, the world of transcreation continues to blossom. To successfully reach an audience abroad, a message often needs more than just translation, it needs to be geo-adapted to the target audience while maintaining its original intent, style, tone, and context.

As the term indicates, transcreation merges the words translation and creation to better adjust copy. Audiences will experience the target text without realizing any translation ever occurred. Transcreation, of course, does contain a translation component, but the transcreator goes much beyond just the transfer of words from one language into another. 

This more complex task involves many additional considerations, and it is therefore crucial to provide a more thorough description of the expectations. So, what should go in an ideal transcreation brief? Here are a few tips to improve turn-around, save you money, and set you up for success.

  1. Concept Description: Provide a clear explanation of your idea along with the source text so the transcreator understands what you want to convey. What are the key elements of your text? What areas are of most importance? Do you have prior work for reference?
  2. Objectives: What is the desired outcome? What action is the message supposed to provoke? Is this a new project or part of an ongoing effort? 
  3. Target Audience: Who is the text for? What are their demographics? Who are you trying to reach? What is their profile and education level? Include the customer’s interests, age, their gender, what’s important to them. Be specific. Define your buyer’s persona as clearly as possible. In which countries will the text be used? Are the images and non-verbal content suitable for the target locale?
  4. Cultural Considerations: Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions are a great framework to highlight “problem areas” that might need to be addressed. Do you envision any need for adaptation due to differences in power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, and long-term orientation?
  5. Tone of voice: How formal does the text need to be? Will there be room for humor? Is the text scientific, legal, or trendy and cutting edge? Will the style be academic or light-hearted? What impression do you want the copy to leave?
  6. Deadlines: The more creative copy becomes, the more important it is to have a clear idea up front of the deadline requirements.  Transcreation can be a medium that requires more time than regular translation. Clear guidelines up front make for a better roadmap ahead. 
  7. Brand Guidelines: Do you have a brand guide? What is your brand personality? What values does your brand represent? How does your product or service benefit the customers? How do you differentiate? What are your strengths? Who is your competition?
  8. Feedback loop: What will the feedback and approval process look like? Who will have input on the final copy? Is it being reviewed in-country or just in-house?
  9. Reference Materials: Provide additional documentation that might be useful like brochures, presentation, flyers, and other reference materials. Are there any reference materials available online? Visuals can be just as helpful as written materials. Include previous copies or examples in both source and target if they are available.
  10. Local SEO: Does the copy need to be optimized for foreign search engine visibility? Are there keywords that need to be adapted? Discovering relevant keywords and building the target content around these for global audiences has become an important component of transcreation.



Stefan Huyghe
Stefan Huyghe is Vice President of Localization at Communicaid Inc. where he focuses on running high-level operations, workflow optimization, database development, social selling and community building. He has over 20 years of experience working in the language industry is fluent in Dutch, French, German, and English.


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