Localising digital content into Japanese: The transcreation process

Anna Wildman

The Importance of Global Marketing

With the development of the internet, there are more reasons to do business globally. In order to expand abroad, more companies are now managing digital content in multiple languages.

How do you reach users in your target country/region and showcase your products and services? How do you convey your brand message? Understanding the local language, culture, and market is essential for planning and producing localised content.

Let’s discuss how to best localise content, with a particular focus on the Japanese market.

Language - Transcreate beyond Translation

The most important element of localisation is language. Simply translating from language A to B is often not enough to  convey important messages. Although digital translation tools are getting better, they are not perfect. 

Direct translations, word by word, should also be avoided as they can be confusing for the reader. In global marketing, translations always require editing and review by someone who understands both languages. In short, transcreation (translation + creation) is necessary. 

Culture - Know the differences between cultures

In global marketing, due to differences in culture, often what is an appropriate expression in one region can be inappropriate in another. Content localisation requires a deep understanding of the local culture. For this reason, it should always be created by native editors.

Market - Adapt strategy to local circumstances

Terminology and channels are a reflection of the local market’s distinct features, which means that companies need to conduct in-depth market research to discover the optimal strategy. We at TAMLO use Google trends, social listening, surveys and customer interviews.

Transcreation is the way

 “Transcreation” is the combination of “translation” and “creation”, which is used in the marketing and translation industries. This is a technique that considers the differences in languages, cultures and markets, and delivers accurate localised messaging. As we introduced earlier, when we are looking to translate content, what we actually do is transcreate.

So, how do you transcreate content? We achieve this through the following two-step workflow:

  1. Decide on the messaging (of the brand/product/service)

The client will either give us their mission statement or vision, or we co-create this together for the Japanese market. At times, we also run workshops with clients to help spark creativity.

  1. Transcreate into Japanese

Our team of bilingual editors, native writers, analysts and planners will transcreate the messaging, keeping in mind the context of the language, culture and market . 

Communication is key, especially for global businesses. To create content that resonates with the local community, transcreation is the best way forward.


Anna Wildman

Content Strategist


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