Japanese transcreation and digital marketing

Yuichi Ishino

Points of transcreation for the Japanese market

Advances in digital technology are driving cross-border marketing activities. In line with these developments, the localisation of digital campaigns has become increasingly important.

However, localisation is not that easy. Familiarity with the local market or cultural context is a matter of course as well as knowing the language system itself. Not only does Japanese have a unique writing system completely different from an alphabetical one, but also the grammatical structure is unique. If you miss this point, your brand might become damaged and your campaign might not work effectively. In order to eliminate such risks, it is key to apply transcreation rather than translation.

What is transcreation?

Transcreation is a word that has already been widely recognised in the translation industry, but it has also become popular in the field of marketing. It is a concept that has come to be regarded as important because global corporate activities have become commonplace.

It goes without saying that, in the case of localising content from "A country/region" to "B country/region" with different languages, whether digital or analogue, you need to translate your messages. However, by translating them word by word, meaning can become lost. The phrase, sayings, idioms, etc. differences are several reasons why this will happen. Therefore, transcreation is essential.

Transcreation is a technique that fills the gap between language A and B. You can even  boldly change some phrase whilst keeping the essence of "the message you want to convey." It is also referred to as "creative translation", but that should meet B's culture and context.

Moreover, it should be noted that while transcreation generally tends to focus only on text, we believe that the same can be said for images and videos. Every aspect of localisation will require a fine-grained 'transcreation' method.

How to localise your Web content for the Japanese market

As such, transcreation is an integral part of localisation, but its importance is also increasing in the field of digital marketing. The following are a selection of points in which we should focus on transcreation in Japanese.

Creating a Web Article

  • Persona design
  • Title
  • Description
  • Heading
  • Text
  • Photo Image
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • SEO and keywords

Operation of social account

  • Planning a social media strategy
  • Persona design
  • Target design
  • Title for the social posts
  • Text for the social posts
  • Tagline for the social posts
  • Image for the social posts

It is essential to carry out transcreation on content marketing with the above points. You should always consider an expert's advice on how to transcreate the above content for a local market as they will be familiar with how to implement it effectively.


Yuichi Ishino

Managing Director


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