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  • Writer's pictureDavid García Ruiz

SEO transcreation: what is it and when do you need it?

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Transcreation is a creative process that consists of adapting content from one language to another while preserving its intent, emotion, style, and context. It is often used for marketing materials, advertising campaigns, slogans, and other creative content.

Imagine you have a catchy phrase such as "It’s im-paw-sible to resist falling in love with these sweet dogs." The play on words that we can see in "im-paw-sible" is not going to work in other languages, so you will need to come up with a new idea to maintain the original message's effectiveness and appeal to a new audience.

But hey, we are talking here about SEO transcreation, a term that seems to refer to how SEO and transcreation work together. In this blog post, I will share my thoughts about what SEO transcreation is and when you need it. Let's dive in.

What is SEO transcreation?

From my experience working in the translation industry, SEO transcreation refers to the process of researching and identifying language-equivalent (key)words that are relevant to a specific local market.

However, I think that this process is better referred to as keyword localisation. Why? When finding equivalent keywords, there is not any creative process involved; instead, translators need to use a keyword research tool to discover what the most relevant keywords are for a particular page.

SEO Transcreation on search box

When do you need SEO transcreation?

SEO transcreation is a step before SEO website translation: after researching the keywords that you would like to target on a page, you will be ready to translate your website copy and optimise the on-page SEO.

A word of warning though. Transcreation can easily forget about SEO and prioritise creativity over search intent and other important metrics such as search volume.

Meta titles and H1s that are adapted using transcreation may not take into account the keywords that help Google understand what the piece of content is about.

SEO transcreation example

I am going to use an example to illustrate how the search intention of a page can get mistaken. Imagine that you have a heading such as “How to write an epic welcome email series”.

How to write an epic welcome email series template

People may not use the word “series” in other languages, but instead use the keyword “Examples”. Then, “Examples” is the keyword that you need to include in your copy when doing SEO Translation.

Transcreation would allow you to say “Make a good impression on your customers with your welcome emails”, but it wouldn’t work well for SEO (people don’t search for that; remember that people in other languages search for “Examples”).

I get that some people may want to use the word SEO Transcreation, but I think that combining the terms SEO and Transcreation may not be the most sensible thing to do. Do you still have questions about how SEO transcreation can help you expand to new markets? Get in touch!



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