Drawing a Line between SEO and Transcreation

How can SEO Transcreation help your multilingual SEO campaigns?

Honestly, I am not sure. There seems to be a lot of reasons. Just type SEO Transcreation on Google, and you will get a bunch of answers from leading translation agencies and SEO experts.

But here is the thing. Transcreation can also damage your SEO strategy.

In my capacity as a translation reviewer for a company, I have seen how Transcreation “destroys” the search intent for which a piece of content was created.

I have seen many examples of Meta titles and H1s that are adapted using transcreation and then lose the keywords that help Google understand what the piece of content is about.

The key when translating/localising/transcreating with an SEO strategy in mind is to make sure the target text reflects an equivalent search intention as the source text.

Say the source text says “A Winning Welcome Email Series”, the target language may not use anything similar to “Series”, but rather it may use “Examples”. Then, “Examples” is the keyword that you need to include in your copy. 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, people search for “Examples”; help Google understand this is what your content is about!).

What is Transcreation then?

Transcreation is a creative translation with a very high level of adaptation. Let’s look at the examples below:

"It’s im-paw-sible to resist falling in love with these sweet dogs."

"Bringing the wow factor to the city."

"Im-paw-sible" and "wow factors" are concepts that exist in the English language, but not in some other languages. Hence, it is necessary to recreate the content for a specific language target market, and this process is what I refer to as transcreation.

Now, let’s push the line a little bit further with the following message:

"They sell the widest range of torque-wrenches north of the border. If you’ve forgotten to buy that all-important birthday present for your hubby, we can courier you a torque-wrench down the M4 before you can say Jack Robinson."

Any takers to do the translation? I mean the transcreation…

I get that some people may want to use the word SEO Transcreation, but I think that combining the terms SEO and Transcreation can be very dangerous (no matter how much more you can charge for such a “cool” service).

PS: I am just trying to be faithful to SEO and Transcreation, I do not think they are made for each other.