Can You Use AI for Marketing Transcreation?

Marketing Transcreation in the Age of AI: Limitations and Challenges

When it comes to creating effective global marketing campaigns that drive engagement and trust, understanding human psychology, emotions, and behavior motivators is crucial. 68% of people now believe that brand trust is more important than ever, according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer study.

While AI tools such as automated machine translation offer speed and cost-effectiveness, it don’t offer much beyond that, especially in cases when marketing content is involved. These tools can strip away a brand’s unique voice and create a generic model, which may not be suitable for brands that want to fully transcreate or translate their message for a new target market. In this blog post, we’ll explore the role of AI in marketing transcreation, how to leverage its strengths, and where it falls short.

Transcreation vs. Translation Services: Key Differences

In global marketing and advertising projects, both translation and transcreation are crucial for success, but they can lead to different outcomes. Translation involves rendering text word-for-word from one language to another, while transcreation involves recreating the original text while preserving brand guidelines and marketing messages to suit the target audience.

So transcreation has nothing to do with literal translation and often requires starting from scratch and creating something unique that still has roots in the original messaging. This approach is particularly useful in marketing content, such as ads, social media, and brand identity elements, where emotions and behavior motivators need to be considered alongside the product features and benefits.

Cultural contexts play a vital role in the success of the translation and transcreation process, as the same product or service can be perceived differently by people around the world. For example, in the United States, a “hard sell” approach and humor are often used in marketing campaigns, while in India and Japan, marketing messages are focused on community and collectivist values, and in Europe, individualist messaging tends to be more effective.

  • Word-for-word rendering
  • Original text as a basis
  • Enabling communication across languages
  • Aim for accuracy and fluency
  • Used in technical or informational content
  • Less focus on cultural nuances
  • Creative adaptation of text
  • Fresh, unique creation
  • Tailoring messages to resonate with target audience
  • Aims to evoke emotions and motivate behavior
  • Used in marketing materials
  • Enriches the message with cultural nuances

Read our comprehensive guide on transcreation vs. translation services if you want to learn more.

Marketing Transcreation and AI: (How) Is AI changing the Marketing and Advertising Industry?

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing industries across the board, and marketing is no exception. With AI-powered translation tools, businesses can now communicate across borders in any local language faster and more cost-effectively than ever before. Forward-thinking companies are taking full advantage of these tools, customizing them to meet their unique needs.

In fact, the global spend on AI solutions is predicted to exceed $500 billion in 2023 according to an IDC forecast. Moreover, another statistic from Sales Force notes that 59% of marketers are already touting AI as a productivity booster. However, while AI is advancing at lightning speed, we’re still a long way from creating a multi-skilled system that can match the creative, cultural, and technical expertise of a human translator.

Here’s how the localization industry and marketing agencies can leverage AI:

  • Increase efficiency by automating many tasks performed by humans

Undoubtedly, AI is here to stay and will continue to take up tasks that are being done by human employers and experts. According to statistics from Market Splash, 84% of organizations see AI as a strategic priority. That means they’re happy to invest and pay for automation tools. However, despite advances in AI technology, translators and copywriters will remain in demand especially since marketing campaigns will always require transcreation services.

That means AI can be used to translate high-volume marketing content while humans will most likely be assigned more post-editing tasks to ensure the accuracy and fluency of the content. In other words, AI is still dependent on machine translation post-editing (MTPE) services.Compared to machine translation (MT) services alone, it is a known fact that MTPE entails the additional cost of human editing. MTPE cost may vary depending on factors such as language pair, text complexity, and deadline. However, in the long run, it is often a cost-effective solution for businesses that want transcreation in marketing projects.

  • Leverage automation to drive creativity

AI tools can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up time for creative brainstorming and original ideas. Creators and translators who were once concerned about being replaced by AI are now enthusiastic about the technology.

They understand how artificial intelligence can help them focus on more important tasks, such as creating new and innovative marketing content. According to research, AI can increase business productivity by up to 40%, implying that it can play a significant role in driving creativity and innovation.

  • AI can analyze big data but has limitations in understanding human psychology

Human translators have a better understanding of cultural nuances and can identify issues that an AI system may overlook. While an AI tool can translate a slogan, only a human translator or transcreator can determine whether the translated content resonates with the target audience and whether any cultural references were lost in translation. As such, by combining the strengths of AI and human translators, businesses can achieve more accurate and culturally appropriate marketing campaigns that are specifically designed to adapt to their unique global branding guidelines.

AI Shortcomings in Marketing Transcreation Projects: The Human Touch

In 2020, in a survey conducted by McKinsey, 50% of respondents report that companies have adopted AI in at least one business function. Interestingly enough, the study also showed that AI solutions were particularly vulnerable when it came to marketing and sales, with 32% of respondents saying that AI was misperformed heavily there.

One key aspect where AI falls short of marketing transcreation is cultural sensitivity. This requires a deep understanding and respect for the customs, beliefs, values, and conventions of a particular group of people, which machines cannot fully grasp.

People didn’t always care so much about brand values, but now they care more than ever, to the point where they buy specific brands just because they appreciate their uniqueness in the market.

In marketing, trust is also important, with 72% of consumers in a survey saying they will only consider a brand only if they trust in its authentic messaging.

Lastly, while AI can improve fluency, it still lacks the accuracy and nuance of human experts to provide language service. Overall, you’ll always need professional translation services run by human translators, editors, proofreaders, fact-checkers, and project managers to handle your project.

Statistics speak clearly. Accenture Holiday Shopping survey showed that 70% of younger millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity, and this includes speaking to them in their local language. Below we offer three major limitations of AI in marketing transcreation that can really damage your chances in new markets.

3 Elements of Marketing Transcreation that Need Human Experts

  • Using jokes, puns, and colloquial language to attract target markets

Marketing content is filled with cultural nuances which in local languages is all about the use of colloquialisms, puns, humor, and jokes. By using them, marketers craft correct and enticing messages that resonate with target audiences. Words alone can’t sell, but powerful phrases that take into account culture and beliefs do. For instance, jokes that may work very well in one language may not work in another, or even be offensive. AI has yet to reach a point where it can use emotional intelligence, a feature until now only humans have, to create marketing content that is relevant to target markets. That is why human experts are required to transcreate such messages by not only translating the words but also adapting them to the target audience‘s cultural context.

  • Selecting visuals that resonate with the local values

Visuals are an important part of marketing transcreation because they help to capture the attention of the target audience. For greater impact, it is necessary not only to use high-quality visuals but also to understand the culture you are localizing in and select visuals that will entice them to buy. Because AI cannot yet do this, human transcreators not only have a better understanding of what and how words are used in a certain society, but they can also tailor your visuals to the market you’re trying to expand into. They can change the colors, images, and other visual elements to make them more culturally appropriate for the local context.

  • Choosing people, symbols, and references that positively represent local audiences

Marketing transcreation is also big on symbols and references because selling includes few words and strong messaging which can often be enriched with visuals but also elements from society. The process of carefully selecting representation necessitates a thorough understanding of the target audience‘s culture and how they perceive various types of representation. Respect for elders, for example, is essential in some cultures, whereas youth is highly valued in others.

Human-run transcreation services can also change images and messages to make them more culturally appropriate for the local context. This approach not only helps to create a more effective message but also demonstrates respect for the cultural values and beliefs of the target audience.

Can You Use AI for Marketing Transcreation?


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What are the advantages of technical translation?

If you cooperate with a technical translation agency to translate technical documents with interest to your target audience, you’ll:

  • Build trust and authority which will convert to more sales.
  • Increase your profit, brand awareness, and reach.
  • Become a pioneer in markets where the said industry isn’t saturated.
  • Remain compliant with local regulatory guidelines.
  • Connect with foreign audiences by offering valuable technical expertise.


As impressive as AI market translation tools may be, it still falls short of understanding the complexities of cultural nuances and the emotional drivers that influence consumer behavior. To ensure error-free and high-quality content, machine translations require close monitoring and editing by human experts. Thus, it’s crucial to strike a balance between AI and human intelligence to achieve marketing transcreation that is both effective and culturally relevant.

Brands that embrace this approach can engage with their global audiences more effectively, delivering content that resonates with their target customers, and achieving business success. Laoret offers the expertise of native and local experts with extensive experience in creating high-performing marketing translation services. Our team has a deep understanding of cultural nuances, regional preferences, and local dialects, ensuring that your message is accurately transcreated for the target language. Request a quick quote now to learn more.

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