The Transcreation Tool

Transcreation is the translation process of adapting the meaning, intent, style, and tone of the source text, rather than the actual words. It is a more creative form of translations,  and therefore requires a creative environment conducive to collaboration.

As transcreation tasks will typically be of high-value and require longer turnaround time, the Transcreation Tool is designed with that in mind. Linguists who are familiar with the Smartling CAT Tool will notice some differences between the two tools. Many of the time-saving functionalities of the CAT Tool, such as shortcuts, filters, and automation functionality, are not in the Transcreation Tool. Instead, the Transcreation Tool focuses on delivering translations with detail, rather than with speed.

This article covers:

How to access the Transcreation Tool

You will be automatically directed to the Transcreation Tool when you edit the content that is in a Transcreation or Transcreation Review step

  • Translators can access the editor easily via their Jobs Dashboard for all jobs in the Transcreation Step by selecting “Open” on a job.
  • All other roles can access the Transcreation Editor from the List-View or Strings View and selecting “Edit in CAT Tool” under Actions.

Attempting to access the Transcreation Tool by following the above steps on any strings that are Published, or from the jobs detail screen by users who have access to that, will result in opening the CAT Tool.

The Transcreation Tool is different from the standard CAT tool in that it allows translators to add multiple transcreation options for one source string and supplies back translations.


Anatomy of the Transcreation Tool


  1. Context Panel: you can view the context for the source file or the translated file.
  2. Settings: allows you to toggle on/off back translations and locked strings.
  3. Source String: where the source strings are displayed above the target translation in the tool. There are no segments, only strings in the Transcreation tool.
    • If there is a Glossary term in the source, it will be highlighted with a dotted underline. Simply click the term to view the glossary entry detail.
    • If there are HTML formatting tags in the source copy, simply click the tag to apply it to the transcreation option you are currently on. Note, if you are on the Back translation panel, clicking tags in the source will do nothing.
  4. Transcreation Option: where your Transcreation Options are listed. You can provide multiple Transcreation Options for each source string.
  5. Back Translations (optional): you can provide context on your translation by providing a back translation - a literal reverse translation of the transcreation.
  6. Add a Transcreation Option: you can add a Transcreation Option here. There is no limit to the number of options you can add.
  7. Delete a Transcreation Option: this button allows you to delete an option. Please note, there is no undo function.
  8. Preferred Option: at any point in the workflow, a translator can prefer one Transcreation Option over the others by clicking the star on the option. This option is now the primary option and will be the only option:
    1. Saved to the Translation Memory 
    2. Visible from Strings View
    3. Visible in the Target Context
  9. Additional Details: you can view general information about the account, project, and job here - including Style Guide, Glossaries, and Job Attachments which are a great place to put a creative brief!
  10. String Details: this panel will tell you more about the individual string you are working on.
  11. String History: here you'll see the life cycle of the string in the String History panel. 
  12. Submit: you have the option to submit the current string you are working on, or submit all strings in the job. Please note, “Submit All” will only submit strings with Transcreation Options.

The strings' panel is resizable and details panel on the right are resizable and collapsible. Simply click a drag to adjust the sizing to your preference.

Ask a Question

You can open an issue on any transcreation string to ask the content owner a question for further clarification.

Read Only

Strings are locked if:

  1. A user who is not assigned to the step opens the CAT Tool (e.g.: an Account Owner or Project Manager)
  2. The strings are not in the step the CAT Tool was opened on (e.g.: if some strings have been submitted to the next step or published).

Translation Resource users can choose to view strings in all workflow steps by clicking the settings icon.

Revise or Reject Transcreations

When a transcreation is in the Transcreation Review step, users can edit and/or reject a trancreation or back translation.

To edit a transcreation, simply update the trancreation panel.

To reject a transcreation, click Reject. If you want to offer detail as to the reasons why you are sending this back to the Transcreation step, open a translation Issue before rejecting the string, from the String Issues panel on the right.

Revise and reject must be enabled on the Transcreation Review step settings.

Saving Transcreations

The Transcreation Tool saves automatically. There is no “Save” action.

Keyboard shortcuts

You can use these keyboard shortcuts in the Transcreation Editor to speed up your workflow

Option level shortcuts:

  • Add New Option: Command + 
  • Delete Option: Command Delete (backspace)
  • Move between back translation and transcreation: Left and Right Arrows
    • Only works when the user is already in an option
  • Next option: Down Arrow
    • If the user is in the last option for a string, pressing Down Arrow will lead the user to the next string (source text)
  • Previous option: Up Arrow
    • If the user is in the first option for a string, pressing Up Arrow will lead the user to source 

String level shortcuts:

  • Next String: Command Down Arrow
  • Previous String: Command Up Arrow

Transcreation and Translation Memory

Click Search TM on the top left-hand corner of the context panel to access the Translation Memory of the Project.


This opens access to Translation Memory search, which is functions in the same way as TM in the CAT Tool.



Back translations are not saved to the translation memory.


Please note that there are a few limitations to the current tool. Please note that we are currently working on implementing the following:

  • Ability to incorporate Transcreation into estimates
  • Quality Checks 
  • Character limits
  • Glossary suggestions

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