The Transcreation Tool

What is Transcreation?

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 often results in memorable, high-touch taglines, slogans, titles etc. 

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.

How to get started with Transcreation

To ensure your transcreation tasks are translated in the Smartling Transcreation Tool, you will first need to create a Transcreation Workflow. The Transcreation Workflow will consist of a Transcreation step instead of a Translation step, and a Translation Review step instead of the standard Review or Edit steps.

Currently, your Transcreation Workflow can contain one Transcreation step and up to two Transcreation Review steps. By default, when you create a Translation Workflow, you will have a Transcreation step followed by a Transcreation Review step. It is possible to delete the Transcreation Review step and just have a one-step Transcreation Workflow. You can also make your Transcreation Workflow a Dynamic Workflow by adding a Decision step before the Transcreation Step.


Creating a Transcreation Workflow

  • Go to the Project you want to add a Transcreation Workflow to
  • Click the Gear icon > Project Settings 
  • In the Project Settings, click Workflows
  • Click Create Workflow
  • Choose to create and account-level or project-level Transcreation Workflows
  • Under Workflow Template, select Transcreation
  • The Transcreation template will automatically populate a workflow with a Transcreation and Transcreation Review step.



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

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.Screenshot_2020-10-07_at_19.16.29.png

Anatomy of the Transcreation Tool


  1. Context Panel: you can view the context for the source file or the translated file.
  2. View 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.
  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.

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: DownArrow
    • If the user is in the last option for a string, pressing DownArrow will lead the user to the next string (source text)
  • Previous option: UpArrow
    • If the user is in the first option for a string, pressing UpArrow will lead the user to source 

String level shortcuts:

  • Next String: Command DownArrow
  • Previous String: Command UpArrow


Transcreation and Translation Memory

Currently, transcreations are saved to the Translation Memory of the Project. We are currently developing a way to configure a separate Transcreation Translation Memory inside a Linguistic Package. However, in the meantime, you will need to create a separate Project/Linguistic Package to separate your Transcreation 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 raise issues in the Transcreation Editor
  • Ability to incorporate Transcreation into estimates
  • Transcreation Translation Memory Type

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