The 6 big differences between Transcreation and Translation

September 1, 2015

photo-1431250839444-84a7dd4abb27 Translation is the first step toward approaching an audience in their native language.

However, translating marketing messages word-for-word may not be sufficient enough to convey the information.

It may be necessary to adapt messages so that they are culturally relevant.

To accurately translate marketing messages for globalization, marketers need to consider another important step: transcreation.

Translation becomes transcreation by ensuring that the nuances that are critical to a marketing message, such as humor and slang words, are adapted to resonate with the target audience.

Transcreation combines translating text and images because what one culture considers relevant imagery may be entirely unsuitable to another.

Cultural and Global Differences

Standard translation does not completely protect the emotional and creative intent of the source content.

Enter the process of transcreation, which focuses on taking a concept, such as marketing a product, idea or service, in one language and totally recreating it in another one.

The method recreates the exact brand content for multilingual usability that will make sense to the intended audience. The top six differences between the translation and transcreation process include:


  1. Look and feel. Transcreation service providers will often advise customers on how a creative campaign or asset looks and feels to ensure resonance and acceptance in the local market.
  2. Copywriters. The people who provide transcreation services are not regularly members of the same networking groups and professional associations. In fact, copywriters instead of translators typically provide transcreation services in other languages.
  3. Timing. Transcreation is a much more intensive and exacting process to complete than a straight translation project. Also, transcreation projects are normally billed by the hour or project.
  4. Creative concept. Translation starts with a source text. Transcreation begins with a creative brief, following the same process as other inventive projects in a source language. Rather than providing text to the transcreation provider, they receive ideas of the creative concept and the desired action that the copy intends to trigger.
  5. Source content. Text that was written for one target audience may not resonate with a completely different group. With transcreation, the result is brand new ideas and concepts that are then targeted and localized. With translation, the result is new words in another language, but the message can lose impact in the process of straight translation.
  6. Market-focused copy. Translation is a fine choice for educational text, but when the content is intended to generate a response from the reader, such as with market-focused text, transcreation is clearly a better approach.


Transcreation: Creating Emotional Globalization

Emotional resonance is fundamental to producing a positive interaction. Transcreation is an excellent tool that promotes a cross-cultural connection.

Creatively styling the original content with local flair and flavor cultivates the intended emotional response in a way that creates a strong emotional impact on locals.

The goal of transcreation is not to say the same thing in another language. Instead, it is to produce the same reaction in a different language, something that translation alone cannot achieve.

Cultural context is more important than the actual words. If you are trying to shorten the connection distance between various cultures to gain globalization, then transcreation may be the ideal opportunity for your business.

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