Transcreation vs Translation: 4 Key Differences

May 19, 2023

What is transcreation

Transcreation is a word coined from translation and creation. It is a specialised form of translation that goes beyond word-to-word translation which simply converts the text from one language to another. It takes into account the cultural backgrounds of the target language while striving to maintain the original message and feeling of the source text, with the goal of creating a piece of content that is culturally relevant and appeals to the target audience. Transcreation is often used in marketing, advertising and branding. While it can be a challenging process, when done well, it can help companies reach new markets and connect with target customers on a deeper level.

When you need to transcreate

Transcreation is all about creativity. Therefore, it is not an appropriate translation approach for financial statements, contracts, and legal documents that require a high level of translation accuracy and precision. But for anything that needs to make a culturally-relevant emotional connection with the target audience, transcreation will be a useful alternative. Examples include slogans, taglines, headlines and marketing copies, etc.

How transcreation differs from translation

Transcreators are not required to adhere to the source material. They simply use the source material as a reference and recreate it in the target language with the intention of evoking in the target audience the same emotions and feelings that the source text elicits in its readers while preserving the original essence. The main applications of transcreation are in marketing and advertising. On the other hand, translators need to make sure that the translation accurately captures the source text and won’t stray too far from the original message.

Besides, transcreators are competent writers who have experience in creating powerful, creative messages. Rather than merely translating a source text from one language to another, transcreation specialists typically need to develop a brand-new text that is customized to the target market by taking into account the cultural nuances of the target language. Yet, creativity is typically not needed in translation. The only thing that translators need to do is ensure that the translated version conveys the original meaning of the source.

The transcreation specialist needs to have a thorough understanding of the culture of both the source and target languages. Different cultures have different quirks, idioms and wordplay that can make a big difference to how a message is received. Understanding the cultural nuances of the language and region of the intended audiences can ensure the meaning and the intended impact of the messages are successfully delivered.

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