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Transcreation vs. Translation – What is the Difference?


TranscreationSimilar to translation, transcreation by definition is a process of adopting a message from one language into another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. A successfully transcreated message works with the same emotions and carries out the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language.

How Translation and Transcreation Differ

Translations rely on the literal transfer of meaning while transcreations are about translating the intent of the word, slogan or phrase into a different language. Transcreation is about capturing the essence of an idea and making the target audience believe it was created just for them in their native language. Translations convey word for word messages that are generic and comprehensible to all audiences.

The process of a successful transcreation involves analyzing the source carefully to comprehend the true meaning behind the text, and most importantly, it is about understanding the target market. Indeed, transcreation is about being able to speak to the audience in a way they want to be spoken to.

Translators are professionals who typically (not always) work individually and transcreators are known to brainstorm in groups and rely on feedback from their peers until they have created something they know will be embraced by the intended audience.

Transcreation takes the goals and sentiments of the original text and attempts to make it more relatable by the target audience by including culture-specific references and vocabulary that might help clarify the intended message. The concept of transcreation is designed to achieve more culturally relevant and culturally aware copy when translating into another language while maintaining brand consistency and honoring the cultural norms of the target audience.

Transcreation is a blend of translation and creative writing guided and as a result, takes traditional language translation a step further by considering the message holistically, focusing on the context and emotional impact of the text.

Transcreation is mainly used for marketing and advertising copy where emotions and cultural awareness are front and center. This basically involves any text that is needed to promote products or brands – anything from websites or printed documents to TV and radio advertisements or banners. However, using the transcreation approach for translation employee manuals, for example, is a great way to stay in sync with employees and their needs.

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