What is the difference between translation and transcreation

In the translation industry, there is a consensus that translators should only work in their mother tongue, no matter how fluent they might be in any other language, thus ensuring the linguistic nuances in their native language are kept.

Many linguists have different qualifications, whether it is engineering, legal fields, economic or marketing and so on. This allows them to be good translators, since it helps them fully understand the texts even in highly specialized domains.

Some translators can be more creative in their way of thinking and writing, which allows them to approach more projects in domains like marketing, media and advertising.

For some certain texts, something more than translation is necessary – transcreation. This is all about taking one concept presented in a language and completely adapting it and recreating it in accordance with the nuances and cultural ideas that need to be found in the target language.

This is normally done in marketing, for ideas, products or services destined for international audiences, for which the language and concepts must resonate.

If a company has a service or product they want to launch and they have the promotional text destined for the domestic audience in more countries, they need to translate it in such a way that people believe in it, regardless of the cultural background they have.

A good marketing copy should intrigue the public and convince it to buy – and here is where transcreation is key. This is important when someone has to convert an already existing promotional message in their mother tongue and where a different mindset is necessary for not doing a literal translation that would feel rigid and unnatural.

While a translation must be accurate and faithful to the source text, transcreation needs creativity and originality. Unlike translation, where one single translator is used along with a reviewer, transcreation allows teams to work on a message, along with the client themselves in order to insure that the original message is kept accordingly.

Fluency in a foreign language, an extraordinary grammatical correctness and in-depth understanding of a person’s native language are crucial for translation activities, but definitely not sufficient for transcreation. This concept also needs quite a fantastic dexterity and ability to grasp complex concepts.

Most clients will want to keep the original feel of their source text, and to obtain the same reaction from the public no matter the country the message is played into.


Sometimes, the difference may not be clear enough to understand which would be more appropriate for your needs, but when it comes to localization of marketing, advertising and media content, we are some of the best on the market and we will be able to help you understand which will fit your needs better.


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