Transcreation and translation seem to be quite similar concepts for people who aren’t connected to the language services industry. Thankfully, we know that transcreation and translation are two different processes. What is transcreation then? This article focuses on explaining what transcreation is and how it differs from translation. Enjoy reading!

What’s the meaning of transcreation?

Transcreation is a combination of the words “translation” and “creation”. It is the process of adapting content from one language to another. What’s important, the cultural background of the target audience is always taken into account. Transcreation is about changing a text in order to make its meaning appropriate for its target market. Professionals focus on conveying the same message in a different language.

Transcreation – a true translation of many cultures

There are so many differences between cultures and societies – even colours can be perceived differently by various cultures. People who perform transcreation have to be aware of that. During the transcreation process, texts are created with the use of idioms and expressions specific to the target language.

You can read more about how culture affects language on our blog.

Transcreation – creative translation?

Sometimes people rightly describe transcreation as creative translation, taking into account that transcreation is not tantamount to word-for-word of translation. It takes a great deal of creativity to “transcreate” (or “adapt”) a text. Sometimes it is necessary to add idioms or adjust figures of speech. The final version of the transcreated text should always be faithful to the original text.

What does the transcreation process look like?

In the beginning, the crucial thing is to understand the content. You may find that some marketing materials don’t have to be transcreated while others need a creative approach. Transcreation is a perfect choice for advertising headlines and slogans. A professional transcreator helps to identify which advertising materials need transcreation.

Understanding the content (with the transcreator’s help)

It’s worth emphasising that the transcreation process is time-consuming. It takes more time than the translation process. That’s why the transcreation project needs to be planned well in advance. At this point, it is important to identify the target languages and discuss all the details with your transcreation service provider. Creating a transcreation brief is a must.

Analysing the brief and creating content

The next thing the transcreator needs to do is analyse the brief. By analysing, we mean identifying differences and similarities in consumer behaviour, language, and culture. Then, the transcreator starts creating the right content. The client has access to the content and can ask for some changes if necessary.

Testing the new content

Testing of the new content is really important. It’s worth conducting a consumer survey or asking people for feedback. All this is to make sure that the information delivered is appropriate for a given cultural context and that no concerns or issues are going to be raised.

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What’s the difference between transcreation and translation?

We already know what transcreation is, so it would be reasonable to provide the definition of translation, too. We can call translation the process of communicating the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The key is to convey the original text’s meaning. There are different types of translation: technical, marketing, financial, literary, medical certified and legal translation.

Transcreation is more complicated than translation

The main difference between transcreation and direct translation is that the first one is much more complicated and requires more creativity. A literal translation is more linear, and it doesn’t include attitudinal customer research. Transcreation needs to be approached more creatively. It often happens that transcreators work with copywriters on transcreation projects. It doesn’t happen very often in the case of translators.

A source text vs. a creative brief

The next difference is that transcreation projects start with creative briefs from the clients, whereas translation projects start with source texts. A creative brief contains information about the creative concept. It also provides information about the kind of expected response from the audience. Moreover, the end result is usually a completely new message that resonates with global audiences.

There are many more kinds of translation

As it has already been pointed out, transcreation is different from translation. And translation is different from interpretation. It’s worth knowing those differences, which is why we highly recommend reading our article translation vs. interpretation. You should also find out more about automatic translation and technical translation. As you can see, translation in general is a wide field!

Why is transcreation so needed?

Thanks to transcreation, it becomes possible for the target audience to understand what is written in a text. To be more precise, the text which is written in one language can be understood by people in different languages. This is especially beneficial for companies and business owners because they can reach audiences who come from different countries and speak different languages.

Transcreation raises brand awareness. It shows existing customers you are expanding. It helps you attract new audiences and new businesses. And finally, it demonstrates cultural sensitivity. Transcreation definitely brings many benefits!

Who needs transcreation the most?

Transcreation is really beneficial for international companies who want to appeal to the local user and local market. This is a good way to stand out from the crowd. In fact, this is what differentiates them from the competition.

It can generally be concluded that transcreation is in demand in the marketing world. Nobody wants their marketing campaigns to be translated word for word because the meaning of the message can be changed or lost. Marketing translation is not enough. It is therefore reasonable to use the marketing transcreation services to create understandable promotional content.

We cannot forget about book writers, who want to reach people all over the world. Introducing literary works to readers in different languages is possible thanks to transcreation. Professional transcreators provide transcreation services in any field!

You may also be interested in: Translation and localization – Is it the same service?

Who can perform transcreation?

Transcreation can be performed by a transcreation professional, i.e. a transcreator, also known as a creative translator. This person is more than just a linguist. Professional transcreators have copywriting and creative writing abilities. They should not only share the same language as the target audience. They need to live and breathe the target language.

Professional transcreators have full command of the cultural and grammatical rules of the source language and the target language (as native speakers). They are able to understand the customer needs, and they know their target audience. And, most importantly, they RECREATE the text, keeping in mind that they cannot be 100% free in the recreating process. The key is to not forget about the intended purpose of the source text and to understand the “spirit” of the original message.

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