Content Translation vs. Content Transcreation

by Apr 30, 2021Content Transcreation, Content Translation0 comments

By overcoming barriers and obstacles and bringing the world closer together, translation remains a key enabler of worldwide globalization. It has transcended its initial purpose of simple communication, and has today developed into several other fields, namely transcreation. As an in-demand service on the market, transcreation combines creative writing with traditional translation, opening up a whole new set of doors and opportunities.

In marketing, translation and transcreation are two of the most powerful tools, used in everything from rebranding to expansion strategies.

But what exactly is the difference between the two?

What is it?

Translation involves adapting content from one language to another, with the primary focus being on the intent, style, tone and context. The key word in this instance is “adapt”, which suggests modification, alteration and adjustment. The original content is as such used as a source, and not only a reference.

Transcreation, on the other hand, otherwise known as cross-market copywriting, is a process that requires a highly-specialized linguist to recreate a reference text into a new market-appropriate version in a different language. The keyword in this case is “recreate”, which suggests reinvention and reproduction. The transcreated piece should first and foremost bear the same message as the original text, as well as maintain the same style, tone and context.

Who can do it?

A professional translator undertakes translation tasks, in which the original text is transformed into a literal reflection of itself in the targeted language.

Transcreation specialists are selected from a pool of creative writers with strong marketing backgrounds and a mandate to create a deliverable that evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source document.

Where does it apply?

Translation thrives on accuracy. It is a literal reflection of the source document, which often comes in handy in legal documents and life science translation, as well as technical content such as user manuals.

Transcreation, on the other hand, is ideal for creative marketing tools such as taglines and headlines among other things, often based on culturally-dependent elements such as idioms, puns, word play, insinuation, subtext, humour, cultural references, or even rhymes.

As an emerging content device, transcreation combines traditional interpretation with creative writing. However, that doesn’t mean that typical translation has lost its value.

How is it done?

Both translation and transcreation share a similar first step: Reviewing the content. This step can actually be considered as a pre-determinant, because it is after reviewing the content that we can decide whether translation or transcreation is the path to take.

They also have a mutual second step, which is determining the price and timeframe depending on the size and bulk of the content.

The third step is where things start to differ: translation calls for a glossary creation to extract the proper terminology, as it’s important to establish and translate proper terms prior to the content development to achieve accuracy and consistency. In contrast, transcreation calls for the development of a creative brief or checklist which can provide us with the specific direction, vision and tone of voice.

In the fourth step, our team of highly-trained human translators, specifically assigned to your project because of their adequate background, will work to provide you with an accurate and direct transcription of any text in a timely manner. Our transcreators, however, will take a different path and start by analyzing and identifying the cultural, linguistic and market differences, in order to create an end result that elicits the same reaction as the original content. The process can include re-naming the product to suit the target audience, as well as adapting more appropriate visual aid to meet the required standard.

Step five requires translated texts to be proofread and reviewed by professional editors in order to ensure accuracy and minimize errors. Transcreated content will instead be thoughtfully reviewed to ensure the fulfilment of all the brand requirements.

As for the last step, it is once again shared by the two services, and it entails the project delivery. All references and documents are saved in an archive for possible future collaborations.

What’s the cost?

Translation is quoted per word.

Transcreation, however, is quoted either by word or by hour, depending on the nature and scale of the project.

What are the expected results?

The translated content is faithful to the source, mirroring it almost identically and maintaining its intent.

In the case of the transcreated content, it is very much possible that not much remains from the original text other than the essence and the message.

How can I tell which service I require?

The answer may not be as black and white as it seems. Think of your target audience and goal, and ask yourself if word-for-word translation is enough to resonate. Is preserving the message critical in your case? If yes, then it’s likely that transcreation is the service you’re looking for.

Written by Reina El Turk


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