Transcreation vs Translation Services: Which One Does Your Business Need?

Transcreation vs Translation Services

Although you may hear transcreation and translation used interchangeably, they’re two vastly different services with unique purposes.

One is a creative marketing technique that can help catapult your brand onto the international stage. The other is a general term used to describe the process when global translation services convert text from one language to another.

Before you can choose the right one for your business’s needs, you must understand the differences between your two options. Keep reading to learn how transcreation and translation services relate and how they differ.

What is Transcreation?

Transcreation is a creative process that adapts your marketing copy for a foreign audience. This technique produces an entirely new tagline that conveys the message behind the original instead of literally translating your marketing copy word-for-word.

As a result, transcreation is as imaginative as your original brainstorming for ads and other external branding.

This means that the transcreator wears two hats when assigned to your project:

  1. They’re a translator that understands your target language(s).
  2. They’re a copywriter that takes artistic licence to create a version that goes beyond basic translation services.

This added touch elevates your campaign to suit your target language’s unique linguistic quirks and cultural perspectives. An experienced transcreator can make sure your core message reflects these new objectives while maintaining your campaign’s original tone and style.

Transcreation localises your messaging for a new audience. As a result, your copy will include new phrases or omit phrases found in the original, but these changes are made to capture the same creative concept as the original.

Examples of Transcreation

Every large company that runs ads across the globe uses transcreation to ensure their campaign lands in every country.

Nike provides a perfect example of transcreation after a literal translation of its fierce “Just do it” slogan meant nothing to Chinese audiences. Nike’s marketing department developed the new slogan “Use sports” to create a greater impact.

In Spanish, a literal translation of McDonalds’s playful “I’m lovin’ it” slogan held romantic connotations too passionate for burgers. McDonalds now runs with “Me encanta” in Spain, which means “I really like it” instead.

How Are Translation Services Different?

Conventional translation takes a more literal approach to a project. A translation expert’s priority is to create an accurate version of the original in the target language. This involves following the original’s script closer to the letter than a transcreator.

That doesn’t mean general translators never make changes to their work. Most linguists will have to adjust their document to accommodate another language’s grammar, industry’s lexicon, or audience’s culture. However, these changes are technical necessities and not artistic choices based on a creative brief.

In Summary

Which one you wind up choosing ultimately depends on your objective and your audience. For creative marketing projects that will go out to the general public, you may want to work with a transcreator that can reimagine your brand for a new audience.

Conversely, you may choose to hire a translation service for help with technical documents for industry-specific projects. You don’t need creative interpretation when your goals are to provide a succinct, accurate copy of pharmaceutical studies or financial reports.

If you still aren’t sure which service reflects the best fit for your needs, speak to a professional translation service to find a customised solution for your next project.


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