The Differences Between Translation and Transcreation

Transcreation refers to the creative translation of marketing materials. But translation has a wider meaning. Translation comprises creating an idiomatic or accurate rendering of the original text. But in contrast, transcreation consists of translating with more artistic or creative license.

The translator should stay true to the original. The transcreator can include copywriting where they seem fit. The translator is limited by the constraints of the original text. But the transcreator can break away from such constraints. 

This does not imply that translation lacks creativity. Professional translation targets the production of a text that expresses all things in the original. This includes tone, style, and meaning. But it is not the job of a translator to introduce new meanings or to remove old meanings. This is the line separating translation from transcreation.

The translation is a general term, while transcreation is used specifically for the creative translation of branding and advertising materials. Following are some of the other clear differences between translation and transcreation:

Marketing and Creative Copy

The translation is ideal for informative and instructional text. After all, one need not be Shakespeare to teach someone to repair their faucet. In the case of such text, there is not much room for emotions or creativity. But this is not the case with fictional, marketing, or advertising content. Transcreation is suitable for marketing and creative copywriting content. For instance, a word-to-word translation of an advertising slogan in English may leave French readers shaking their heads. So, transcreation is the best choice when an emotional response is warranted.

Transcreators are Writers

Persons who specialize in transcreation are often content or copywriters. This provides them a mastery of the written word, which is tough to find in your usual translator. This implies that the latter can usually deliver the intended message of the copy of the client in a mode that is more impactful compared to a straightforward translation. Since their focus is creative writing, they are rarely part of the networks of translators. So, you can seek transcreators from writing associations in the target market.

Creative Brief

In the case of translation, work begins the moment clients send their source text. Initial meetings focus on determining terms like project costs and deadlines. In contrast, transcreation begins with a creative brief. In place of simply offering the source text and leaving the transcreator to do their own thing, the client must furnish documents that clarify the intent, tone, and desired results of the targeted copy.

 More Expensive

It takes more time end effort to create copy that sells. Transcreators are likely to devote hours doing research on the target market, brand, and industry of the company prior to proceeding with the project. Such initial research will be followed by 2 or 3 rounds of drafts. There is also much interaction between clients and transcreators. All this implies that it takes money and energy. So, the transcreating professionals must be compensated accordingly. Thus, it is more expensive to employ transcreators compared to translators.

Handling Look and Feel of Copy

Besides updating captions and labels, translators rarely deal with the more visual elements of their source text. This does not hold true for transcreation. The latter are often responsible for aiding their clients to adapt their illustrations and branding as per the target market. For example, a colour of mourning for culture will not suit the logo for a dating site in another.

New Messaging

Typically messaging which was written for a single target audience or segment will not resonate well with a totally different group. In the case of transcreation, the result is the brand-new message which is localized and targeted.

In sum, these are the major differences between translation and transcreation.

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