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Transcreation: Everything You Need to Know

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Transcreation is the process of simultaneously translating and recreating a text from one language to another. This doesn’t just require a grasp of multiple languages, but also a sound understanding of culture and emotion to ensure documents can be accurately translated while remaining appropriate for the intended context.

Translators who carry out transcreation therefore need to understand the end goal of the texts they are working with to ensure that any changes they make during the process are aligned with the overall purpose.

When is transcreation helpful?

Transcreation is widely used within marketing teams because the whole process is about re-evaluating marketing material. The goal is to produce original content for a local market while appealing to an audience with a very different culture, meaning that much larger and wider audiences can be targeted.

Transcreation can be used in a range of different circumstances and can be of use when translating the following:

  • Brand taglines
  • Idioms
  • Clever puns
  • Local phrases or terms of dialect
  • Jocular language

What’s the difference between transcreation and translation?

Translation involves only rendering text from one language to another, for example replacing the words in one language with corresponding words in a new language. This is where the two practices differ, as transcreation focuses only on portraying the same message and concept in a new language – the words can be different.

However, transcreation also involves a certain degree of creativity and cultural knowledge, which the translator must use to create content that resonates with a new audience, but still portrays the original message.

One of the key ways that transcreation differs to translation is that transcreation specialists are writers. Instead of just being translators, people who specialise in transcreation are usually copywriters in other languages. This means that their priority is to ensure the text can be understood contextually, as well as literally.

Transcreation also differs to translation as it typically starts with a creative brief. While translation always starts with a source text, transcreation begins with a creative brief. Transcreation providers need to be given a clear idea of the whole creative concept and the desired effect on the audience, instead of just being given a text. Bearing this in mind can help you to make transcreation work for your business goals.

One of the main differences between the two is that transcreation results in new messaging whereas translation doesn’t. The aim of transcreation is to create targeted messaging that is brand new and suitable for a localised audience. In contrast, when it comes to translation, the end result is always the same messaging, just in another language. The message can often lose impact and meaning in the process of translation, but transcreation aims to avoid this.

At Language Connect, we can help you to identify whether translation or transcreation is the best option for your business. Once we’ve determined your unique needs, we’ll connect you with one of our experienced multilinguists, who’ll work closely with you to transcreate your brand’s materials, to help you to reach your goals. Contact our team today to find out more.



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