Translation vs Transcreation

Although translation and transcreation sound very familiar but there are some major differences in the processes both follow. The utilisation of both these skills by translators is subjected to the requirements under consideration such as target markets, budget and other brand requirements. Following are some of the key differences between translation and transcreation:

Source Text

The biggest difference between the two techniques is the source text. The source text for translation tends to be more specific and is comprised of content copy or digital assets. However for transcreation source texts tend to be more creative and marketing collateral. In transcreation you basically translate your ideas and concepts while taking inspiration from the source text. The content caters to the needs of your brand and specifically targets your potential customer.

Skill Requirements

A common misconception is that both of these techniques are interlinked to each other and can be executed by any common translator. This is an overstatement as both these techniques require a different skill-set. Simply put translators translate whereas copywriters transcreate.  For example if you have a transcreation project, a local linguist should be preferred that is familiar with the cultural norms and traditions of that country. This local linguist will streamline your project to the aspirations of the local population so that maximum benefits can be reaped off from the project.

Timing Requirements 

Translation projects take less time as they are more specific in their nature. Transcreation projects tend to have an unpredictable schedule and require more time till their completion. In translation projects you can decide on a deadline and a specific rate per word before assigning your project to the translator.

However, in transcreation projects the process is much more complicated and time consuming. You are bound to have many meetings with your Language Service Provider (LSP) to ensure that both of you are on the same page. You need to give an insight of your marketing plan to the LSP to ensure quality content for your brand. Also, the project rates differ in terms of their complexity and requirements in transcreation projects. Sometimes these projects are also billed according to hourly rates.

Which is right for your project?

Generating the same content for all markets may not bring fruitful results as mostly customers simply skim through online content. A good strategy to counter this problem and to grasp your potential customer’s attention is by using localised content directed towards them explicitly. Transcreation helps you achieve this by targeting your local audience specifically. In translation, the text delivers the same message but in different words without it being too literal. Transcreation providers also emphasise on the Look and Feel of a campaign to ensure attraction and acceptance in the local market.

Lastly, both these techniques are effectual when utilised with proper knowledge. Therefore it is imperative that you understand the requirements of your branding campaign and make decisions accordingly.