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How is transcreation different from translation?

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Transcreation is a term used by advertising and marketing professionals to refer to the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. A successfully transcreated message evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language. Increasingly, transcreation is used in global marketing and advertising campaigns as advertisers seek to transcend the boundaries of culture and language.

Terms with meanings similar to transcreation include “creative translation”, “cross-market copywriting”, “international copy adaptation”, “marketing translation” and “cultural adaptation”. For each of these words and phrases, the thrust is similar: taking the essence of a message and re-creating it in another language or dialect. [1]

But isn’t this what translation is all about? The answer is NO.

Translation and transcreation might be similar processes but they are not identical.

The purpose of translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text.[2] A good translation takes into account the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, idiom and local usage of the target audience while remaining faithful to the text, and context, of the original document.

Transcreation expands upon translation by focusing not so much on the literal text, but on taking a concept in one language, and completely recreating it in another, trying to evoke the same feelings and responses to viewers as the original text. Transcreation services also include consultation and feedback on the appearance and the graphic design of a creative message, document, website, campaign ensuring that it is suitable for the target local market.

Transcreation is usually performed by native professional copywriters instead of translators. Copywriters are responsible for telling the story, crafting it in such a way that it resonates with the reader, ideally producing an emotional response. Of course, there are also translators with great experience in marketing translations and have an inclination towards creative writing and they can also be used in transcreation projects.

Like all marketing projects, transcreation starts with a creative brief. The client will have to work very closely with the transcreator and provide very clear ideas regarding the target audience, the purpose of the text and the outcome they want to achieve. Unlike translation, where the linguist is just provided with an original text, in transcreation, the transcreator/copywriter receives a complete creative brief with marketing directions.

Since every project is unique, there is no safe way to say which project categories require transcreation. When such need arises, you should work closely with your translation management team to decide whether your project is a candidate for transcreation or a simple translation would be sufficient to deliver your message in the target language.

[1] Source:Wikipedia

[2] Source:Wikipedia

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