The Subtle Differences Between Translation and Transcreation

The Subtle Differences Between Translation and Transcreation
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


If you haven't already noticed, transcreation is a relatively hot topic nowadays. Widely spoken about in the global market research sector, transcreation is the process of modifying brand content from one language into another. A popular service for advertising and marketing professionals, it requires us to observe the message as a whole unlike translation services, which are processed bit-by-bit.

Aside from the above difference, there are a few profound differences to be aware of in regards to transcreation and translation services. Let's take a look at them:

Since it was coined in London in the 1960s to describe a particular advertising slogan in numerous territories, transcreation has been used by in-country copywriters around the globe. Those who boast experience with copywriting, marketing, and linguistic skills utilize it for the translation of marketing material. The Spiderman comic in India is a well-known example.

Transcreation faces a few challenges, such as:

• Inappropriate Word Choices - Words that have negative connotations or alternative meanings in different languages should be avoided.

• Cultural Issues - Brands can be damaged – permanently in some cases – if cultural issues occurwith transcreation, therefore all transcreation jobs should be done manually.

• Reliance on Words - It can be difficult to transfer slogans that rely on idiomatic speech and word play into a different language.

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Unlike transcreation, translation services are an honest and accurate adaptation of text that says exactly the same thing, but in a different language. Fluency in the target language, attention to detail, and good knowledge on the subject matter are essential skills that professional translators must maintain. Although Google Translate offers convenient automated translations, it is nowhere near as accurate as professional translation services.

The challenges translation faces are slightly different to the challenges of transcreation, and include:

• Online User Activity/Multilingual Engagement - Community content, blogs and customer reviews are a few examples of online content that require real time translation. Online user-generated content (UGC) has a big impact on customer satisfaction; therefore machine translation is an option.

• International Employee Collaboration - Encouraging better relationships in the workplace is easy when an understandable translation is provided to transcend language barriers.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.