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4 Reasons Why Translation and Transcreation Are Different

4 Reasons Why Translation and Transcreation Are Different

You might have previously come across the term “Transcreation,” but do you know what the term means? And how can you tell it apart from Translation?


Most of us have probably needed a quick translation at some point. Despite the numerous types of translations out there, such as literary, legal and medical, the term generally refers to the process of conveying words from a source language into a target language. The main goal of translation is to ensure that the meaning of the source text is accurately transferred into the target text. 


Transcreation goes a step beyond translation. Formed by the words “translation” and “creation,” transcreation is a creative process that involves adapting content from one language into another to better suit the target audience. Transcreation is often used for marketing purposes, where transcreators are given more freedom to exercise their creativity compared to translation.

The Difference

  1. Translation is limited to text. Its main purpose is to ensure that the content is accurately conveyed, avoiding linguistic and cultural inconsistencies. Transcreation, on the other hand, takes into account other elements such as typography, visual layout, formatting, color and design, etc. — and adapting all that to the target culture and consumer market.
  2. Transcreators are specialist writers. Apart from being creative, transcreators are likely to have some prior knowledge of marketing. At SlatorCon Remote March 2022, Laura Fernández, CEO of Corporate Solutions at Supertext, said that a perfect transcreator “is definitely a copywriter who will focus on their mother tongue and has a good command of one or two foreign languages.”

Translators are trained professionals with a professional degree and certification to provide translation services. They have high levels of fluency of the source and target language, specializing in a particular area; for example, medical translation.

  1. Transcreation starts off with a creative brief. It contains the most important information regarding target audience, key concepts, client requirements and intentions for the project. Nina Sattler-Hovdar, Founder of Transcreation Experts, called the brief “the cornerstone of transcreation.”

Not all translations begin with a brief, as they are not a requirement for all translation projects. What might be helpful though would be a style guide and glossary. Translation can typically begin the moment your client sends over the source text. 

  1. Time and cost may differ. The amount of background research a transcreator has to carry out regarding the company’s brand, target market, and story may take up a lot of time before they put pen to paper. The greater effort will not only affect time but also cost.

Translators are typically paid by the word; transcreators, by the hour or even by the project.