Transcreation vs translation: Which service is right for me?

Transcreation vs translation

Transcreation vs translation – two different services with one very big thing in common: the transferral of text from one language into another.

Translators can provide you with either of these services (no need to search for a ’transcreator’ separately). They don’t differ in terms of the quality you’ll get, but they will give you a slightly different end product depending on the type of text.

So, what’s the difference?

  • Translation

    What does it involve?
    Transferring the words and meaning of a text from one language into another

    What is it most suitable for?
    Anything that requires a simple and accurate transferral of meaning into a different language, e.g. technical documents, informative texts

  • Transcreation

    What does it involve?
    Taking an overall concept or message from the source text and adapting/recreating it in a different language, taking into account literary devices and cultural references

    What is it most suitable for?
    Anything that requires a creative touch or to appeal to the reader’s emotions, e.g. marketing and advertising material, literary works

An example of transcreation in advertising is Haribo’s German slogan: “Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso.

Translation: “Haribo makes kids happy, and grown-ups too.

Haribo’s transcreated English slogan: “Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo.

The wording has changed, but the concept and message are exactly the same. And they’ve managed to incorporate the rhyme and catchy rhythm of the German version. This is the perfect example of transcreation done well.

Choosing between transcreation and translation can be the difference between success and failure in a foreign or international market. Any good translator or translation services provider will take a look at your text, its purpose and its target audience before considering whether translation or transcreation is right for you.

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