Translation and transcreation may sound similar; however, they follow very different processes. It is important to evaluate the key considerations, including factors like budget, target markets and brand requirements to determine how you should transcreate and translate when localizing your global brand.

Three key differences between translation and transcreation:

1. Source content
The difference between translation and transcreation becomes apparent when looking at the source text. For basic translation, the source text will typically be content copy or digital assets. The source text for transcreation tends to be creative texts such as images, posters or commercials. Transcreation is all about translating ideas and concepts, so make sure you are crystal clear on the global brand values you want portrayed to your target local markets. When there is meaning and a need to go beyond the written word, then it is likely transcreation is most appropriate. Source texts for transcreation tend to be marketing and advertising collateral.

2. People
The people involved in the translation and transcreation processes require different skills. They may work in different departments, different companies, or entirely different countries. To put it simply, translators translate and copywriters transcreate. For a transcreation project to have a meaningful effect in the local market, you need to be aware of cultural differences and sensitivity as a concept. An in-country copywriter may have the creativity for a new idea; however, an in-country linguist will be able to provide locale guidance, market testing and a streamlined workflow in addition to creativity.

Involving a linguist who resides in the target country is vital if you want your marketing collateral to be current and up-to-date. Any current affairs or issues that could affect your project will be acknowledged and considered in the appropriate manner.

3. Timing
Transcreation projects generally take a longer amount of time to complete and have a more unpredictable schedule than a translation one. Transcreation projects tend to be billed by project rather than by the word for straight translation work. The timing for a translation project is usually more concrete. Before the work is completed, you should be able to receive a rough estimate of how long the project will take to complete. On the other hand, transcreation project managers may not be able to be so accurate with deadlines. There may be several meetings that have to take place between you and your language service provider (LSP) to ensure that you are both on the same page message-wise. It is highly important that your LSP know exactly the kind of idea that you want presented in order for this to be a mutually beneficial project.

If you want something that accurately represents your brand in all your target markets, then transcreation may be a consideration for your localization program. It is most valuable for high impact content.