Marketing Translation vs Transcreation: What You Need to Know

Updated On August 9, 2021 | by Kamal

Marketing Translation vs Transcreation

When it comes to marketing a product description, you’re faced with two choices: translation or transcreation. The translation is when the original message is converted word for word to another language. Transcreation is a way to enable audiences around the world to understand your message even if they don’t speak your language. Transcreation considers aspects such as cultural sensitivities and linguistic nuances to convert your content into another language that speaks directly to the audience’s heart. In fact, subtitle translation is also a form of transcreation, but it usually does not have the same degree of nuance and cultural sensitivity as the original creative translation.

However, to understand the profundity of marketing translation vs. transcreation here’s the breakdown –

What is Translation?

This is when the original meaning is retained, but it’s been translated word for word. This is the method most commonly used by companies to communicate with consumers all over the world.

What is Transcreation?

Transcreation involves translating your message into another language and taking into account cultural and linguistic nuances to enhance the global reach of that particular product or service. This makes consumers worldwide feel like they’re part of your brand since they can truly understand what your brand is about.

Transcreation in Marketing Translation vs. Transcreation


This is where the focus needs to be concerned about how people worldwide can perceive your brand and product or service. It’s also important to make sure that your message doesn’t emphasize its original meaning, as this could cause negative repercussions for the company.

It’s important when translating a product description to make it understandable not only for the local market but also for people around the world who can connect with the desired message due to cultural and linguistic nuances. Transcreation does not involve changing one language into another but rather supplementing it with other methods:

  • using existing images; 
  • Working with related text (phrases); 
  • Creating new labels; 4. using elements of previous linguistic products; 
  • Using elements of visual expression (images, graphics, photos); 
  • Recording the spoken language;
  • Using or modifying a sample dialogue or monologue; 
  • Using free verse poetry and prose; 

Marketing Translation

This is where the focus needs to be concerned about the message being understood and retained in its original state. The purpose of marketing translation is to reach your audience so that they understand it and like it. It’s also important to make sure that your message does not take any emphasis away from its original meaning. However, marketing translation focuses more on creating a new product or service that will appeal to foreign markets. 

Therefore, the difference between marketing translation and transcreation is that marketing translation focuses on the product itself. In contrast, transcreation is more focused on how people are going to perceive the product. Sure, both marketing translation and transcreation are essential in a globalized society, but each has its unique characteristics.

When Should I Use Transcreation?

Marketing translation is used when the marketing manager wants to reach a global audience. Some certain words and expressions can mean different things in different cultures and countries. If you’re going to convey a word or expression in a particular way, it is better to perform a marketing translation than a direct translation. 

When Should I Use Transcreation?

Transcreation is used when the marketing manager wants to communicate effectively with the target audience due to linguistic and cultural nuances. For example, if you cannot convey your message through the language of your target audiences, you need to transcreate it so that it will be understood without any risk that they lose some of its value and meaning.

Which One is Right for Your Business?

The principles that concern marketing translation are more flexible than those that concern transcreation. Marketing translation has no limits in terms of specificity, while transcreation has its specificities. Transcreation is performed more by the implementation of linguistic and cultural peculiarities. Marketing translation is mainly done based on linguistic and cultural specifics.

However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of businesses that have chosen to use both marketing transcreation and translation services or have even made their products bilingual to attract a wider audience.

There is no doubt that both marketing translation and transcreation are essential in a globalized society, but each has its unique characteristics. However, both marketing translation and transcreation are designed to make a product/service understandable both by local consumers and consumers from other countries where the product is sold.

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