Transcreation and translation? Localization? But aren’t they all the same? It may seem like a linguistic whim of translators but in translation agencies, we take the linguistic needs of our clients very seriously. Just as management software does not have the same technical characteristics as a social APP, in the language services sector we have different “tools” for each occasion.

Do you want to know what are the main differences between localization, transcreation and translation? Read on and find out which one best suits your project.

Colores representando los distintos idiomas

What Is Translation?

On the street, we know that translation is any process by which a text, spoken or written, changes language without changing the message. In essence, this description is right. However, you will be interested to know that there are small nuances. In a translation agency, when we talk about a translation project, we are referring to the cases in which a written text (never spoken, for that we have professional interpreting services) undergoes a process of language change, in which fidelity to the text and the original language prevails. It is ideal for informative texts in which we do not need a great “connection” with the reader.

What Is Localization?

Behind the next door of the “language exchange” services, we find localization. Keep in mind that we are talking about another door to the world of translation, it is neither a higher step nor a higher quality service. Its main feature is that in addition to the language, the translator pays attention to the message when faced with a localization project. It is intended to make “local” the “foreign” text. To this end, the linguistic expert will be forced to move away from literal words to convey the message correctly.

What Is Transcreation?

Transcreation is a fairly new term that has its origin in the combination of translation and creation. You can already imagine that in these projects professional translators are free to create a new text that conveys the idea of the original. Attention! Please note that we have said idea and not message. In these delicate projects, it is important to communicate with the client so as not to leave to the interpretation of the expert what the idea of the text really is. You can find more information about this in our article on the need for a quality translation service.

What are the differences between localization, transcreation, and translation?

Now that we have described, broadly speaking, that there is more than one way to skin a cat… How are they different? What services does your company need to achieve success with your international strategy? What -ation suits your needs?

Los tres monos sabios representando las diferencias entre localización, transcreación y traducción

The first thing you would have to ask yourself is whether the text you need to translate demands literality or seeks more emotional impact; or a mixture of both. Of the three processes we have described, translation is the most literal and focuses on the precise matching of the original text and translated text. Localization starts with a translation process in which, in addition, linguistic and cultural factors are taken into account equally. Finally, transcreation goes beyond the word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase to create a new text in which the idea, intention, sensations and emotions of the original text are transmitted.

In the following table you will see more clearly what are the 4 differences between localization, transcreation and translation:

Style and intent are keptSlightlySomewhatMuch
Level of connection to the readerNormalIntermediateSuperior
Recommended text typesEmails, manuals, help documents, scientific and technical content, reports.Web content, courses and training, product information, success stories, video games, software.Blogs, slogans, campaigns, brochures, headlines, video scripts.

So, for example, your company will need a professional translation service if you want to translate user manuals; localization to open the doors of your website to international markets; and transcreation to develop an effective multilingual digital marketing strategy. multilingüe efectiva.