Translation vs. Localization vs. Transcreation

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Our world, separated by oceans and borders, has never been closer. Communication has made it possible for people in one corner of the globe establish contact with people on another corner of the globe. Today, information is shared at the push of a button on our digital screensGlobalization has enabled quicker movements and exchanges of people, goods, services, capital, and technology, causing two countries or more to be interdependent and interconnected to facilitate and receive them. These developments have given rise to the importance of translation, localization and transcreation.  

How is translation different from localization and transcreation?

These may sound like terms that have similar contexts, but each shoulders a role that is incredibly unique to them. Translation is an old concept that goes back centuries. Human translators used to translate written prose and poetry from one language to another. Translators would also find a place in the royal court and were often employed as diplomats to communicate with different kingdomsIn present times, translation is a service that is used in every field imaginable – political, business, law, media, and several others.

With the advent of digitalization, it is possible to communicate remotely and hence the service has become accessible at an even quicker turnaround time. As Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass rightly said, “Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.”  


However, while translation primarily takes care of written communicationlocalization is the process of adapting products and services to a different locale. The whole idea behind the need for localization is to make a product a service feel more at home in a different environment. It would mean adapting the design and translated text to suit the cultural and regional sensibilities of the audience consuming the content in that region. Changes adapted would include vital details like time and date formats, colors, words, slangs, images, music, etc.

Unlike internationalization, where the product or service is created or modified to speak to a wider audience, localization means catering it to a particular region alone. A notable example of this can be found in global food chains, where the menu is altered from region to region depending on the popular and, more importantly, unpopular food opinions. For e.g., the Middle-East chain will not serve pork, as it is forbidden, while the Indian chain will have more vegetarian options as a vast population of the country is vegetarian.  


Transcreation, on the other hand, is a close cousin of translation. In fact, it is also often referred to as creative translation. While transcreation follows the similar pattern of adapting content from one language to another, it adds an additional and crucial layer of reworking the content to better suit the locale it will cater to. The revised content needs to evoke the same emotions in the target language as it did in the source language. This requires the content to adapt certain key phrases, idioms, slangs, slogans and more to be relatable to the consumer.

The original idea is taken forward in a new avatar. Hence, it is necessary for transcreation professionals to be multilingual creative writers with in-depth cross-cultural knowledge. Transcreation is highly recommended for marketing content such as website, advertisement, media, and similar. 

Localization and transcreation run hand-in-hand for a product or service to make a global impactMasterword offers localization and transcreation services along with translation services in over 250 languages. The team help you achieve the required quality in a cost-effective timeframe to ensure your business succeeds. Find out more about Masterword’s wide range of translation services right here 


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