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What are the differences between transcreation and localization?

Transcreation is a form of translation, i.e., a translation technique, but it’s important to understand transcreation as something very distinct from regular translation. Let’s address some basic concepts and explore the ways in which transcreation can do much more for global businesses than regular translatiob.

What are the differences between transcreation and localization?

What is translation?

Translation is the direct conceptual transference of information from one language to another. Translation means re-expressing meaning – normally, this is usually done phrase-by-phrase or sentence-by-sentence.

Translation is done phrase-by-phrase or sentence-by-sentence

The typical characteristics of translation are:

  • Maintaining the structure and basic content: Direct translation aims to preserve the structure and fundamental content of the original text. This means attempting to retain the same sentence structure, word order, and the basic meaning of the sentence, paragraph, or passage.
  • Utilising equivalent vocabulary: The translator endeavours to use equivalent vocabulary and grammar in the target language to convey the meaning of the original text.
  • Accurate translation: The primary goal of direct translation is to maintain the accuracy of the original text and not alter its meaning or expression.

What is transcreation?

Transcreation is a fusion of the words “translation” and “creation.” It describes copywriting content in a source text that needs to be made coherent, relevant, etc. in a new language. Sometimes transcreation is also called “creative translation.” Namely, because the content isn’t translated word for word.

Transcreation is also called “creative translation”

The typical characteristics of creative translation are:

  • Changing structure or vocabulary: Creative translation allows the translator to modify sentence structure, vocabulary, or even add figurative language and descriptions to make the text more natural and appealing in the target language.
  • Adjusting to fit language and context: The translator may adjust the text to better fit the structure of the target language or the context of the target text.
  • Aim for expression: Creative translation often aims for accurately conveying meaning while creating an interesting, aesthetically pleasing version that performs well in the target language.

As such, transcreation is more complicated than a simple word-for-word interpretation because it considers all aspects of the target language’s meaning.

What is the difference between translation and transcreation?

While translation focuses on replacing the words in one language with corresponding words in a new language, transcreation services are focused on conveying the same message and concept in a new language.

The difference between translation and transcreation


Transcreation focuses on conveying the emotional intent, tone, and style of the original content rather than a literal translation. It aims to evoke the same feelings or reactions in the target audience as the original content does in its audience.

On the other hand, localization is the process of adapting content to suit a specific locale or target market, considering linguistic, cultural, and regional differences. The primary aim is to make the content more relevant, understandable, and relatable to the local audience.


Transcreation is commonly used for marketing and advertising materials, creative content, slogans, and brand messaging where maintaining the emotional impact is crucial.

Localization is commonly used for software applications, websites, video games, and other content that requires adjustments for different regions or markets.


Transcreation involves more creative freedom for the translator to rework the content, which may include changing not only the words but also the cultural references, idiomatic expressions, and even the entire concept to resonate with the target audience’s cultural and linguistic nuances.

Localization involves more straightforward adaptations, focusing on linguistic nuances, such as date formats, currencies, measurements, and legal requirements. It also considers cultural elements, such as images, colours, symbols, and references that might need adjustment to align with local customs and sensitivities.

SK Translate – The best choice of transcreation

Good transcreation might not be cheap, but it’s a lot less costly and damaging for a brand than recalling a whole campaign or product due to bad translation.

To ensure your international audience feels understood, it’s imperative not to assume a word-for-word translation always boasts the same connotations for native speakers.

SK Translate – The best choice of transcreation

Transcreation helps you better connect with your target audience by ascending both language and cultural barriers. That’s why we believe it’s well worth investing some time, energy, and budget on a high-quality transcreation project.

With SK Translate, your brand can easily collaborate with transcreators to ensure your message isn’t lost in translation.

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