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Translation, Localisation and Transcreation

Translation, Localisation and Transcreation: Understanding the Differences and When They Should Be Used.

A business’s ability to effectively communicate across language barriers can make or break its global aspirations. However, the art of conveying messages accurately and meaningfully is complex, especially when cultural nuances come into play. This is where Transcription City’s various language services such as translation, localisation, and transcreation play a key role. For any business looking to expand its reach to international markets, understanding the differences between these services is critical.

Understanding Translation, Localisation, and Transcreation

The terms ‘translation’, ‘localisation’, and ‘transcreation’ often get used interchangeably, but in terms of professional language services, they represent distinct efforts to bridge linguistic and cultural divides.


Translation is the literal conversion of a text or speech from one language to another while maintaining its original meaning. This translation service is crucial for the accurate dissemination of information across diverse audiences. Translation is commonly used for technical documents, legal texts, and other content where precise meaning is paramount.


Localisation takes translation a step further by adapting content for a specific locale or market. Beyond just translation of words, localisation accounts for cultural sensitivities, differences in images and colours, units of measurement, currencies, and more. For instance, a website that’s been localised for a French audience will not only be translated into French but will also use the proper date and time formats, currency, and local language nuances.


Transcreation, or ‘creative translation’, involves recreating content. This is typically for marketing or creative material. This type of translation is done in a way that resonates with the target audience on a cultural and emotional level. It is about delivering the underlying message rather than a literal translation, often taking creative liberties to ensure the original intent and impact are preserved. Transcreation is common in advertising, where slogans and brand messaging need to evoke similar emotions across different cultures.

Translation in Business

Translation is the foundation of effective global communication. When done well, it allows businesses to expand their reach without compromising the integrity of their message.

Role of Translation

Accurate translation is more than just swapping words from one language to another. It requires a deep understanding of both the source and target languages, as well as the subject matter being translated. When businesses need to communicate technical specifications, user manuals, or legal contracts, they rely on translation to ensure precision and clarity.

Tips for High-Quality Translations

For businesses seeking high-quality translations, investing in professional translation services is crucial. It’s important to vet language service providers for their expertise, use of native speakers, and the application of technology tools for consistency. Additionally, encouraging clear and concise writing in the source material can simplify the translation process.

Localisation for Target Markets

When expanding into new markets, localisation is essential for engaging with local audiences and ensuring that communication is both relevant and respectful.

Adapting Content Globally

Multiple factors need to be considered when taking content from a global context to sounding regional. Regional variations, tastes, and expectations all play a part. A good example could be food packaging, where ingredients and nutritional information must be localised, but beyond that, the imagery, references, and even packaging appeal may need to be completely rethought.

Best Practices for Localization

In order to successfully localise content, businesses must begin with comprehensive market research. This includes understanding the target demographic’s preferences, legal requirements, and cultural specifics. Developing a strong working relationship with local language experts is also crucial to creating content that feels native to the audience.

Transcreation for Marketing and Creative Content

Creative content, especially in marketing, often hinges on cultural context and emotional response. Here’s where transcreation steps in to ensure the essence of a message is retained across borders.

Going Beyond Translation

Transcreation is about much more than translating words. It involves understanding the emotional triggers that a brand or piece of content is meant to invoke and finding culturally appropriate ways to elicit the same response. It could mean rewriting a tagline or changing the imagery to align with local sensibilities while still supporting the brand’s global strategy.

Successful Transcreation Campaigns

Global brands have executed transcreation successfully, tailoring their messaging to local cultures without losing the global brand’s core identity. A famous example is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, where names on bottles were transcreated into various languages to encourage the same experience and sentiment across the world.

Choosing the Right Service for Your Content

Not all content requires the same level of linguistic and cultural adaptation. Here are some considerations to help you decide which service is best for your needs:

Content Type

Technical documents typically require the precision that only a solid translation can provide. Meanwhile, creative material such as advertising might call for more extensive changes and thus benefit from a transcreation process.

Target Audience

The better you understand your audience, the easier it is to choose the most appropriate service. For general information targeted at diverse international audiences, translation may be sufficient. However, when dealing with a specific cultural sector, more in-depth adaptation through localisation or transcreation may be necessary.

Purpose of Communication

Ultimately, the purpose of your communication dictates the service you require. If you’re strictly delivering factual information, translation is likely the right choice. For content that aims to engage or sell, the emotional and cultural resonance that comes with localisation or transcreation is crucial.

The Future of Language Services

As the global economy continues to expand, the need for effective language services is on the rise. Here are some industry trends pointing toward the future of language services.

Advancements in Technology

Language service providers are increasingly leveraging AI and machine learning to enhance translation, localisation, and transcreation processes. While these technologies can improve efficiency and consistency, they cannot replace the nuanced understanding of culture and context that human translators provide.

On-Demand and Real-Time Services

The demand for quick turnarounds and real-time communication is growing. Language service providers are adapting by offering on-demand services, which are often essential in fast-paced industries such as journalism, social media, and customer support.

Sustainability in Language Services

The language industry is beginning to consider its impact on the environment and is seeking sustainable solutions. This includes sustainable business practices, such as remote work and reduced reliance on printing, that minimise the industry’s carbon footprint.

Harmonising Language Strategies with Global Ambitions

The success of global business depends on effective communication, and language services such as translation, localisation, and transcreation are indispensable tools in achieving this. By understanding the nuances of each service and recognizing when to use them, businesses can tailor their communication to resonate with international audiences on a personal level.

In an era where borders are increasingly transient in the business world, investing in the right language services can be the key to not just success, but deep and lasting connections with your global customers and partners.

Contact Us today for Translation, Localisation or Transcreation Services

Ready to launch your global communication strategy? Partner with a professional language service provider to take your content to new heights, reaching people and making an impact in every corner of the world. Don’t wait for language to be a barrier— make it your bridge to unprecedented global success!

We provide various forms of translation services in over 50 languages. We also provide transcription services, subtitling services and live captioning. In addition, contact us at any time if you require note taking, minute taking or secretarial services. Finally, feel free to contact us at any time for video translation services and multilingual subtitling.

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Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant. View all posts by Samantha