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Translation versus Localization versus Transcreation

One of the most common words that people are often confused about is localization, transcreation, and translation. The definitions of these three terms overlap which makes it difficult to differentiate between them. However, with that being said, it is important to know that these three definitions are very different from one another. In case you are also someone who is struggling to understand what these terms exactly mean and how they are different from each other then you have landed on the perfect page.

What Do You Mean By localization?

Language localization is the process of adapting a product’s translation to a specific country or region to understand by natives.

We often come across some terms in the English language that could be very confusing. We also assume they have the same meaning however the reality is the opposite. For instance, people might think that interpretation and transcription mean the same, however, they do not.

In this article, we are going to define the meaning of these three terms so that everything is clear in your head.

Understanding The Meaning Of Translation

If you go by definition then translation means rewriting certain content from a particular language to another language. You might have heard about this term earlier since it is a very common word. Understanding the meaning of translation is not at all difficult. In the process of translation, content is taken from a particular source i.e the original language, and then it is converted into another language i.e the translated language.

The words in the original language are converted into the target or translated language to its closest possible equivalent so that the meaning of the content remains unchanged.

There are two types of translations in general:

  1. Machine Translations
  2. Human Translations
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There are yet many shortcomings when it comes to machine translation and people generally rely on human translations. Although machine translations are cheaper than human translations, the quality of Machine Translation is not very satisfactory.

There is a translation software that translates the original content word by word to the translated language which most of the time creates problems as the essence and the meaning of the content is lost. However, in the case of a human translator, instead of translating the content word by word, the translator understands the meaning of the content and then tries to rewrite in the target language such that the meaning of the content remains the same and the translated language makes sense to the readers.

There are many subcategories when it comes to human translations. There are legal, medical and professional translations amongst many others.

Understanding The Meaning Of Localization

If we go by definition then localization means going beyond words for a clearer and better understanding of the meaning of the content.

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The main focus of localization is to meet the natives, community, cultural expectations of the audience. Localization goes beyond translation. Translation generally focuses on one or more languages. Localization on the other hand is a more conceptual approach to translation.

In the case of localization first, the topics and themes of the content are considered so that the meaning it reflects is culturally sensitive.

To give you a Clear Understanding of Localization, here is an example

A meat company in its advertisement can feature some people enjoying “braai” for the audience targeted in South Africa. However, the company won’t use the same advertisement in the United States because people in the USA are not familiar with this tradition.

Braai- South African Style Meat
Braai- South African Style Meat

This is a very simple yet very effective example. A small cultural difference can make a huge impact on the brand reputation, image, and finally revenues.

Besides, localization also helps in preventing offending various distinct cultures. Another good thing about localization is that it pays attention to the fine details such as images which helps the brand to connect with the larger audience.

Understanding The Meaning Of Transcreation

In very simple terms, transcreation means the last step towards creative freedom. Ahh.. Before you sit down scratching your head in confusion let me explain.

If localization is one step ahead of translation then transcreation is one step ahead of localization. Transcreation ensures that your marketing message is displayed just the way you wanted it to be.

Brands generally prefer to use a combination of visual content, languages, and storytelling so that they create a special impact on their audience.

Transcreation focuses on creating the best possible way to create a positive response in another language and culture such that the brand can connect with the audience.

Transcreation involves using different images but the message remains the same. The only difference is that the visual content, message or slogan is revamped such that the message remains the same. This is done to create a positive impact on the audience.

To give you a Clear Understanding of Transcreation here is an example

Let us take the example of Coca Cola,

You might have noticed that Coca Cola put well-known names on their packaging

In India, they use famous Indian celebrities and in Vietnam, they use Vietnamese celebrities

Coca Cola - Translation versus Localization versus Transcreation
Coca ColaIndian and Vietnamese Celebrities

They create those advertisements locally for the common Indian and Vietnamese audiences. This is how they have succeeded in creating an impact on the audience of several countries across the globe.

I am sure that you can differentiate between these three similar-sounding words now. Just remember that translation is the most basic service, localization is one step ahead of translation and helps the brands to connect with the local audience better. However, transcreation goes even one step further and helps the brands to deliver their message in the target international markets.

Conclusion – Translation versus Localization versus Transcreation

All the above terms might sound similar but all of them have different meanings and very different objectives. However, they all share one common goal and that is to break the communication and language barriers so that brands can get international recognition.

If you are a brand that wants to leverage the international market then these services – translation, localization, and transcreation Vinsys FLS will help you achieve your goal. You will not only be able to connect with the local audience but also will be able to deliver the message of your brand in the international market.