We get it! Transcreation is a relatively new term in the world of language services, originally coined by advertisers and marketers. Transcreation is what you need when you’ve got a product (it could be packaging, documents, videos, websites, etc.) that needs a complete makeover from one language/culture into another. It focuses on creating a new version of the product specifically for your target market.
But wait - isn’t that the same as localization?
Not quite. Localization is more specifically software oriented, and adapts a product/project in its current form in order to make it more appropriate to the target market, transcreation starts from scratch, and creates a new product for your target consumers based on the source. As Arle Lommel once stated, transcreation is “the creation of content in the target language that is inspired by the source, but highly adapted for the language and culture where it will be used.” In this way, transcreation deviates more from the original product in order to increase sales (or website traffic) and acceptability of your product in the target market, but it can be more costly and intensive than localization.
In that case, how do I decide which service is for me?
That’s a great question. Let’s break it down into three categories:
If you’re on a tight budget, localization tends to be less intensive than transcreation because it’s an adaptation of a current product rather than the creation of a new product based on the original.
In target markets with cultures similar to your home market, localization is typically the better choice. You might consider utilizing localization in two vastly foreign markets, but you run the risk of your product flopping due to poor integration.
If your primary goal is to make an already popular product more easily accessible to larger populations, localization might be sufficient. However, if your product has yet to take off in the target market, transcreation is a worthwhile (if not necessary) investment, as it focuses more intensely on the marketing and advertising of your product.