Select Page

How is Chinese Translation Different from Transcreation?

Maria Krisette Capati, Author

10 May 2019

Compelling content for marketing and advertising requires a different set of translation and writing skills.

If you’re an active internet user in China, you’d probably be overwhelmed with the type of content a typical consumer often reads and sees, everywhere.

Browsing on the mobile device, standing on a metro, watching a video or series. The content being consumed each day also makes it a challenge for global marketers to communicate on a personal, engaging way.

READ MORE >> How Can Chinese Copywriting Give Value to Your Online Marketing Strategies?

So, that’s where global companies will likely run to language solution providers and localization specialists to make sure the consumers receive the message on their side, which is more relevant and more personal.

These localization providers can be copywriters, social media specialists, SEO specialists who understand the China markets and how people interact with words and ads.

What’s the difference between translation and transcreation?

Translation Transcreation
Process Use of CAT Tool for repetitive words Content should be original and creative
People Professional translators and linguists with specialization Translators should have marketing and advertising background
Writing Style Technical, rigid, and boring Creative, casual, and exciting
Use Documents, legal papers, manuals, guides, brochures, transcripts of videos Website, landing page, slogans, banner ads, PPC ads, brand names, product names

Sometimes, transcreation and translation in marketing are often used interchangeably in this industry. However, translation at its core is different from marketing translation because of the services and skills required for the deliverables.

The translation itself involves a native Chinese translator to translate a source language such as English to Chinese and makes sure the linguistic nuances match the culture and context for the Chinese language.

Translators are often and are required to be linguists and have other specialization in other fields like law, accountancy, engineering, and medicine. Most of the work they do involves the translation of documents that have terminologies and phrases. So, they must be knowledgeable in a specific industry.

On the other hand, transcreation involves a “recreation” of the texts for a specific audience to make sure it resonates with them. In this type of work, it often deals with marketing slogans, tag lines, social media captions, and names.

When does transcreation take place?

Unlike the general translation work of documents, transcreation requires the translator to apply copywriting and marketing techniques that will match the brand’s style and guidelines for a specific audience.

It does not necessarily take away the “core message” of the original content, but it “recreates” the lines or texts to trigger emotions of the customers. The goal is to sell the product or service. So, it has to be punchy and compelling.

Transcreation gives breath to the Chinese version without completely changing the source texts or English content. Most of the time, the specialized translator reinvent the texts in Chinese so that it also blends in the culture and daily verbiage of consumers.

Transcreation takes place when the translator re-writes the texts and make them bold, creative, original, and powerful that the audience will easily associate those lines to that brand.

Thinking of working on your ads? Transcreation can help you jumpstart the process.

Fill in the form below and we will get back to you with a quote on your project.

As we are constrained by resources, we will only serve those deserve our attention and time. We will only focus on clients who are already decided which projects to prioritize and understand the importance of translation and localization efforts.

china market writer

Maria Krisette Capati

Krisette or "Sette" for short is a professional writer and copywriter who loves to cover disruptive technologies, digital trends in China, and a myriad of geeky and innovative topics. She's the Content Strategist at AZ-Loc and currently manages the English website and in-charge of the social media channels. She has been writing about China markets, business, and startups since 2012. She has gained her expertise as a China internet specialist and is fascinated by its business ethics, language, and culture. She's a major of Business Management and Entrepreneurship and an advocate of faith-based non-profit organizations. When she's not writing or dabbling with Sophie and the team, she satiates her wanderlust as a digital nomad. 

If you’re serious enough to take your business to the next level, we’d love to offer you a 20% off on your first project this Chinese New Year! Our promo offer was extended until March 31, 2019, T&C apply. Rest assured that you will get premium service with more discounts.

Are you ready for the next steps?