How is Chinese Translation Different from Transcreation?


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?

ProcessUse of CAT Tool for repetitive wordsContent should be original and creative
PeopleProfessional translators and linguists with specializationTranslators should have marketing and advertising background
Writing StyleTechnical, rigid, and boringCreative, casual, and exciting
UseDocuments, legal papers, manuals, guides, brochures, transcripts of videosWebsite, 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.

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