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What’s the difference between ‘translation’, ‘transliteration’, and ‘transcreation’?

  • Answer by Wordbank

    Translation is the transformation of one language into another so that the meaning of the original source is conveyed accurately and naturally. Translation delivers an understanding of your source content for international audiences.


    Transcreation is the creative adaptation of your content so that your message, brand and value proposition are conveyed in a locally authentic way. While carried out in the context of your original English source material, transcreation is about translating the concept behind your messaging and may require rewriting local content to ensure that it doesn’t read like a translation. Transcreation is important for any content that doesn’t readily “translate,” particularly for marketing messaging. Some examples include advertising copy, taglines, straplines, product names and content that is heavily branded or that involves US cultural references/wordplay. Transcreation delivers engagement around your brand and messaging, with a view to driving action.


    Transliteration is the phonetic translation of content from one writing system to another. For example, Chinese is represented through an array of characters, each representing a sound. Transliteration is sometimes used to represent an English word in Chinese by selecting Chinese characters that most closely sound like the English pronunciation of the word. Transliteration delivers an accessible representation of a foreign language term in the local writing system.


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