Transcreation vs Copywriting—Are They The Same?

Nowadays, there’s more potential than ever for businesses to reach new audiences around the world. So, how can businesses spread the word about their product and services? Transcreation and copywriting are two different areas of focus in marketing—both of which can help a business tell their brand story, distribute their offerings, and reach new audiences.  

Let’s take a look at how copywriting and transcreation vary and when each is needed.  

What is Copywriting? 

The art of copywriting combines creative writing with persuasive writing with the goal of reaching a target audience and persuading them to do something in a given medium. For example, the goal may be to have the potential customer click on a link, provide information about themselves, to fill out a form, or to make a purchase. 

With copywriting projects, the copy is created from scratch in a given language, based on a brief and reference material the client provides the copywriter with. At this point, no translation is involved and the copywriter is likely writing in their native language.  

Copywriting services have evolved a lot during the last decade. In the past, copywriting was something that newspapers and magazines required to come up with catchy headlines, cover story titles, and other forms of copy that would increase their readership and sales. Today, people’s attention spans are a lot shorter and new mediums like email, social media, and websites require a different form of copywriting. The aim for copy today is usually to be clear and concise.  

While the message may be brief (a slogan for example) the work that entails is not. Copywriting requires a lot of creative skill in order to come up with effective copy while balancing the data-backed needs of SEO.  

What is Transcreation? 

Transcreation is very different from copywriting, yet involves copywriting skills. While it requires the same creative writing skills that copywriting does, transcreation adds in the essential element of translation to the process. 

Transcreation services are used in the field of multilingual communication and marketing. The result is a persuasive, creative text in a different language. The transcreator works with the copy already produced in one language and comes up with new text in a different language that creates the same effect as the original. As a result of the translation work required, transcreation projects can be much more complex than copywriting projects and bring a number of challenges.  

Before starting a transcreation project, it’s essential that the trancreator receives a transcreation brief. This brief ensures that the creative liberties the transcreator takes are in line with the brand and with what the client ultimately wants to achieve.  

The Takeaway 

Both copywriting and transcreation play pivotal roles in helping businesses extend their reach globally. Copywriting usually comes before transcreation. Once it’s time to reach a new audience that speaks a different language or belongs to a different culture, that’s when you need to transcreate the copy you already created during the initial copywriting phase. 


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