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What’s the difference between translation, localisation, transcreation and copywriting?

When it comes to language services, we have seen that clients can sometimes confuse translation, localisation, copywriting, and transcreation, as they are not sure of the differences between them and of which service would suit them best.

This is due to the fact that these services are often given different names by the various agencies which deal with them, and the lines are blurred when it comes to their definitions.

The table below examines the key basic differences between translation, localisation, transcreation and copywriting:

Translation Localisation Transcreation Copywriting
Purpose Transferring one message from a source to a target language Content adaptation to suit a specific target audience and locale Recreation of content from one culture to another, following a specific brief Creation of original copy with a compelling message to get the reader to take action
Adherence to source Faithful Medium Conceptual No source
Provided by Translation agencies and independent translators Agencies and freelancers Bilingual professionals with marketing experience and local insight Native copywriters
Type of asset Any type of written content Any type of content, but especially popular with software, manuals and user instructions Web copy, design, user manuals, brochures, marketing strategies, advertising campaigns Articles, blogs, white papers, emails, social media posts, website copy, product descriptions, catch phrases and slogans

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to the differences between translation, localisation, transcreation and copywriting. For more in-depth information, read our free, full-length guide here.

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Samantha Brazel

Product Manager at Webcertain
Samantha is the Product Manager of the Translates department at Webcertain. With over nine years of experience, she has developed a professional background in translation and localisation management. She manages a team of Project Managers, partners and engineers who are invested in continual improvement and keeping up with translation industry developments. She enjoys new learning opportunities and developing her skill sets. Originally from the UK, Samantha now lives in France.

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