General translation, specialist translation, transcreation – what’s the difference?

From creative poster campaigns to official contracts, plenty of different texts need translating, and the range of professional translation options on offer is just as broad. But which service is right for your text type?

All roads may lead to Rome (or in our case, to more than a hundred other capital cities as well), but that doesn’t mean every one is right for you. To pick the correct translation service, you’ll need to consider your text type and what you aim to achieve with it.

General translation: everyday topics and expert linguists

For general texts

General translation is our straightforward standard service. The translator applies their expert linguistic knowledge to the task of giving your text a second life in a new language. Quickly, simply and cost-effectively. However, if you have bigger ambitions for your text, it’s worth checking out our two advanced options: specialist translation and transcreation.

Specialist translation: accurate terminology and in-depth knowledge

For contracts, policies, instruction leaflets, industry-specific texts, etc.

Absolute precision is the order of the day here. In industries that use specialist terminology or where certain phrases often recur, texts need to be translated as accurately and consistently as possible. An error or misinterpretation could have serious consequences. Examples of this category include legal translations and medical texts. Specialist translators in these industries don’t just know each language like the back of their hand, they also have extensive knowledge of the field and its fundamental vocabulary.

Medical and legal texts aren’t the only ones that require this level of precision, however – the finance and insurance industries, for example, also use language in distinctive ways, and sloppy translations in these fields can lead to disaster too. As well as keeping their language as precise as possible, translators need to do thorough research and ensure that translations of key terms are consistent throughout the project.

Transcreation: cultural insight and linguistic magic

For slogans, PR texts, poster campaigns, newsletters, etc.

A transcreation doesn’t just translate a text into another language – it also creates an entirely new piece of writing. A transcreation is a creative translation that communicates the core message to a new market as effectively as possible. This means it’s often very different from the original. After all, inspiring and winning customers in another language is no easy task.

Customers don’t only speak a different language: they also live in a different culture and require a message tailored to their unique sensibilities. For slogans, campaigns, newsletters and all other marketing texts. Our transcreators possess not only a finely-tuned ear for the linguistic qualities of the source and target languages, but also an in-depth understanding of both cultures. As the old marketing adage goes, it’s not what you say – it’s how you say it.

Cover image via Unsplash



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