To speak technically, transubstantiation is no more literal than consubstantiation; rather, the whole argument has to do with how the Christ nature and the Bread/Wine nature "share each other."

In transsubstantiation, the bread and wine are truly transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. That is what they are. But of course it still looks/smells/tasks like bread and wine, so they retain their original appearance. People have tried to disprove transusbstantiation by looking at a host under a microscope; nice try. God is smarter than that :-).

In consubstantiation, after the consecration, the bread and wine are truly, literally, the Body and Blood of Christ. They are, at the same time, also bread and wine (Catholics believe this ceases to be). They are consubstantial.

While many Catholics don't believe in transubstantiation, it is a binding belief on all the faithful, and they are supposed to try. Consubstantiation, while still believed by many Lutherans, is not what most of the Lutherans I know believe -- but they have no binding beliefs, I guess.