What Is the Difference between Localization and Translation?

You may have already heard of the term localization. However, you may also have been wondering what it means and how it differs from the standard translation.

There are a lot of misconceptions about these two terms. So our goal in this article is to explain what localization means when it is needed, and how to find the perfect candidate for your localization task.

Definition of Localization

A textbook definition of localization is the process of adapting texts to different markets of a particular country or region by using the cultural adaptation and local languages.

At first glance, although it seems remarkably similar to the definition of translation, there is a significant difference. Generally speaking, traditional translation does not take cultural differences between countries into account; it focuses solely on communicating the meaning of the source text in the target language.

Localization is the process of adapting texts to different markets.

Localization vs. Translation: The Difference

On the other hand, localization also takes other aspects into account, such as using local currencies, references and names specific to a given culture, region-specific slangs, deleting or rewriting portions of the text if necessary. Localization is much needed as well when the original content differs from the company’s values, moral principles, or political views.

In addition, a localization expert can give you suggestions about customizing graphics, colors, images, or even the entire text layout.

Imagine this: you are a travel blogger in Malaysia. On your website, you compare the prices of trips to different countries with the average Malaysian salary. If you would like to reach out to readers in the United States and have a literal translation of your writing, it would probably be of no use to most Americans.

This is because American’s average salaries are significantly different from what you are used to in Malaysia. Staying in a five-star hotel in Thailand can be considered expensive for the average Malaysian, but it would be regarded as cheap for most Americans. Therefore, you need to invest in localization services to properly reach out to your overseas audience.

When do You Need Localization?

This example illustrates the difference between translation and localization.

Localization process requires more work from the translator than the standard translation since the translator needs to be familiar with the culture, people, and slang in the region. This also means longer time used and increased efforts.

However, if your business only focuses on local audiences, localization is seldom an aspect that you should consider. In 99% of the cases, you need to a standard translation for your documents or websites.

However, if you are working on a global brand, localizing your website, promotional materials, slogans, and marketing campaigns can be an extremely good idea. Localization also plays a major role in online marketing campaigns across borders, such as SEO, Facebook Ads, and Google Ads.

Localization is also often used for worldwide distributed media, such as trade show flyers, company profile, movies, video games and software.

Localization for website seo

Translation and Localization Services from Word Philocaly

Localization reduces customer’s confusion in the specific region and conveys your messages to the international audience more accurately.

Word Philocaly can help you execute your website localization and translation strategy seamlessly. We also ensure the quality of localized content for all your markets all over the world.

When you engage in our localization service for your website, flyer, company profile, marketing campaigns, or other media, please do specify that you’d need localization in addition to the standard translation.

Need localization or translation support? Get your free quote now.

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