Localization and translation are types of language translation. You can have translation without localization, but localization includes translation. 

If you want to expand your business into the global market, it is important to understand the differences and to know how localization can impact your international content.

What is the Difference Between Translation and Localization?

Language translation is just that, translating source content directly into another language. Localization goes a step further into the cultural translation of content.

Localization is the cultural translation of content that speaks the language of the target market and that understands its unique interests, history, cultural norms, and even legal issues. Products and services are adapted to meet the needs of the local language and culture.

When Translation Is Needed

When considering translation vs. localization, not all content requires localization. Literal language translation can be an effective way to communicate your functional or directive content. It must be error-free and communicate the information in a clear and concise manner.

Here a few examples:

  1. A kitchen appliance instruction manual
  2. Transcription of a video (i.e. subtitles)
  3. Maps or map directions
  4. Certain types of legal documents such as birth and death certificates, patent applications or wills.

When Localization Is Needed

When you want to make a deeper connection to a target market or demographic, the benefits of localization can be enormous. This is particularly true for customizing a product or service in such a way that no one would suspect it wasn’t created in that locale.

These mediums are more likely to benefit from localization than literal translation:       

Websites and Blogs

Your website copy and blog articles would benefit from the inclusion of cultural references to entertainment, fashion trends or the pop culture of the target location, for example.

Product Information

When marketing and describing products in the international arena, you must consider the locale. For instance, when translating from American English to British English, there may be different spellings of the same words.

Gaming or Mobile Apps

When designing games, websites or apps, for example, formatting and layout issues—as well as aesthetic components—can affect the user experience depending on the culture.

Brand/Marketing Communications

Advertising campaigns are profoundly impacted by localization because slogans, taglines and brand messages need to be conveyed with a certain context in mind. Also, advertisements often feature idioms, metaphors, and innuendo to persuade and inform the target market. Even logos may need to be altered if they do not fit in with the culture of the target market.  

Legal or Health Sectors

Industries such as these have a high degree of specialization or specific terminology that may vary by locale (e.g., medical journal articles and legal documents).

Social Media

These days, social media is a fundamental platform essential to marketing and communication for international organizations. Effective and accurate communication is key on social media sites. Failing to localize the target languages will negatively affect your business.

When You Need Professional Translation Services

Getting lost in translation can negatively impact your brand, so be sure to keep these factors in mind when communicating in the target language. A thorough market analysis must be done in order to determine the nuances of the target market and what type of translation you need. 

At LinguaLinx, we’ve got you covered no matter what type of translation you require. Our team of native speakers and industry experts can provide the best quality translation and content localization for any project. 

Visit us online to learn more about the different types of translation services available.

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