localization and translation

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(Last Updated On: December 11, 2017)

Localization and Translation Services

Most of us have probably never thought about the difference between localization and translation.

Most of us think there is no difference, but there is. In some cases there may be very little difference, but there are some important ways in which translation and localization differ.

This is one of the important things you should think about before hiring a translation company.

Why is this important to you?

Well, if you want or need a truly understandable document for people in your target audience, you will need localization, not just literally translated material.

As you know, translating is actually converting written text or spoken words from one language to another. This doesn’t mean that it should be translated without changes in word order, cases, or sentence structure. Translating also means choosing the most appropriate word in the target language. Often there is more than one option. Usually there are several options. Most languages have many ways to say the same sentence. A translator’s job is to give you the meaning and the spirit of the text, and the best way to say or write it in the new language. Translation is not translating “word for word” without sense. That makes a huge difference between a computer translation and translation companies who use humans, and that`s why your choice shouldn’t be a translation program.

Here is the point of localization and translation.

Localization is taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to a target language or country where it will be used or sold.

One language, for example French, is not the same in France and Canada. In localization, translation is just the beginning. Your materials shouldn’t only be translated into a foreign language, but also adapted to fit the other culture. Localization deals with graphics, proper forms for dates, measuring, adoption of local currencies etc. For example, in some countries measuring for distance is in miles and others in kilometers.

Sometimes, literally translated sentences in some countries sound offensive, or if you try to translate some sentences or proverbs, they just sound like nonsense.

Localization and translation means even rethinking the size or physical structure of a product so it better suits the target audience. It also requires recognition of local sensitivities and using translators who know the local culture and the local market. Use native speakers if at all possible. These are important points that you should ask the company you negotiate with, before you hire them and trust them with the important task of localization and translation.