Translation and localization: what is the difference?

the difference between translation and localization

Translation and localization: what is the difference?

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

What is the difference between translation and localization? What does localization mean? Which to use when? We have seen these questions arising so many times from some of our clients, we felt an article to answer these questions may be of help.

What is the difference between translation and localization?

A really short and to the point answer: localization is for businesses and translation for all else. Let us give you basic rule; translations are needed when the content, word for word, is exceptionally significant. The paper you wrote cannot be paraphrased; it has to be translated literally. Localization is good when you have a message that you want to target a specific market with and you are looking for an adaptation of that message which will perfectly fit the market you have in mind. In the end, the difference between translation and localization is that localization is a translation adapted to a specific market.

what does translation mean

What does translation mean?

When you take up written words in one language, find the most precise and exact way to translate these words into another language and present the words to the speakers of that language in a way that they will understand the meaning that you wish to convey, the process is called translation. Translations are done when the written words, their assembly, their meaning, all of these are incredibly important and have to be translated to the best of one’s ability.

When to use translation

Translation services are used when the content is of utmost significance. The content will remain as it is and you will not change it for your target audience. A great example for this is a certified translation, where a birth certificate for instance, needs to be translated word for word. Same goes for books that have been published. The author can re-write the book in another language if he is proficient or gives copyrights to write the book in the target language to someone they trust. But that specific book can only be translated, it cannot be localized.

What does localization mean?

When you have a message or thought that you want to convey to a specific audience but your most significant focus is on the audience and their ability to understand the content that you have conveyed; then you are looking at localization.

When to use localization

Localization services are used by business owners who are launching their company, products, and services in a specific market and are focused on getting the word out to their audience. It means that your only focus is the message. You are ready to present it in whichever way suits your cause best and you do not really have any strong affiliation with the content as long as it gets the job done.

The difference between translation and localization is that localization focuses on a target audience. You want to get through to the listeners, except for the core message; you do not mind altering the content at all as long as it delivers the message to your audience in the strongest and most effective manner. Translation focuses on the words and the content. Your target audience is secondary to the content. Your words, their placement, and their meaning are all of the utmost significance and it cannot be compromised on at all in any way.

So here you have it. What is the difference between translation and localization? What does localization mean? Which to use when? The answers are here, all you need to do is to choose your technique wisely. Need help? DutchTrans can give you the answers you are looking for, just get in touch.