Content Type: Language & Translation

Localization and Translation: Defining the Roles

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 1/03/222 min read
Localization and Translation: Defining the Roles

Table of Contents

  • What are Localization and Translation?
  • Localization vs. Translation with Examples
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Landing on a website that wasn’t intended for you is like traveling to a country that you didn’t plan to visit at all. You don’t know the language, currency, or exchange rate. You find it difficult to read signs, and you feel completely lost.

If you’ve ever been in a situation like this, you already understand the importance of localization and translation, although you may not exactly know what it means. People working in translation and localization services use a lot of abbreviations and jargon like – Localization =l10n. But when you talk to people from outside the industry, you’ll often notice that localization is understood as translation.

Here’s a quick overview of the meaning of localization translation and the difference between them.

Source

What are Localization and Translation?

Localization is the process that addresses non-textual and cultural components, including linguistic problems when adapting a service or product for another locale or country. The translation is the process of converting or rendering text from one language to another. Translation is used so that text can be understood easily. It is just one part of localization, but localization is much more extensive.

Source

Localization involves adapting other elements as well to your target market. This includes:

  • Modifying design and graphics so that it displays translated text properly.
  • Converting units of measurement and local currencies.
  • Changing content so that it suits preferences
  • Use correct formatting for some aspects like addresses, phone numbers, and dates.
  • Addressing legal requirements and local regulations.

So, when you use translation, you adapt a message, while with localization, you adapt an experience.

Localization vs. Translation with Examples 

Still, confused about localization and translation? Here are some quick examples to understand the difference between the two.

Source

Translation: Apple to Las Manzanas, meaning ‘Apples’ in Spanish.

English:  What is your name?

Spanish:

¿Como

se llama?

The meaning stays the same, but how it’s expressed in each language is different.

Localization: British Apple Crumble to American Apple Pie

Or

Localization translation to Localisation translation

Now, consider British English and American English – both are the same language – English. So, you do not need to translate it, but you do need to localize it. When it comes to localization, the language is the same, but if you are trying to localize it from British English to American English, then you will notice the following:

  • Spellings may be different. So, s’s become z’s and ou’s become o’. For example, localise becomes localize and colour becomes color.
  • Certain words may also be used differently.
  • Idioms and expressions are different.
  • Visuals may also need to be looked at because cultures are also different.

Localization is much more than translation. It includes translation and addresses other elements and factors such as local idioms, text length, measurement units, cultural references, page sizes, and date formats.

Key Takeaways

  • People working in translation and localization services use a lot of abbreviations and jargon. But when you talk to people from outside the industry, you’ll often notice that localization is understood as translation.
  • Localization is the process that addresses non-textual and cultural components, including linguistic problems when adapting a service or product for another locale or country.
  • Translation is the process of converting or rendering text from one language to another. Translation is used so that text can be understood easily. It is just one part of localization, but localization is much more extensive.

Conclusion

To summarize, translation converts or transforms text, while localization transforms the entire content or product from one language to another. You can find plenty of e-learning translation services online to help you with localization and translation for your business.

FAQs

1. Why is localization important in translation?

Translation is not enough to connect with your audience; hence localization is important when you don’t need to translate text but are looking to cater to cultural differences.

2. What is a localization strategy?

A localization strategy is how a brand or business adapts its message to a particular culture or language.

3. What are the main elements of localization?

The main localization elements include layout, multimedia, text, fonts, character sets, and locale data. 

4. What is the localization of a product?

Localization of a product means modifying or adapting a service or a  product for a specific region, culture, or language.

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