What Is The Difference Between Translations and Localization?

If you want to expand your business and you are targeting any particular market. The market has its own culture and language but your research states that it will be beneficial for your company if the content/product will launch in that particular market. What will you do about that? Localization? Do you know the process of localization?

For localization first, you have to do the translation process. The question that will pop up in your mind after reading this is what is the difference between translation and localization? Are they the same thing or different altogether?

Understand the meaning of translation and localization:


Translation means transforming text from a different language to our known language or hard language to understand to easy language. The translation is an art; translating content without changing its context that needs a lot of patience and consistency. Translation of content can be done in various forms like in written, audio or images. Translation needs a professional translator who knows or who is an expert in the subject of the content. So, while doing the process of translation, translators need a dictionary and a typewriter or a laptop/PC; now technology has developed drastically so translators are also adapting to the change, now they are using translation software for more accuracy and for time-saving. There are 2 types of translators: freelance translator & in-house translator. Both categories of translators are highly professional. The difference is freelance translators decide their own projects and when and where to work and on other hand in-house translators are managed by a localization manager.


Localization transforms the content or a product according to the local market demand; it makes content more culturally relevant & appropriate. Localization is mostly used to extend the business globally as well as within the country. The main purpose of localization is to provide goods or services to the targeted market considering their language and culture. So, localization is a very complex process that can’t be done by a single person so it needs an expert team. We can say that translation is the part of localization, translating the original language to the targeted market language and modifying it according to the culture.

Now, you know the basic understanding of translation and localization. Here is the difference between translation & localization:

Only translation cannot be enough to reach your target in today’s world. Translation fills the gap of language barriers. It mainly focused on conveying the exact meaning of the target language. Translation suits technical subjects like law, science, research, medicine, and finance. The targeted market needs to understand the content or product of your company. Whereas localization adapts the net content and deliverables for regional specificity. It’s regarding sprucing your message and organizing it to satisfy cultural, functional, and linguistic needs. Let’s say you're localizing a web course for German; you can’t leave out the term ‘Gift’ because it means that ‘poison’ in German. However, in past times, in foreign countries men wore skirts for particular ceremonies but now wearing skirts is confined to women. So, you must consider these issues & differences while localizing your content.

Example of localization done by famous companies:

Many of the McDonald’s restaurants in Israel close during the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. McDonald’s has also opened a red meat-free restaurant in India, a country in which much of the population does not eat red meat or pork. In both cases, McDonald’s has mentioned its global brand identity but tailored its products and services for local markets. These cases are an example of localization.

Netflix is creating content for different regions. Netflix has a global audience so they are providing content that the audience wants to watch; we can take the example of Sacred Games, a hit series in India. The series is made with consideration of Indian culture & the dialogue is also in Hindi. The shooting of the series is also done in Mumbai for more attention & engagement of the people.

AIRBNB is creating an authentic and personalized experience for its customers. The company has managed to spread its presence across 220 countries & provide an enormous hospitality industry by providing personal touch according to the region. AIRBNB provides a localized guide for that particular region, highlighting things to do in that region and places to see; they almost give a personal tour guide.

posted on 17 Sep, 2021. Posted In translation.

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