translation and localization

What is the difference between translation and localization

(Last Updated On: August 15, 2018)

When you are working with a business, whether as an employee or the planner of global outreach, you will be confused by the overlapping terms of translation and localization. Many individuals feel that these two terms are confusing and it is hard to know which one stands for which.

Translation and localization

We have written this post to discuss this and tell you how we see these two terms as translators. USA Translate will define those terms and then lay out the similarities and differences for you guys to understand.

what is translation

What is translation?

Translation is the basic art of taking a sentence in one language and writing it in the language of your choice. You can focus on keeping the literal translation or keeping the contextual translation, but that is the only liberty that is allowed. The words that you choose, the general sentence structure and the meaning of the phrase are all derived from the original text.

Translating a text from one language into another can be done by any translator knowing the two languages, yet we always assign translators who are natives of the target language as they are the best at translating.

What is localization?

When you take a product, service or any other commodity and present it in a way that is appealing to a specific local population, the process is known as localization.

When you take perfume that was made in France and create an advertisement for it in India, using Indian actors, writing content in Hindi and presenting it in Indian background, the entire process is known as localization. Similarly, a company wanting to expand its reach to a certain market needs to localize it’s website to that market, translating into the local language and adapting the message according to local culture, religion and habits.

what is localization

Similarities between translation and localization

There is almost no similarity regarding the process or the end presentation between translation and localization. The analogy is in essence; as adaptation is focused on the main idea, similarly, the process of localization also focuses on the primary purpose and builds the entire content, and its presentation around said idea.


The differences between localization and translation are numerous, and we are presenting a few here for your understanding.

Process: The process of translation is very different from the process of localization. Localization takes the main tagline of the product and makes an entirely new identity for it. The same product that may be presented as glamorous in one region may as well be shown as funky in another region. The presentation is dependent on the target audience. Translation, on the other hand, is all about the presentation of the idea as accurately as possible. The translators will preserve the sentence structure, main verbs, adverbs, nouns and the basic grammar as much as they can. They will look for the closest meaning idiom, phrase and all other embellishments in the text.

Aim: The primary objective of the translation is to preserve the text in the same way as the original text and present it in the same manner. Localization aims to grab the attention of the audience and retain it for as long as possible.

Translation and localization are as different as two methods of transferring ideas could ever be. USA Translate is a translation company in El Paso, TX which provides both translation and localization. We are here for all of your needs. Call now and get your free quote!

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