Posted by shahzad-bashir on December 27, 2021

Translation vs Localization: What’s The Difference?

Translation vs Localization: What’s The Difference?

Making your brand successful in the international market is not a hard nut to crack. The global competition is becoming intenser, making global business expansion even more challenging. When it comes to launching your brand to the international market, you must adapt your product or services to the cultural values and interests of the native audiences. Now the question here is, how to make it happen? And how can you make your brand seem relevant to foreign audiences?
The best advice you might receive in this matter is to do the translation of business content to native languages and localize your brand to fulfill international standards. Although, if you have been thinking that translation and localization are the same things, then you must read this article till the end. There are some similarities between both terms, but they are totally different when it comes to implementations. You might have heard about the translation management system, or localization management system; both these tools share a lot of common features, but there are differences that you need to know.
This article would talk about the differences between translation and localization, and how they can be helpful in bringing your business to the global markets.


What Is Translation? Why Do Brands Use It?

As the name suggests, translation is the process of translating your content from a source language to a targeted language. There are many ways to undertake content translations. Some businesses hire professional human translators to do the job, and others do machine translation systems to generate translation automatically. Of course, there is a huge difference between how these two methods of translation would work. Most businesses now prefer using professional TMS tools for translating a large number of contents in the fastest turnaround time.
Businesses now translate their content for every new market they want to target. The reason is, your audiences would feel more connected with the brands that look local and speak their language. According to the research, it is proven that your potential customers are more likely to buy from a brand that is in their native language. Translation allows the business to increase their return on investment and better connect with their targeted audiences.

What Is Localization? Why Do Brands Use It?

Localization of a brand is a broader concept than translation. Localization does include the translations, but there are a lot of other things involved. In localization, you must adapt each element of your brand to the preferences of your target audiences, including language translations. In the localization process, you have to change the overall look and feel of your brand to make it blend in with the local culture. If a business wants to take its place in the local market, localization is not something that you should ignore. From the selection of the right colors and designs to the technical formatting, you have to modify each element of your brand to the interests of the desired population. Business can use reliable localization management system to effortlessly handle their localization process.
When the audiences know the product is created for themselves, and it fulfills their demands, they would not just buy from you, but also stay loyal to your brand. It is a good way of increasing your brand credibility and trustworthiness in the foreign market.

Differences Between Translation and Localization

As you have an idea about what translation and localization really are, now let’s get into the in-detail comparison between the two. Below are some major differences between translation and localization that you must know.

  • Translation Only Deals with Language Part

When it comes to launching your brand to international markets, translation matters the most. Not everyone understands English, so you have to make sure that your brand is accessible to everyone, regardless of their understanding of English. When you translate the content into the native languages of your customers, they feel like an insider and more likely to buy from you. Unlike localization, translation only focuses on the linguists and the delivery of the message to foreign audiences. So, in translation, you are just transforming written words from one language to another. In the case of localization, you have to modify the complete structure and formatting of the product using different techniques. Moreover, localization also focused on the actual meaning of the content, so the context of your message wouldn’t get lost in translations.

  • Localization Involves Images 

When it comes to localizing your brand, the adaptation of visual elements to your audiences’ interests is also critical. Not just language, but images and visuals have a huge impact on your customer’s psychologies that also influence their buying decision. Visual content has more impact on your customers than textual content. So, just translating the text won’t be enough, you have to adapt the images in a way that resonates with your targeted audiences. For example, if you are changing the text in a particular ad banner, and adapting it to the new audience, you also have to change the image of that banner that blends with the textual message and effectively targets the desired audience.

  • Translation Is only one Aspect of Localization

Localization is not just about translation. The translation is just one aspect of localization. There are a lot of other things you have to consider while localizing the content. For instance, the time and date formatting, display of prices in the right currency, and payment methods used on your digital business assets. In localization, you have to pay attention to the tiniest details of your brand to make it culturally appropriate and easily fit in the foreign market. Moreover, in translations, localization takes care of the context and makes sure that the intent and concepts are clearly translated to the other language.

  • Localization Deals with Formatting and Designs 

Localization required the transformation of the overall design and layout of your website, mobile app, software, etc. You have to modify the designs more often than you think. For instance, a business wants to translate its content from English to Hebrew, knowing that Hebrew is a right to left language, they have to flip your designs and layouts accordingly. Otherwise, the whole design would turn into a disaster.
Similarly, some languages use more words and phrases than English to translate a text. On the flip side, some languages take fewer words than English. You have to adjust your designs to every new translation language, which is also done under the localization process. So, your translated content might shrink or expand depending on which language you are translating it.

  • Localization Makes Your Brand Culture Appropriate 

Translation only deals with the language, whether localization has to deal with the rest to make your brand culture friendly. You have to transform your brand in a way that can easily mix with the targeted markets. From the textual message delivery to the use of the right colors, everything has to be carefully modified to make your product connect with the audience. For this, you can use any professional translation management software that fulfills your business needs and increases your sales globally.

  • Localization Is More Technical Than Translation

For the localization purpose, you would need qualified and well-experienced developers who know the technical aspect of localization and are also familiar with Unicode. In the case of technical products and software, you should do code internationalization that saves you a lot of time and makes the localization process effortless. Instead of hard coding, your developers should write Unicode. So, you don’t have to modify the code each time you want to enter a new marketplace.

What Tools Are Required for Localization and Translations?

Traditionally companies would use manual processes to manage their translations and localization. These processes were not just complicated and time-consuming, but also more prone to errors. Fortunately, now we have advanced localization and translation tools available that have made our translation and brand localization super easy. You can use an AI-powered translation management system to generate volumes of content quickly. The translation management system can streamline your operation and automate the workflow of your everyday localization tasks.
These tools have integrated smart features to make your localization tasks hassle-free and optimize your overall localization journey. For buying the right translation or localization management system, make sure it contains the tools and features your business requires. Moreover, it is also important to choose a TMS tool that is compatible with your business growth. This means you can upgrade it anytime based on your changing business needs.

Final Words!

Translation and localization are two important aspects of business globalization. It is significant to localize your brand that resonates with foreign audiences and allows them to connect with your business. You must have all the required tools and equipment to efficiently do the localization and translation process. Moreover, you should get professional employees on board to help you build your business’s global expansion strategy efficiently.
Now, you gain a clear understanding of translation and localization and what are the differences between the two. This knowledge can be helpful for you to make the right business expansion decision. If you are still unsure whether your business needs a complete localization plan or just translations, you better get a consultation from an expert service provider.

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