Translation vs. Localization – What’s the Difference?

By Atlas LS

The Difference Between Translation and Localization

Translating a document from one language into another is called translation. On the other hand, localization encompasses a far more comprehensive range of activities. It considers the technical, social, and visual aspects of adapting a website for users of other languages. In actuality, translation is only one step in the localization process.

translation vs localization

What is Translation?

Language translation is when a person converts content from one language to another while keeping the message the same. Translated material should adhere to the same diction and tone as the original while still considering factors such as punctuation and grammar. Translating online content, such as prose, graphics, eBooks, or programs, from one language into a new, chosen language is known as online website translation.

What is Localization?

Website localization is a more emphasized method of modifying your web-based applications and information for use in a particular locale. In addition to translating, it changes any content or website components to cater to the cultural mores of the consumer in their native tongue. This ensures that the whole meaning is being conveyed in the new language. The last thing you want when starting an international business is to offend your new audience unknowingly. Even a tiny mistake can cost you when making a first impression.

When hiring a website localization company, note that it could significantly affect your website. Adjusting for cultural differences might alter the tone of your text and modify particular idioms or terms. Visual components like images may also need to be revised or expanded to account for cultural differences. In the United States, we read left to right, but other languages, like Arabic, read right to left. These are things that are updated with website localization. Other examples of areas on your website that may need to be modified for localization:

  • date formats
  • measurements
  • currency
  • colors

There might even be certain technical advances to make the website more accessible to visitors from other countries. All factors of your website need to be considered when opening up to a new audience. Hiring a website localization service can ensure a smooth transition.

Website Localization Services

While localization falls under translation services, the two have vast differences. While translation is simply the conversion of language, localization is a complete adaptation of meaning for cultural, regional, and language differences. In order to make your website fully functional and culturally appropriate in its new language, take into consideration not only the text on your website but also things like color, images, measurements, and general website usability before launching. If your business needs help, contact the localization professionals at Atlas Language Services.