Localisation vs. Translation – What’s the Difference?


Find out the difference between Localization and translation – and a few other commonly used industry terms! Plus, when and how to use them.

The words Localization and Translation are used by many as synonyms. There is a difference between these two words which most people somewhat forget. The ignorance is increasing. The marketers, as well as business owners, ignore this difference very often. And use these interchangeably when working on the process.

The process for both- Localization and translation have some similarities but they are not exactly the same process. It is evident that all business owners know the difference between these two.

Knowing the two words will help business penetrate the foreign market with better efficiency and will be more likely to generate profits.

Website translation :

Translation of the website content is the process of word to word translation of the website content into another language. The translators replace the original with the desired language.

Web localization :

This is a much more specific process where we adapt and adjust the digital content.  This is usually according to the taste of a specific target market. It is not a simple word-to-word translation.

Localization aims at changing different elements of the website like currency, time, colors etc in order to make it much more suitable for the target audience.

Localization is a bigger and more specific process which works over and above the word-to-word translations. Even with highly skilled translators, the content might lack some technical and cultural specifications which will appeal to the target audience.
The experience is enhanced when the content is localized.

It is a process that ensures that the users have a real experience of the web content compared to the word-to-word translation. It is likely that the visitors might feel a little disconnection from the content even when the visitors are able to read it all in their own local language.

The expectation from the visitors vary from region to region and hence it is significant that the business opts for optimization strategy using localization compared to just translation.

The expectations have two categories for better understanding:


  • Colors, images, shapes
  • Symbols, traditions, humour
  • Political, religious and economic sensitivity

Functional aspects

  • Measurements
  • Descriptions and feedback
  • Contact information, currency, and dates

How to choose between the two?

When one is dealing with technical information, translation is a good choice. The majority of situations will require localizations which will focus on quicker adaptation.
It is better to know your needs and choose from the two wisely.

The translation agencies are available in order to help you analyze the needs better.

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