What is the difference between translation and localisation?

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Localisation is translation taken a step further. Instead of just directly changing the words of one language to another, as is the case with translation, localisation uses local context to ensure translated content achieves the same objective no matter the culture.

Localisation is often confused with translation, but these terms actually mean two different things.

Localisation is the entire process of adapting a product or content to a specific location or market.

Localisation also involves adapting other elements to a target market, including:

  • Modifying graphics and design to properly display translated text
  • Changing content to suit preferences
  • Converting to local currencies and units of measurement
  • Using proper formatting for elements like dates, addresses and phone numbers
  • Addressing local regulations and legal requirements

While translation means converting the source text into another language, it does not mean that it is a mechanical process. For the translation to be accurate, the translator must have complete comprehension of the original text and render it into the target language without compromising the original. Translation has a great impact on literal content such as manuals, legal documents, books, documentation, technical publications, medical and scientific information, and more.

A translator’s skills require the ability to fully understand the source language and the culture of the locale where the text came from. The most important ability of a translator is to write in the target language exceptionally well.

There is evidence culled from various research and studies showing that localisation makes a product or service highly successful. According to one research of Common-Sense Advisory, price only ranks second after the ability to access information in one’s own language, based on consumer responses.

When you are dealing with an international audience, you must use the right language. At the same time, it’s essential to convey the meaning accurately.

As a professional translation agency, we pay close attention to detail, ensuring that every aspect of your translation is of a high standard. Your brand will be communicated precisely with each set of content being suitable for an international audience.

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