Translation is the conversion of text from one language into another. Localization is the adaptation of material, including text and images, from one cultural context to another. Localization includes translation as part of its process, but its scope is broader than translation. While they both require a nuanced understanding of the target language and culture, translation is more of a language-specific process.

Translation aims to understand the message of a piece of text and deliver that message intact in the target language. The subtle differences between a variety of synonyms can play an important role, so translators choose words carefully. Technical translation, like medical or legal documents, often require word-to-word translation for precision of terminology. Creative writing, like literary translation, requires sentence-to-sentence translation to capture rhythm and tone, with more flexibility around the technical precision of each individual word. 

The goal of localization is to fit your marketing material, app, or website seamlessly into the target culture, as if it were originally produced for that audience. This means incorporating cultural cues, humor, and design elements that are relevant to the target culture, but may be foreign to the source culture. 

It also means the removal of elements that are culturally specific to the source culture, which may be confusing or irrelevant to the target culture. Localizers may throw out whole slogans from the source language and replace them with new ones in the target language, in order to evoke the same emotional response. That’s why localization can’t truly be called translation.

Furthermore, localization takes into account other key elements, including weights and measurements, dates and times, numbers, images, local currency, purchasing preferences, and user experience. The process requires a dedicated localization team of developers, market researchers, translators, and project managers to ensure a seamless project.

Day Translations localization services will deliver your message to your target audience in a way that is meaningful and culturally potent. For your free localization quote, simply click here.

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