Translation is the rendering of a message into another language. It usually includes the steps of

  • translation by a first translator
  • proofreading by an independent proofreader/translator checking the original versus translation
  • editing by a final editor, usually reading the text without a reference to the original but making sure it reads as written natively in the target language

Localization is the cultural adaptation of a text, and this may involved other services, technologies and experts, as opposed to direct translation. The above quality steps will usually be the same, but the target translation may differ as cultural references may be omitted or translated in a radically different way. This means, many times, a complete change in cultural terms, ellisions or explanations.

The aim of a localized text is, unlike direct translation services, to stir the same emotions and generate the same feelings as the source text does in the source language.

When localizing a text, the translator also works as a copywriter. His / her aim is finding the equivalent of each phrase in the target language, rather than conveying purely to the denotative meaning of the words, which is the norm and also the objective in legal translations, technical translations, etc. In these situations, just like in medical translations, no “localization” approach is allowed. However, marketing material, brochures, slogans… all need localization (adaptation) rather than “translation”.

Posted in: Translation Services