Difference Between Localization and Translation

In today’s interconnected world, the need to communicate across languages and cultures has become increasingly important.

For businesses and organizations looking to expand their reach to global audiences, understanding the difference between localization and translation is crucial.

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings and serve different purposes.

Translation is the process of converting text or content from one language to another while preserving the original meaning and intent. It focuses on linguistic accuracy and may not take into account the cultural nuances, idioms, or regional differences.

Translation is a valuable tool for making content accessible to a broader audience, but it may not be sufficient for reaching and engaging a diverse and culturally distinct audience effectively.

On the other hand, localization is a more comprehensive and culturally sensitive process. It goes beyond mere language conversion and takes into account the specific cultural, regional, and contextual factors of the target audience.

Localization aims to adapt content so that it feels as if it was created originally for the target audience. This includes customizing images, graphics, formatting, and even changing content to better suit the cultural and social norms of the audience.

Here are some key differences between  translation and localization:

  • Cultural Sensitivity:

Translation focuses on language accuracy, while localization considers cultural nuances, customs, and traditions. It ensures that content is respectful and resonates with the target audience.

  • Adaptation:

Translation may not involve adapting images, graphics, or multimedia elements, whereas localization includes modifying visual elements to make them culturally relevant.

  • Regional Variations:

Localization takes into account regional differences within a language. For example, Spanish spoken in Spain is different from Spanish spoken in Mexico, and localization ensures that content aligns with the target region’

  • Idioms and Phrases:

Translation may not capture idiomatic expressions or phrases accurately, which can lead to misunderstandings. Localization ensures that such expressions are correctly adapted.

  • Date and Time Formats:

Localization also extends to elements like date and time formats, currency, and measurement units, ensuring that they align with the target audience’s conventions.

  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

In some cases, localization may involve adapting content to comply with local laws, regulations, and industry standards, which is not typically a part of the translation process.

  • User Experience:

Localization aims to enhance the user experience by making the content feel native to the audience, which can lead to higher engagement and user satisfaction.

For businesses and organizations looking to connect with global audiences effectively, it is essential to understand the difference between translation and localization. The choice between these two approaches depends on the specific goals and needs of the project.

While translation is suitable for basic communication needs, localization is the preferred method for content that seeks to engage, resonate, and connect with diverse audiences in a meaningful way.

In conclusion, translation and localization are both essential tools for overcoming language barriers and expanding the reach of content.

Understanding the difference between the two and choosing the right approach can make a significant difference in the success of a global communication strategy.

Localization, with its focus on cultural sensitivity and adaptability, offers a more holistic solution for engaging with a wide range of audiences across the globe.


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What makes VTLocalize different?

We are not the market dominance, we are not the pioneer of the industry, but we enjoy an amazing growth rate current years. For us, Localization and language services is all about you and your targeted audience experience, which are fast and seamless localization workflow, managed by strict industry standards, and flawless translation at the end of production process.


Question 1: Is it possible if I just ask for proofreading services?

Yes! We offer proofreading service solely for all types of documents in more than 50 different languages.

Question 2: How much will you charge for a translation project?

We take many factors into consideration:

  • The number of pages of the document to be translated, in which specified page is 300 words or 300 characters depending on the language.
  • Language pairs: Some pairs are less common, so the service charge might be a little bit higher
  • Service required: Translation Only (TO) or Translation and Editing (TE), or Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP)
  • Industry expertise: The complexity of the required domain affects service charge also

Please contact us for a detail quotation.

Question 3: Do you offer video subtitling and dubbing services?

Yes.! Not only supporting subtitling and dubbing, but we also provide the service of typing verbal documents such as audio or video files.

Question 4: Do you support Image Translation?

Yes! We support translating documents from all PNG, JPG image files, and all types of documents from all files: pdf, docx, pptx, xlsx, etc. Applying optical character recognition technology in combination with latest CAT Tools, the image translation process has never been that easy.

Question 5: Will the translation be presented in proper format and retain the original structure?

For purpose of printing or publishing you may need, we provide DTP and Layout restoration services for documents using varied tools such as Adobe Framemaker, Indesign, Illustrator, Autocad to Powerpoint, Excel, etc. Under our post translation recovery process, we provide a translation with “as is” layout and be ready for high quality printing or online publishing.

Question 6: How will I receive the translation?

It depends on the your need for soft or hard copy documents. For the soft copy, we will email it to you. As for the hard copy, we will send express delivery to the correct address provided by the customer.

Question 7: When notarizing translation, I want to get multiple copies, will there be additional costs?

According to current regulations, notarized translations are not allowed to be copied, all version must be originals. So when you need additional originals, the cost will increase.

Question 8: How long will it take for my documents to be translated?

It depends on the volume, content types, required services, and other project-specific factors. But above all, your required deadline is the most important and we will rely on that to adjust the translation process and management schedule in order to keep up with preset deadline without any compromise upon quality.

Question 9: Can I request an urgent translation?

Yes! We do offer urgent translation services. Depending on specialization or length of the document, we will adjust our production team accordingly.

Question 10: What are your payment terms and methods?

We accept ATM transfers, e-banking, cash, or online payment via VISA/ MASTERCARD card, international payment services such as PAYPAL, PAYONEER, SKRILL, VEEM, etc.


Talk with experts

Several well-known Western corporations have had difficulties when translating their marketing text into Chinese. Coca-Cola was originally translated into Chinese as “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on your dialect. In a desperate attempt to modify their Chinese moniker, Coke examined 40,000 Chinese letters for the phonetic equivalent, “kekoukele,” which means “happy in the mouth” in Chinese. This example demonstrates how even little translation errors can have a significant impact on the final message.