What is the difference between translation and localization?

08, Nov 2022

Share:

What is the difference between translation and localization?



At Upwords, we want to help businesses that are expanding abroad. And we know that when you take your business to other countries, it’s important you speak to your foreign partners and prospects in their own language. We also know how tricky it can be to translate your content. So, that’s what we want to do for you. 

How do we go about it? We look at the larger picture. Because in fact, translation is only one part of adapting your content to a foreign country. Translation is part of a larger process called localization — which means adapting all of your content (instead of only your text) to a specific locality.

Now you may be asking yourself what else, besides translation, does localization include. So let’s have a look at some of the most common ways you can carry out content localization, adapting your content to another country, another culture, and another language.
 

1) Measurements and dates
Maybe your original website shows your products’ measurements in inches and feet, but your foreign audience uses centimeters and meters instead. Or you display dates in the month/day/year format, but in the country you are moving to people use the day/month/year format. If you localize these elements, you will avoid ending up with unhappy customers who bought the wrong product size, or who received their product on 11/10 instead of 10/11.

2) Currency
Transparency is key to attracting and keeping customers. No one likes to see prices in a foreign currency, mistake them for their own currency — and end up with an impossibly expensive shopping cart that they will abandon right away. When you show your customers prices and shipping rates in their own currency, you make sure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises for them during the checkout process.

3) Payment methods
It’s so frustrating to carefully pick all those items, add them to your shopping cart, initiate the checkout process — and realize you can’t pay with your debit card, as you always do when shopping online. You don’t want your new foreign customers to go through this, so take care to make it possible for them to pay with the payment methods that are most popular in their country.

4) Seasons and holidays
What use is showing winter clothes on your homepage, when your foreign audience is sweating through a 35°C summer? Or offering them special Thanksgiving products when they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving? You have to show your audience you know what their needs are, and want to cater for them, so remember to take into account differences in seasons and national holidays when you do your website localization.

5) Colours
Does orange mean the same thing in Ireland and India? What colours are considered good for a homeware website in Japan? These perceptions can vary a lot from country to country, and they do influence buyers’ behaviour, so colour is certainly another element you will do well to localize.

6) Physical types and clothing
Photos of Nordic-looking models look displaced in Latin American stores. And if you want to sell in Madagascar, your audience will relate more to Malagasy models than Breton ones. Unless foreign-ness is an integral part of your brand image, take care to localize your publicity to the ethnic types and clothing styles of your target audience.

7) Cultural references
This MySwitzerland ad only works for people who know Roger Federer and Robert De Niro. And if you are neither British, nor a Tom Hiddleston fan, nor know your Shakespeare, you probably won’t be particularly inspired by this Jaguar commercial. If your website or your ads include national cultural references – songs, literature, artists, places, habits and so on – do your best to adapt them, and use cultural references that will be understood and appreciated by your foreign audience.

8) Other elements
Did you know that in Myanmar, most people have no family names, so it’s useless to have a mandatory “last name” field in your checkout form? Now you do. And you can probably imagine that in the Baltic countries, few people are keen to see the Russian language option of a website represented by a Russian flag – RU is the way to go. There are many more elements like these, that you can and should localize.

 

Right, but how do you figure out all these things? How do you find out what communication elements should be localized to a foreign country and culture? 

The truth is, there are many cultural elements that only a local will be able to identify and localize. And this is why at Upwords we work with locals – native professionals living in their countries, who know exactly what sounds and looks natural and familiar to the people around them. 

If you need a translation company, we’re here for you. As a one-stop-shop provider of translation services, we’ll not only translate your verbal content, but also localize all other elements of your website, your ads, commercials, and elearning material. 

We’ll help you connect with your foreign customers and partners by speaking their language on all levels.
 





Other news

01, Feb 2023

A Guide Map for Translation Cost

This guide map will provide a comprehensive overview of translation cost and offer insight into which services are cheaper and which are more expensive. We will also dive into which languages are more and less expensive.

See more
A Guide Map for Translation Cost
12, Jan 2023

Get your Finance Translation Right and Increase your ROI

Many languages are shared across the globe, providing opportunities for business expansion into international markets. However, even when the same language is spoken, nuances of vocabulary, culture and history create barriers to success.

See more
Get your Finance Translation Right and Increase your ROI
14, Dec 2022

Why financial translation matters

You need financial translation when you are taking your business abroad. All these process involve financial content, and it’s important that it’s translated with a maximum of accuracy. 

See more
Why financial translation matters
15, Nov 2022

How rich content creates better financial outcomes

Let’s face it: creating good content is not enough. Because you don’t create content for the sake of content — you create content in order to sell more of your product or service. So if you’re adding great texts to your website, but that does not have an impact on your conversion rates, it’s probably time to adjust your content strategy. 

See more
How rich content creates better financial outcomes
25, Oct 2022

What are the challenges of cross-border ecommerce?

Before you move into a foreign market, you have to be sure which of the products or services you offer will find interested prospects there. And you can only be sure of this if you do your research. This is easier to do if your target market speaks the same language as you – but what if they don’t?

See more
What are the challenges of cross-border ecommerce?
14, Oct 2022

Four answers to help you get elearning localization right

If you are localizing your e-learning content to another language, you may have some questions. Discover tips on what elements you should localize, whether to use subtitles, whether to opt for subtitling or dubbing, and the difference between open and closed captioning.

See more
Four answers to help you get elearning localization right
Get a quote
Our clients
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Fresenius Medical Care
Neutroplast
ISQ
Beiraltina
DIAGEO
TIMWE
Altice
R2com
Partners
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
PLMJ
Esquível e Associados
Uría Menendez
Samsung
SAP
Cisco e Essity
Essity
Didi Global
Nuno Sousa Moniz & Associados

Processing your message.

loader

Processing your request for a quote.

Success!

email ok

Your request for a quote has been sent successfully. We will reply as soon as possible.

Oops!

email error

We were unable to submit your request for a quote. Please try again.

Processing your message.

loader

Please wait.

Success!

email ok

Your message has been sent successfully. We will reply as soon as possible.

Oops!

email error

Your message could not be sent. Please try again.

Processing your message.

loader

Please wait.

You have been added to our newsletter

email ok

Your registration has been sent successfully

It was not possible to add you to our newsletter

email error

Please contact us