Is it Translation, Localization or both?

translation or localization

Translation involves taking a message in one language and accurately rendering it in another language, while Localization is the process of adapting content, product, and websites to fit a specific foreign area to be better understood and received by the target audience. This can be everything from words and numbers, currency, expressions, etc. This means that localization goes beyond translation, as it adapts the message to local audiences. Translators need to have knowledge about this difference and they should also know about  Translation Tools.

The difference between Translation and Localization

Despite translation and localization may seem to share the same purpose, their meaning and approach are different. 

In fact, translation focuses on language itself; it conveys a message in one language to another language accurately. In other words, it conveys the exact meaning of the source language to the target language. Localization adapts the content to meet the cultural, functional, and linguistic requirements of a specific region. 

Another important difference between translation and localization is that translation is neutral to cultural differences as it focuses on the language itself, while localization considers cultural differences at all levels. 

Translation can be different like legal translation services, business translation services or any other different services. while localization is limited to one service provided to others.

Purpose of Translation and Localization

  1. Translation

The translation is not a mechanical process, it needs to be accurate, which requires the translator to have a complete comprehension of the source language, and render it into the target language without compromising the source text. 

Translation often deals with literal content such as legal, technical and medical documents, and so on. This means that the translator needs certain skills such as in-depth knowledge of both source and target languages, excellent writing skills; a professional translator must have the ability to write well in the target language, and the ability to focus on the details of the translation project. The translation is provided by offices like our Legal Translation office in Dubai and it is one of the professional offices for legal translation services as we specialize in translation and not localization.

  1. Localization 

The translation is a big part of the localization process. It does not only involve translation, but also modification of the source text to tailor it to the cultural preferences of the target language. 

In fact, Localization is about more than rewriting the text into a different language. It adapts the message to local audiences. It is mainly used for websites, software, mobile apps, video games, and so on. Localization helps in targeting more audiences in their language. 

To take a local idea global you need to localize it, because translation alone may not be enough to reach your target market. You need localization to fit in with the cultural and functional requirements of the target market. People need to understand your message before they buy it.

Examples of cultural and functional content include but are not limited to:

  • Images and graphics.
  • Colours.
  • Layout.
  • Shapes and sizes.
  • Symbols
  • Social values, beliefs, traditions.
  • Weights, geographical references
  • Units of measurements.
  • Currencies.
  • Date and time formats.
  • Telephone numbers.
  • Product description and reviews.


In short, translation is to communicate the exact meaning of a text written in a source language into equivalent text in the target language. Language localization means adapting a product or service into the language of any region or country, aside from the translation of the written text.

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