The difference between Localization and Translation

There is a fine line between localization and translation, but according to the definitions, these two activities are different. Translation consists in transposing a text in an original language into another language, the target language. On the other hand, localization requires further work. It goes beyond mere translation by adding a cultural aspect in order to adapt the product to the local needs in the best way possible.


Localization is often mistaken with translation. The difference between the 2 concepts is hard to grasp for some people and therefore the importance of the processes of localization is often underestimated, like adapting the non-textual components of a product or a service. For instance, let’s take the adaptation of graphs, the adoption of local currencies, the use of specific date formats, addresses or phone numbers, the choice of colors and many other details. These modifications can lead to the complete physical restructuration of a project. The purpose of all these changes is to avoid any misunderstanding with the local culture and customs and also adapt to the specific needs and desires of a population when entering a foreign market.

The localization service is a direct consequence of the increasing internationalization of global trade. That’s why many translation agencies are hired to localize products. They will mostly be asked to localize computer products, like translating software and its documentation, as well as websites or more “traditional” documents such as leaflets, packaging, pictures, etc.

Localization is a process in which the culture of the target audience is taken into consideration. The translator knows about the characteristics of the target language and is thus able to perceive its nuances. This requires a thorough understanding of the rules that govern both the original and the target culture. In that sense, it may be said that the process of localization simply is a more advanced and complete version of translation.

But be careful, translation is a vital step that remains at the heart of the process of localization.

Written by Anne-Laure ZAMARRENO

Translated by Nathan HERMANCE

The notion of transcreation in the work of the translator

Transcreation is a mixture of translation, adaptation and localization. It consists in replacing a cultural element while translating in order to adapt the speech to the target audience. Thus, this process is a genuine linguistic and cultural creation, mostly used in the audiovisual sector and in publicity and marketing, with subtitling and dubbing.


Indeed, the translator’s goal is to think beyond the induced linguistic elements and to make a transcreation choice reflecting the culture of the target language. In that way, this is how he becomes the author of the work. Translation can add or skip some elements as long as the general idea of the text is respected. The objective is not only to send the same message as in the source language, but also to create an identical reaction among the foreign audience. He must be both translator and writer in order to analyze the puns and the cultural allusions of the original text to reproduce them in the target language.

To illustrate this concept in cinema, let’s take the example of Inside Out, where Riley does not want to eat broccoli. Broccoli being a type of food that is usually disliked by Western children, this makes sense. However, when came the time to translate the movie in Japanese, broccoli -which Japanese children enjoy- was replaced by chili, since they do not like it.

If translating a specific cultural element seems to be tricky or induces a deep reflection, just imagine how it is to translate songs. It clearly requires a careful a cautious work and a creation respecting songwriting rules (rhymes, number of syllables and so on) but also the general sense and ideas of the original text.

For the song “Let it go” from the Disney animated movie Frozen, the translation does not quite transcribe the idea of closed doors, which is repeated throughout the movie. The text of the original version is “Turn away and slam the door” while the lyrics for the French version are “I have decided to go”. Therefore, we understand how hard it can be to translate a song without losing some ideas yet important.

In my opinion, the transcreator is somewhere between an author and a translator. For specialized translators who are not completely satisfied with non-literary translation, transcreation could be of more interest to them in their translation assignment, since transcreation is culturally and creatively oriented.

Zohra Lepeigneul

Translated by Sarah Deville 

Source : http ://

Why Should Your Website Feature a Swedish Version ?

It has now become almost fundamental to translate one’s website in a foreign language. The first ones that come to mind are English, German and Spanish, in order to open up to the world. However, Swedish can be a very profitable choice for you.


It is true that Sweden isn’t often ranked first when one is looking to break into a new market, but it is part of the five happiest countries in the world. That was expected since they are more open-minded, eco-friendlier and have an effective educational system. As for the professional side, it is rather simple to do business in this country because it  possesses numerous well-developed industries. Having the world’s seventh largest GDP per capita, Sweden undoubtedly shouldn’t be overlooked by a company who wants to make themselves known. The Swedes are prosperous and very knowledgeable consumers. Moreover, their economy has been based on trade and international exchange for centuries.

Swedish is among the official European Union languages and is spoken by over ten million people. Since the internet is very popular in this country, translating websites in their language is a necessity. Besides, let us not forget that Scandinavian languages are mutually understandable, meaning that you not only target Sweden but also indirectly Denmark and Norway. Thus, walking toward Sweden will unlock for you the gates of Scandinavia, which is a region full of possibilities.

A great deal of translation agencies offer language services for Swedish. Linguists are aware of the specific characteristics of each country. For example Sweden is known for its humility or its labor laws.

Sweden attracts ever more, which is why you should hurry and create a Swedish version of your website. Sweden and Scandinavian countries have so much to offer !

Source : https ://

Sophie Landreau

Translated by Sarah Deville

Could Localization Be the Future of Translation ?

For people who do not work in the translation business, hearing about localization, transcreation or any other similar term can be somewhat unsettling. One could even argue that it is just another way to make it seem like translating is a real profession.

Really ? Well yes, translators are not paid to process sentences through Google Translate. I will not go over this again, as some of my colleagues have already shown that machine translation is far from being as effective as human translation. See for yourself.


For those of us who are not familiar with the process, localization is the adaptation of content from its country of origin to its target area. It does not consist in pure and simple translation – supposing that translation is simple to begin with – but localization sometimes means changing the content itself to better appeal to its target audience. I knowingly use the terms “appeal” and “audience” because deep down, it is a marketing method that can be applied to any multilingual content. Furthermore, localization can be used within the same language family : for example, a website will not be adapted in the same way for the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia. Similarly, a newsletter subscription form localized in French will not feature fields in which to fill out the user’s state or region. When it comes to websites, localization can also include adapting shapes, color schemes or any element that catches the eye of the user.

You might wonder why should localization be the future of translation ? Simply because machine translation tools are even less efficient at adapting a website to a different culture than they are at producing a clear and consistent translation from a text that is longer than five lines. Tools like DeepL will not translate first names properly on Coke bottles and even less so translate catchphrases or humor properly.

Of course, localization cannot be applied to just any field. For example, in legal translation, culturally adapting a financial report is not possible and yet, translating any document in this particular field requires following a specific page layout. One could consider that it is part of the localization process. When translating a law, even bulleted lists need to be adapted !

When all is said and done, couldn’t we argue that translators are localizers ? The word “localization” could be used solely to better define what they do. In any case, in several fields such as tourism or websites – or anything that features some kind of marketing dimension really – I believe that the best translations are localizations.

Léa Pigeau

Translated by Céline ECHILLEY

Source : http ://


It is almost compulsory for a translator to translate into their native language for practical reasons, like being better able to come up with meaningful and idiomatic phrases. Therefore, it is essential, especially for a purely French translator, to be aware of the existence of different dialects of the French language.


Of course, Belgians do speak the same language as their French neighbors. Moreover, all the different regional accents in France, no matter how disturbing they might be sometimes, include and respect the same grammatical rules.

So far, so good. However, there is a French-speaking community, far from its motherland, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean : the Quebeckers.

People from Quebec speak with a frustrating accent eating up half of all their sounds, leading any European French-speaker to want to give them French lessons. But, let’s keep it peaceful. After all, it is said that diversity makes the world richer. Furthermore, this particular accent is no doubt very charming if you take a little time to get used to it. You will even find some musicality in it which will not be a problem for the translator, as any cinema or television production is dubbed into the most neutral French accent there is.

Unfortunately, the accent is not the only divergence between French from France and French from Quebec. Indeed, not only do the Quebeckers have a tenacious accent understandable exclusively to experts, but they also have their own vocabulary, which must be taken into account by the translator when fulfilling their task. “My girlfriend” for instance, which will be translated into ma petite amie (my little girlfriend) into French from France, will be translated into ma blonde (my blond woman) in Quebec. Over the centuries, influence from the English language has brought a lot of changes, and expressions such as “to have fun”, which in French means s’amuser, in Quebec they say avoir du fun which is an exact mirroring of the English version.

But let’s not forget some subtle differences which ought to be acknowledged. Amongst the numerous examples, there is the date format. In French from France, the exact format is DD/MM/YYYY while in Quebec you must write it YYYY/MM/DD ; the usage of the pronouns, lui meaning “him” is replaced with y in Quebec. Punctuation has even more subtle variances in spacing changing from one dialect to another. Last but not least, there is a real difference in writing the acronyms ™ and ® which respectively translate into MC (Trademark) and MD (registered mark).

There are so many elements in localization, a major step of translation, which requires awareness from the translator in order to produce a good quality work in the suitable dialect. Furthermore, there are some less-well-known French-speaking dialects in Canada, but they are much closer to Quebecois than to French from France. Knowing all this, a translator would surely avoid major localization mistakes by distinguishing European French (France, Belgium, Switzerland) from Canadian French.

As for you, fellow translators, even if French from France is the official dialect in the world of translation, it is easy to educate yourself a little in the Canadian ways in order to avoid offending our Quebecker friends and to offer them an adapted content to make them feel at home.

F. Huynh-Tan

Translated by Gildas Mergny

Source : https ://

The Benefits of Localizing your Website

In this era of globalization, it has become necessary for companies to expand their market internationally. Therefore, their internet presence is crucial, making the localization of their websites essential for success.


Localizing the content of a website consists of adapting the content to a given culture which goes beyond mere translation and this allows you to directly reach foreign clients. The objective is to expand the business to new markets and gain the trust of new prospects. Expressing yourself in the native language of your potential clients and adapting to their culture is, therefore, an effective way to achieve this.

In addition, localizing a website will allow your company to be better referenced by search engines, making your website more visible to the target audience. Through their presence in new markets and their visibility on the Internet, companies are strengthening their competitiveness, an essential element for their development.

Furthermore, offering adapted content and having good visibility allows companies to strengthen their image abroad and to develop a relationship of trust with their clients. The clients are more likely to seek the services of a company that offers content in their native language and which also has a good brand image.

Expanding their markets and their client base, gaining visibility and a competitive edge as well as improving their brand image, companies have only compelling reasons to localize the content of their websites.

Camille Mouchel

Translated by Sheneil Anadean Ellis

Source : https ://

The Future of the Localization Industry

The localization industry comprises of numerous professionals working in the translation and communication fields, whose services consist of helping clients to adapt their product to an international market. Over the last few years, this industry has seen an immense change, thanks to the advent of machine translation and the fall in prices of these machines. In the face of this changing reality, what strategies should be employed in an effort to stand out from the competition ?

Recent Changes in the Localization Industry

The rapid rise in the use of the Internet in addition to the global economic context has resulted in new trends within the localization sector.


Firstly, since 2008 online services and mobile applications have been providing translations in record time. Behind the scenes are young innovative businesses which are responding to a growing consumer demand. Thanks to a collaborative effort between thousands of translators worldwide, these businesses are able to translate an application, a website or even a video game in very little time.

In addition, there are now free, open-source platforms which allow translators, developers, and technical writers to work together on documentation or open-source software projects. These web-based tools help translators focus on their translation while allowing developers to access the translations which will be in turn used for localization.

Moreover, we are moving towards the progressive use of machine translation by transnational companies. In fact, since 2006 many big companies specialized in the field of information technology, microtechnology or e-commerce, have been developing their own machine translation tools. In addition, companies specializing in machine translation are offering businesses new Artificial Neuron Networks-based solutions.

As noted earlier, there have been numerous changes to the localization industry over the last few years. We need now to focus on the strategies employed by businesses in this field to adapt to these changes.

Businesses that are Adapting to the Current Changes

To begin, businesses in the localization industry place emphasis on the efficient use of emerging technologies. Automization, for example, can help to increase the productivity of translators while allowing businesses to continuously have optimal performance. This consists of a technique which allows for the execution of repetitive tasks by machines.

Simultaneously, businesses are taking a gamble as it relates to diversifying their activities. In an economic context marked by a fall in prices, businesses are turning to activities such as edition, proofreading and post-edition. Some businesses are also offering innovative services such as remote interpreting.

Finally, businesses in the localization industry are calling on competent translators in the face of the progressive use of machine translation. Their managers are assigning a great deal of importance to the relationship between the employees and internal communication. At the end of the day, the localization sector will probably continue to evolve based on the technological innovations to come.

Stéphane Bagassien-Catalan

Translated by Giselle Dunbar

Source : https ://

Five Tips to Optimize the Quality of Your Translation

Translators are often under pressure to provide a translation in the shortest possible time. The problem lies in the quality of a translation that is delivered within too tight a deadline. When you want to have your website translated, it is essential to think about the quality of your content whatever the language may be. To deal with this problem, here are five tips to make your content easier to translate.


Think Globally

If you know ahead of time that among the projects you are going to translate one will be localized, it is best to translate while keeping localization in mind. Indeed, if you choose to avoid images with embedded text, use word-processing software, write in a concise and precise manner, your content will be much easier and quicker to translate, which will help you save money on translation.

Choose the Right Translators

Obviously, the more efficient the translators, the better the translation will be. Firstly, a translator must ALWAYS translate into their native language for a truly professional and natural result, with the least possible mistakes. It goes without saying that the more experienced the translator is, the better the result of their translation. However, if you should work with an inexperienced translator, make sure that they are familiar with the terminology they will work with.

Create a Glossary

If you provide your translator/translation agency with a glossary, it will considerably reduce the time spent working with them and the translation process will be more efficient. In addition, you will be sure that the technical terms used are correct.

Use Translation Memories

Translation memories save translators time by automatically translating recurring and domain-specific terms. The more you feed the translation memories, the more efficient they are. Moreover, they help you save time and money on translations, regardless of the translator using them.

Proofreading and Quality Assurance Control

Once the work is complete, the translation goes through a proofreading and quality assurance process that allows the translator to verify whether the terms have been properly used in the right context. Some terms may appear out of context in the translation memories and their translation may, therefore, vary according to the sentence in which they are used.

Camille Rigaud

Translated by Sonia Ahamada

Source  : https ://

Why Translating Your Website into Other Languages Is Important

Launching a website into several languages is a key strategy to expand your presence on the international stage and to enhance your visibility for a larger public. However, you have to keep in mind that when localizing a website, what you are targeting is a country and not a language. Nowadays, handling the localization of your website is a less complicated task and it is much cheaper than before. There are many translation agencies which are capable of offering an efficient multilingual website. In-house localization can also be done for free thanks especially to countless tools such as online translation software which facilitate the translation of your website.


Obviously, the choice of languages will vary based on the target audience just like the number of languages depends on the size of the company that runs the website. Larger companies tend to offer their websites in more languages (on average, 14 different languages) than smaller companies. The research company Common Sens Advisory estimates that within a few years, a website should be available in no less than 20 languages in order to enjoy the advantage of a strong worldwide position.

Perks of Multilingualism

Websites are visited by people from every corner of the world, regardless of the language the website is available in. This is one of the main reasons that drive the localization of websites.

Moreover, most European internet users speak several languages. Yet, this does not mean they are willing to purchase items on a website that does not offer a version in their native language. A study showed that there is some connection between the language spoken by the consumer and their willingness to make a purchase, something which should not be taken lightly.

In fact, internet users feel more secure when buying on websites that provide a version in their own language due to problems of comprehension. A survey carried out by the European Commission in 2011 revealed that nine out of every ten internet users browse in their native language when they have the option to do so. Some results of the survey are presented in the article Europe : Most Used Languages on the Internet. Thus, if websites offered a version in their native language, this would build a relationship of trust with the buyer, hence the importance of multilingualism.

A multilingual website allows you to assert your notoriety among international clients and attain their loyalty. Expanding your website to include several languages is a way to conquer potential clients regardless of their country of origin, without having to make huge financial or time investments. It is therefore a profitable and a must-have marketing tool given that it has been proved that adding a second language to your website has a positive impact on profits.

Furthermore, it highlights the interest shown by the companies towards their clients by offering a website which is tailored to their language needs and the fact that they are a step ahead of their competitors who provide a small range of languages, if any. Indeed, a multilingual website will be capable of meeting the needs of an international clientele before competitors, which is a significant advantage.

Ultimately, localizing a website can now be done incredibly quickly and at very little cost. These different points, as mentioned, underline the importance of developing a website’s reach throughout the world. The only thing left to do is to choose the appropriate languages and watch your profits substantially increase.

Written and Translated by Sonia AHAMADA

Article source : http ://

How to Effectively Manage a Translation Project

Several translation agencies have recently undertaken the task of dealing with the constraints of traditional methods of project management. The objective is to improve the efficiency of their work, and to create a loyal client base. In order to achieve this, there needs only to be a more simplified roadmap or a clearer picture of the course of action to be taken•


Reassess the Methods Involved in Project Management

To better understand the shortcomings that arise during certain translation projects, the different stages of a translation project must be examined. These stages are usually determined by the Project Manager according to the specifications of the project. However, when doing this, it is necessary to think critically so as not to negatively impact the performance of the linguists who will take part in the project. In fact, certain stages may well be unnecessary and may even slow down the business’ rate of productivity. To illustrate this, consider a client who wishes to localize his e-commerce site. The client would naturally want to prioritize the translation of the product descriptions, and would thus be less particular about the rest of the website. Despite this, some translators, by concentrating on the entire text to be translated, expend the same amount of effort on each section of the text to be localized. Consequently, if there is no classification of data as it relates to priority, data management may prove to be inefficient and may affect the quality of the finished product. This is particularly the case when the Project Manager does not take into account the hierarchy of data. In short, too many resources, both material and human, will be unnecessarily utilized. This in turn results in increased costs and what can be described as an onerous task for the agency’s employees•

Optimizing Translation

There are several ways to circumvent the difficulties and obstacles associated with translation through sheer optimization. The most important way to optimize a translation is through simplification. Though language providers may be reluctant to simplify translations, doing so has its advantages. Firstly, it is a necessary step in reducing the tediousness of work faced by employees. Most businesses boost their production flow thanks to computer-based tools such as automatic translations generated from previous translations. This proves to be especially beneficial when there is sizeable content to be translated. These businesses often utilize programming interfaces for more time efficiency before publishing the content. An agency with access to computer-based tools is naturally able to work more quickly during the translation phase. The simplification process also includes the planning stage of the project. Agencies which do not have computer-based tools may benefit from a system of hierarchy and prioritization in order to progress in their tasks. Human resources may be reduced depending on the level of priority given to the content by the client. In the case of hierarchy of semantic groups, segments or extracts to be translated, quality assurance is less needed. Most of the innovation lies in how the agency adapts to each project : the parameters in the planning of the project (and programming for those agencies that have software) will be constantly modified.

Ornella Andriamanantsoa

Translated by Giselle Antoinette Dunbar

Source : https ://