Definition of translation is changing words or text from one language into another while localization is making something local. It is obvious that translation is necessary to enter a new market but in most cases, localization is overlooked. This causes misunderstandings in the message and even humiliating results sometimes.
Let’s say you are a company selling consumer goods, like personal health care products. But because you’re a new company, you only produce and sell in your own country. Your company is very successful, and your sales are skyrocketing in your home country. Let’s keep assuming and say that you are a company from Europe. The first logical move that comes to mind is to sell your products into your neighboring countries.
All new products entering a new market need to overcome some barriers, and language is one of them. You need to ensure you translate your content into the language of the locale you are targeting. You can of course try to sell without any translation efforts, but then you are risking losing potential customers who don’t speak your language and only trust products that are sold in their native language.
So, you agree with a local translator, translate your content, produce and try to sell. This is the basic story, when you need to translate your content. You have a target market, translate your product description into the target language and start selling.
But you forgot something important. What about the language nuances between your target customers and your current customers. What if using the word “love” in your product description doesn’t have the same connotation in your language as it does in your target market? Like language differences, there will also be cultural differences where colors or text and image layout will need to be adapted to your target market. By not taking these elements into consideration, your target audience may not show interest in your products or may totally misunderstand your intentions.
Going back to our little story and assuming you just translated your content and tried to sell it, it won’t be wrong to assume that you will not be as successful as you had hoped. Here, professional localization services come into play. Localization is necessary to ensure that your product and your content is suitable for your target market.
So we can say that, the term “localization” means translation plus “some other things”. In fact, translation is no more than one part of the entire localization jigsaw puzzle, sometimes not even the most important one.