Translation, Localization, Internationalization and Transcreation

Depending on their nationality these women may be playing a game known by very different names.

Depending on their nationality these women may be playing a game known by very different names.

What are they and how are they different?  

Our resident localization expert, Susie Winn, explains what each term means, using the international language of football. If you've got indepth localization issues you're trying to solve, you can contact Susie and our localization team by using the Request Consultation button above. 

Translation – the process of changing words and text from one language into another
Example of translation: 

  • UK English — A Swedish company makes football uniforms for women's teams. 
  • Swedish — Ett svenskt företag tillverkar fotboll uniformer för damlag. 

But translation is just the start of customizing content. 

Localization – the adaptation of a product or service to meet the needs of a particular language, culture or desired population's "look-and-feel".

Example of text localization: 

  • Swedish — Ett svenskt företag tillverkar fotboll uniformer för damlag. 
  • US English — A Swedish company makes soccer uniforms for women's teams. 

The difference between translation and localization:  
The word "fotboll" in Swedish translates to "football" in English. But in this case, the word is localized for the American market (or locale). 

Internationalization – the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures. 

Examples of internationalization: 
A website contains the marketing phrase, "Our jerseys will blow you away!"  
In a literal translation, the expression "blow you away" frightened some potential customers who believed the apparel actually contained explosives. The text didn't transfer well across languages, resulting in costly errors and linguistic rework. The company decides to eliminate all idiomatic expressions so the translation process is easier and less error-prone. 

Transcreation – the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. The phrase has historically been used by advertising and marketing professionals looking to transfer the meaning of a message into a new language without losing intended meaning. 

Example of Transcreation: 

  • Original Swedish text: These uniforms are so amazing that everybody on the field will feel like a winner. They're the top! 
  • US English version: These uniforms are so amazing that your team will win every time. They're the best! 

 

For help with your next localization project - use the Request Consultation button above. We look forward to hearing from you.