Localization Services
The difference between "Professional Translation Services" and "Professional Localization Services"

When working with or evaluating translation companies, you may have heard the word "localization" and wonder what it means and how it differs from "translation" as they pertain to professional linguistic services.

In a nutshell, professional "translation" is the transforming of sentences in a somewhat direct manner from a source language to the target language through the selection of:

  • Best matched vocabulary
  • Grammatical structure
  • Tone of the language

Professional "localization" goes beyond straight professional translation services. With localization, the linguist extends her analysis of the content of the source language to consider the broader context of the meaning of the content including the:

  • Style of the prose
  • Figurative nature of the language
  • Flavor and color of the imagery
  • Form of the sentence
  • Degree of vividness or demureness of the content

She then constructs equivalent content in the target language that takes into account all of the elements of normal translation combined with her extended analysis for the localization.

Consider, for example, some poor translations for marketing campaigns that did not utilize successful professional localization services. During the period of 1963 to 1967, Pepsi Cola rolled out an aggressive new marketing campaign targeted at the younger generation with the image that the Pepsi beverage "belonged to them." The slogan of the campaign was "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation." The marketing campaign in its source language of English was enormously successful in the domestic United States market. It transformed the image that Pepsi was for housewives and mundane people into a drink with a new aura that no one would feel embarrassed to drink. The slogan was translated into other target languages. This is where each word and their nuance, from a localization perspective, really do count and if not carefully localized, the result can be disastrous. In the case of Pepsi, when the advertisements were translated into Chinese for the Chinese market, Pepsi's sales plunged in China. The slogan, translated (not localized) into Chinese, declared that "Pepsi would reincarnate dead ancestors!" This is but one such example of poor translations causing damage to sales rather than boosting them and highlights the critical importance of professional localization services. The Pepsi example further underscores the importance of the professional linguists be native to the target language and hence able to adapt the localizatation to best address the target language market. (Sources: 1 and 2.)

Assured Language Solutions has the experienced native professional linguists and provides the professional localization services that you can trust.


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