Translation and localization are great ways to transform your content and reach a bigger audience.

Now you may be thinking, “There’s a difference between translation and localization?” It’s a common misconception, but the two are different based on things like cultural aspects, language, and more. 

Keep reading to see how these two differ and when you should use one.

Key Comparisons in Translation and Localization

Although translation and localization are different, they do carry some similarities. Check out these comparisons below to see how the two differ and relate to each other. 

Cultural Aspects

Unlike translation, localization factors in cultural aspects like a specific country’s jargon, customs, and traditions. 

Furthermore, localization considers adapted content to reflect the correct time zones, national holidays, and more. You’ll more likely find localization as a way to build deeper relationships with your consumers as your content will relate back to them. 

Language Exchange

Both translation and localization require language adaptation to effectively communicate your business’ offerings to your consumers. 

Language exchange

If you were to translate your content, you might find that some words cannot be translated directly. Many words are exclusive to a certain country or have no equivalent in another language.

For example, the word “estrenar” means to wear something or use something for the first time in Spanish, but there is no single verb equivalent in English.

That’s why it’s so important to know when to translate or localize your content.

Translation is a great way to reach your consumers better and it does not require as much research and work as localization. Nonetheless, localization allows you to connect with your audience better as you are catering to their lifestyle, language, and culture. 

Currency Differences

Translation would help your consumers understand your products better, but does not account for ways to purchase products. Localization would factor in currency exchange and cater it to different audiences. 

If you choose to translate your content, make sure that your methods of payment are flexible. 

Now that you’ve seen the key differences between translation and localization, keep reading to see when it’s the right time to use these methods. 

When to Use Translation or Localization

Localization is the process of adapting to a different local language and culture in your target market. Meanwhile, translation is the process of exchanging the meaning of words into a different language. 

So when is the right time to use translation or localization? 

Localization should be used when you provide different products in certain markets or when you need to create completely new content, especially when certain markets are geared towards a specific country. 

Translation should be used when your target consumers are fitted into the same market, but you want to provide more languages to cater to a wider audience. 

Want a thorough guide on how to start localizing your content? Check out this guide on content localization for your website.

Example of Translation

Check out this example from Coca Cola below.

As you can see, most of the content translates well to English. Nonetheless, you can see some words that cannot be translated, as seen through the purple rectangle around the text.

Translation example in Coca Cola

Notice that the currency differs from dollars. Notice that you may want to consider localization if your content is different in different markets.

Example of Localization

Check out this good example of localization for Coca Cola as well. The sentences are understandable and cater to the currency in Spain. 

Localization example for Coca Cola

Coca Cola’s website localization fits well with the consumers in Spain. It is easy to understand, aesthetically pleasing, and even factors in the way dates are written in Spain as seen in the bottom left corner of the image. 

Ready to Expand your Market with Translation and Localization? 

Now that you know the difference between translation and localization, you can effectively choose which strategy you’d like to take to widen your market. 

Colibri Content’s team of Online Marketing experts can assist you with your expansion needs, contact us at hola@colibricontent.com today!


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