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The differences between language localization and translation

What are the additional benefits of language localization compared to translation?

We often receive content translation requests: either for the translation of a website (language localization) or for the translation of blog articles from an already translated website. These requests are always for the translation of a website. And our reply is always more extensive than our clients would hope expect. 

We have tried to provide a description of language localization in a nutshell, regarding this service offered by our translation agency.

We will, however, take advantage of this generous space here to explain the added benefits of language localization compared to the translation of a website. The two concepts may be easily mistaken for one another, because the process is similar in both cases.


This service consists of the process of transposing the source text. The one in which the content of the website is written, into the target language, taking into account the context. This process runs with no interventions upon the text, as liberties of adaptation are limited. The main features of website translation:

  • minimal intervention on the part of the client (clarifications, terminology, indications);
  • the text is rendered maintaining the exact terms and meanings from the source text;
  • conveying the same message and information as in the source text;
  • undertaking a shorter delivery term than in the case of a website localization service;
  • reduced costs compared to those of the localization service.


It represents the process which transposes and adapts the content (texts, leaflets, references etc.) to the target audience. This means that localization interferes with the text, with the structure of the information. It adapts the entire content to the cultural preferences of the target audience. The main features of this service are the following:

  • the need for the client’s intervention, respectively for the supply of a brief, of certain clarifications regarding the purpose and audience of the website;
  • significant adaptation of the text upon transposing it into the target language;
  • changing the initial message, in order to adapt it to the new target audience;
  • a longer delivery term than in the case of a simple website translation project;
  • higher costs compared to those related to a translation.

To sum things up, whereas the translation of a website is only a way to create a bridge between two languages, the language localization service helps the brand in adapting to the targeted market. How? Culturally (label, humour, symbols, salutation, style), functionally (the format of the date and of other numerical information, measurement units, geographical references) and linguistically.
If you want to take brand communication to another level, in a foreign language, do not forget that you have transcreation at your disposal. More on this subject in a future episode.


This article is part of a series that serves to clarify certain aspects of the translation industry. More specifically, aspects pertaining to the various stages a text has to go through while in the translation process, depending on its type, format and, most importantly, the destination of the translated text.
[Language localization: website localization, software localization]
[Translations specialized in various fields]

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