Translation vs. localization: how localization can help companies market their products and services to international audiences

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One of the biggest questions that customers have when it comes to our industry is: what is the difference between translation and localization? Translation is a more straightforward process in which words and phrases are transposed from one language to another without losing their original meaning. But there is another slightly more complex process known as localization. It involves adapting the content to the target language based on factors such as target audience, cultural aspects and current language trends to produce a text that reads as though it were originally written in the target language itself. This process uses creative resources on top of traditional translation resources. Localization is seen as a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand globally.

Every company that wants their products or services to have a global reach should bet on localization. At Zaum, we believe that a localized content should be indistinguishable from one that was originally produced in the target language.

Localization fits the material seamlessly into the target culture, modifying and adjusting content, and adapting the texts, images, examples and even call-to-actions (CTAs). The idea is to produce a message that is not only grammatically correct, but a message that closely resonates with the culture, habits and values of its readers.

For us, localization requires empathy—putting yourself in the target audience’s place, understanding its needs, using the right terminology, vocabulary, metrics and punctuation system and recognizing linguistic identity, while always thinking about creating the best possible reading experience.

Content localization is one of our specialties here at Zaum and a top choice for companies looking to reach an international audience. One of our most popular services is localization to different countries that share the same language, which involves adapting the content to each location. For example, a client may ask us to translate and localize a document to European Spanish, and then have it localized to several Latin American countries. In this case, the text would be translated and adapted by natives of the target countries. This ensures that the content is suitable and relevant to the current context of the countries where it will be used.

At Zaum, we are fully prepared to handle such requests, not only for Spanish, but also in a wide variety of languages. After all, all countries and cultures have their own set of meanings and values, which deserve to be recognized, respected and appreciated. There is no linguistic standard that applies to every country. However, when a client needs to have a single version of the content to be sent to different countries that speak the same language, Zaum creates a version of the message that is more suitable to different audiences by using a more neutral language.

Zaum firmly believes that each client has its own specific needs and that we must customize our services to meet those needs. This is why we offer a highly organized and qualified network of professionals, ranging from dedicated project managers to a broad team of carefully selected linguists.

We always try to combine the know-how and expertise of our professionals with the endless possibilities provided by digital transformation to help our clients expand their businesses internationally.