What is Localisation?

Understanding Translation and Localisation

Localisation is often confused with translation, yet these terms refer to different aspects of language adaptation.

Translation involves converting meaning from one language to another, aiming to preserve the original message while considering cultural and regional nuances. This practice dates back centuries, to the inception of written language. Modern translators utilize advanced tools and software to enhance and streamline their work, making translation integral for global organizations in producing diverse content such as product labels, technical manuals, user reviews, marketing material, and annual reports.

Localisation goes beyond translation by deeply analyzing the target culture to tailor the product more effectively to local needs. It involves customizing a product or service for a specific location, encompassing steps like adapting visual elements, sorting operations, date and time formats, addresses, numbers, currencies, visuals, and content to align with local preferences and practices.

The goal of localisation is to make a product or service appear as if it were created specifically for a target market, catering to their language, cultural preferences, and geographical specifics.

The Role of Technology in Translation and Localisation

Localisation differs from translation in that it often includes substantial non-textual modifications to products or services. These adjustments, such as altering the physical structure, graphics, local currencies, and cultural references, are crucial for resonating with local markets and avoiding cultural conflicts.

Advancements in technology play a pivotal role in both translation and localisation. Key technologies include Translation Management Systems (TMS), Computer-Aided/Assisted Translation (CAT), Machine Translation (MT), Translation Memory (TM), and Content Management Systems (CMS) with APIs. A TMS, in particular, is vital for organizing and managing translation and localization projects, combining various tools like MT and TM, and facilitating quality assurance.

In essence, a TMS is the hub for all tools necessary for successful translation and localisation, ensuring efficiency and consistency across projects.

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