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You may have heard the term localisation when talking to a translation company. So what does this term actually mean within translation services?
Well, put simply, translation focuses on the words, the grammar and the tone of voice within a piece of content, whether it is a document translation or translating a phrase from English into Hebrew.
Localisation, on the other hand, is where the linguist goes one-step further than a direct language translation and starts to take into account other factors that will influence the target audience, such as style, colour and imagery. One of the most requested forms of localisation is website localization, or website translation as is it sometimes refereed to.
This might seem like an unnecessary step, but imagine you made a similar mistake to baby food manufacturer Gerber, where a baby is featured on the label. This was fine in countries with high literacy rates but in some small African countries, where labels on food packaging depict exactly what is inside the tin, this caused a lot of confusion!
Other things that need to be considered are slogan translations where suggestive wording might be too subtle or in fact cause major offence. Using in-country, native speaking linguists means that words, phrases, images and slogans that will not work in the target language and may even cause offence will be picked out and a sensible alternative will be recommended. This would have been useful when Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” was translated as, “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
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