Translation vs Localization

Translation, localization and transcreation, which is a rather new process, are similar in terms of their approaches to language and culture. However, it may sometimes be difficult to understand the role of these three processes in globalization and the difference between them.

Translation services are used where “word to word” translation is required, when the source text and the target text should correspond to each other. In localization services, target language is adapted to the culture. On the other hand, transcreation, which a rather new concept, is fundamental in creating in a world getting more interconnected day by day. A company benefits from this service to adapt its message while preserving its brand image.

Although, translation and localization services are considered the same by many people, knowing the difference between these two processes would facilitate understanding the industry better and help the businesses or the products globalize more effectively and profitably. One of the best examples that might be presented regarding this subject is Coca-Cola.

In 2013-2014, Coca-Cola initiated a marketing campaign that attracted the attention of the public. They used names on the bottles instead of “Coca-Cola” logo. These names were localized for each country. For example, “John” in United States was made “Can” in Turkey. However, addressing someone directly with his/her name is considered as disrespect in China, so the company needed to find another way to connect with people. Coca-Cola overcame this problem by using statements like “best friend”, “classmate” etc. Again, in China the pronunciation of Coca-Cola as “Kooke Koula” which refers to “A thirsty mouthful of candle wax”. As a result of the localization efforts of long hours, the new pronunciation “Kee Kou Keele” was found which means “joyful tastes and happiness”.

As it may be understood from this example, determining the needs of a company or a product entering a new market and then, initiating and managing the required process in a professional manner would have a direct impact on the success of the company or the product.

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