In general, when clients think of translation, they usually think of it in terms of technical texts requiring near-literal translations, such as:
Translators try and find as near an equivalent as possible matching the tone, word complexity, technicality, etc. They may use some leeway in adapting the text to regional industry norms, but being accurate to the source takes higher priority.
Localization takes translation to the next level by adapting texts for regional consumption. It addresses non-textual elements which translation alone may not, such as:
Localization also takes into consideration local laws, rules, and regulations to ensure the content is not only culturally relevant but legally adheres to regional standards and avoids conflict with local culture and norms.
Many sources may benefit from localization, especially those that elicit customer action, such as:
To take localization further, in situations where the experience of the translation is more important than the factual basis, the content may significantly differ from the source and include changing images, layouts, color schemes, etc. In this way, transcreation implements that marketing adage to know your audience on a truly global scale.
TRANSLATION + RECREATION
Facebook understands the power of localization for international businesses and has created a way for businesses to share region-specific content to their target audiences. Take a look at how KitKat has used this functionality to not only deliver language-specific content but to completely re-create the brand image for various regional markets.
There isn’t a clear line between translation, localization, and transcreation, but more of a continuum. Most translations will include a degree of localization, such as date and time formats. But it takes very different skills to translate technical texts than to transcreate a campaign. As a client, take that into account when hiring a professional or an agency.