Localization, translation and transcreation are three terms that are regularly used in the language industry, but can be easily confused with each other. They are all equally important for global business expansion, but it is important to know the differences and how to select which one is most appropriate for your project.


Translation is the process of converting content from one language to another, often using a translation company or machine translation service, where technology is used to process large volumes of translation.

This is usually a direct translation, meaning the content remains exactly the same when translated into each new language. This often does not account for changes to web designs, layouts or graphics, where the translation generates longer or shorter passages of text.

In some cases, machine translation can be used for bulk translation; however post editing is often needed for the nuances of meaning to ensure there are no inaccuracies in context, grammar and phrasing.

Translation is great to aid customer experience, but direct translation may not be enough to build a strong relationship in a new language. If not done properly, it can negatively affect the experience your customer has with your website, and may lead potential customers to look elsewhere. It can also cheapen the brand experience and appear to be inconsistent. This is where localization comes in.


Localization goes a step further than translation. The process of localization is required to effectively communicate, taking the nuances of language, phrases and syntax into consideration. It is more than just translating text and involves the process of adapting your website, app or other services to suit specific languages and cultural preferences. Localization focuses on adjusting your context, graphics, presentation and phrasing to suit the culture, language and market you are translating for. So much more than just words.

Localization is best used for aspects of your business such as your website, app, and software, where the subject matter may be slightly more complex or focused on the detail of the service. It is highly recommended to invest in a professional localization service that can assist you in perfecting your content and ensure that your message is consistent.


Transcreation goes one step further. Taking into consideration even deeper aspects of language localization, transcreation is the process of maintaining the emotion and consistency of the message whilst recreating the way in which it is presented to best suit the needs of the target language customers. Often the phrases, product descriptions and guidance in one language, is not applicable or does not make sense when localized to another language. Transcreation bridges that gap, by taking the sentiment of the text or graphics and recreating them to suit the new target language and audience.

If not considered, it is possible that your intended message may get lost or be interpreted differently than intended. Transcreation works to carefully customize your message to ensure your communication stays consistent and relevant across all languages.

At thebigword we are committed to connecting global audiences and helping clients expand their presence. We recognize that localization and transcreation are key components in breaking down communication barriers. In a digital and highly competitive marketplace, it is vital to show this depth of understanding and accommodate the language requirements of your target audience.

For more information on our localization services, visit our localization page.