Latest update date: February 09, 06

If you're new to the localization industry, you probably don't know all of the terms commonly used in this business, and it's no surprise that they give you a headache (Well, trust us, we do. I was there). So to get you started faster, shall we give you an overview of some of the most used terms in the localization business?

Things to Know About Localization

Cost of Computer Assisted Translation (CAT Tools)

Computer-aided translation tools ( CAT . tool ) is a program designed specifically for translators and linguists in document translation. CAT tools aim to help translators improve the productivity and quality of their translations. CAT Tools allows translators and linguists to edit, manage and archive previous translations. Trados, MemQ, XTM or SmartCat to name a few are some of the most popular CAT tools indispensable for professional linguists.

Translation Memory (TM)

Translation Memory (TM) stores source sentences and their translations for previous projects so that translators will later use these data for future projects. Translation memory can be a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, or a title.

Translation memory offers various benefits to translators:

(1) Translators never have to translate the same sentence twice, which reduces translation time;

(2) CAT Tools stores all previous translations to maintain the consistency of future projects being translated. Overall, the translation quality is generally improved;

(3) Translators can share assets with other translators while working on high volume projects.

Note: What's the difference between Creative Translation and Language Localization?

Context Combination (or Combination)

Context matching is when the context and meaning of a sentence match 100% of previous translations in Translation Memory. In other words, it is not only the sentences that have been translated before, but the CAT tools can also recognize the sentences around it. These are usually headers, tables, and headers. With Contextual Matching sentences, translators can use previous translations without changing anything.

100% combination

A sentence with the same word and format as the translated sentence is called 100% Match. Sentence contexts may vary, so you need to double check your 100% Match sentences to avoid some surprising differences. But most of the time, translators don't have to re-translate that TU.


It is called matching when some words in the sentence match the previous translations. Translators have to translate these new words. Fuzzy match is mainly divided into 4 groups: Accurate 95-99%, Accurate 85-94%, Accurate 75-84% and Accuracy 50-74%.

Note: The Difference Between: Marketing Translation, Localization and Creative Translation


A termbase (TB), which is a searchable database or glossary integrated into CAT Tools. To some extent, it is similar to a dictionary. It can store a single word or a short phrase for use. While Translation Memory restores all word types, Termbase focuses only on terms.

In other words, a termbase is a special type of Translation Memory. A termbase also contains reference notes and rules of use. When translating, the base term suggests to you what a word or phrase, say, brand name or product-specific term should translate correctly.

Machine translation

Machine translation is a tool or software that performs all the automatic translation tasks from one language to another. No human involvement in the translation process is necessary. The machine does it all for you. Google Translate, Bing Translator or Yandex Translate to name a few are translations that millions of people are using.

Note: Machine Translation Software And What You Need To Know


Internationalization refers to the technical process of planning and implementing products and services to adapt to new languages ​​and cultures. This process ensures your products can be adapted to new languages ​​without changing the source code.

Creating plugs that fit into new electrical outlets or allowing space in the user interface for languages ​​that require more characters are some examples of internationalization. In short, internationalization can be seen as a preparatory step for translation and localization.


Localization is a step further than translation. Besides translating words to ensure the accuracy of meaning, localization specialists also make changes to layout, images, time format, etc. to meet the target countries Culture, politics, etc. political, legal, and regulatory requirements. In summary, localization includes translation and cultural adaptation.

Note: Neural Machine Translation Analysis


Desktop Publishing (or DTP) is the process of using DTP and software to place text and graphics (including tables, charts, images, etc.) according to certain layout and spelling rules. DTP gives translated and localized documents a flawless, eye-catching, and ready-to-publish look.

Text editing

Proofreading is the process of taking advantage of both translators and machine translators to ensure high-quality translations. Machine translation cannot provide good quality because the machine cannot understand the general context of the document. Therefore, after machine translation, the documents will be edited by professional human linguists to give the best results in a short time.

Note: 05 Reasons You Should Translate And Localize Indian

The Difference Between Translation And Localization

The world of language services can be very confusing when it comes to language jargon. We all know what translation is, but then there is another term called localization. What does it mean? And what is the difference between translation and localization? Trust me, you're not the only one confused. These are the questions we get from our customers all the time.

In this post, we will discuss the meanings of these two terms and how to tell the difference between them.

What is translation?

Translation is the process of converting words from one language to another so that the target audience can understand their meaning. Translations do not make major changes in content or images.

In fact, it converts word by word and preserves the message and layout of the source file. It sounds simple, but to create a reliable translation, the involvement of highly qualified professional translators is essential. 

There are 3 main levels of translation:

  • The basic level is Translation Only (or TO) where your document is translated and self-reviewed by a translator.
  • Level 2 and always the most chosen by customers is Translate + Edit (or we like to call it TE). Your content will be translated by one translator and revised by a second editor.
  • Level 3 is more advanced: Translation + Editing + Proofreading (called TEP) is the highest level of translation. After being translated and reviewed by a translator and an editor respectively, your documents will be processed by the 3rd and 4th re-editing.

What is localization?

Localization is a step further than translation. It is the process of adapting your content to the cultural and social norms of the target country. The ultimate aim of localization is to ensure greater cultural acceptability and engagement from foreign audiences.

Therefore, it does not require an exact word-for-word translation. Translators can make changes to words, images, layout, etc. as long as the meaning of the content remains the same as the source files.

In addition to word translation, the localization process includes converting the following elements:

Layout and design – Most of the time, the length of the target language words is too short or too long for the source languages. The bad news is that it can change the entire layout or design of your material.

Let's take a look at an app's welcome screen below. The first photo is the source design with compelling content and eye-catching fonts. Now, look at the second picture. This software can be accurately translated into translation in translation. Unfortunately, a good translation is sometimes not enough.

As you can see, the translated text is too long and cannot fit the screen, so some characters are missing. It's even worse when it comes to the Korean version in the third picture. Both translation and design are far from OK. Overall, the screen looks cluttered and misses some information. Luckily, this is just a test version of the app. The manufacturers then made changes to the layout and design.

  • Idioms and Expressions – Idioms and expressions in each language show people their unique worldview or sometimes their religious beliefs. Therefore, the meaning of these particular phrases cannot be predicted by the literal definitions of the words it contains.
  • What if you translate God's word in words into a language where people follow Buddhism or Islam? First, the translation won't make sense to your target audience. Second, it can be seen as disrespectful because you don't understand the religion of the country.
  • Color – Culture influences how people perceive the meaning of colors. White can be a symbol of peace, purity and elegance in western countries. But in some Asian countries, white is equivalent to death, bad luck and is often worn at funerals.
  • Units of measure – Each country's metric system may vary, such as chalk and cheese. The US, for example, uses miles as the units for distance while Asian countries like Japan, China or Vietnam use kilometers. If you keep the mile system in Asian language documents, it makes no sense to your target Asian audience.
  • Currency – Price is one of the most important factors that directly affect customers' purchasing decisions. Do you think your customers will take the time to process the numbers to figure out the real price for themselves? Or could they simply leave and find another local supplier?

Date format – 12/06/2019 means December 6 or June 12 to you? If you lived in the US, then you would use month/day But in countries like the UK people use 12/6 to refer to 12 June. Each country has its own date formats: Date / Month / Year, Month / Day / Year or even Year / Month / Day. So don't forget to localize small details like the format of the date.

Local Regulations and Legal Requirements – The laws of the target country can radically change your business strategy, marketing materials, or the way you conduct business. Take Japan as an example.

There is a regulation in Japan that says that if a company describes themselves as #1 or best, they need to take a survey to prove it. Otherwise, your company is giving false facts and violating advertising laws in this country.

So if your tagline currently says something like we are the #1 brand in X country, make sure you do a well integrated survey or modify the tagline before entering the Japanese market Copy.

Translation and localization – Not as different as you think

The gap between translation and localization is not as clear as black and white. Even the simplest translation requires a certain degree of localization. The unit of measure, date format, or idiom is adjusted to match the target language during translation.

Meanwhile, translation is the first step of any localization project. An accurate translation facilitates a smooth localization process in the next step.

To decide how much localization your project needs, don't hesitate to contact a professional localization and translation agency. Because translation and localization is the first step in your efforts to thrive your company.

Whether you are a seasoned expert in international business or looking to expand into new markets, localization is the key to your success. The following 4 key factors can help you handle the translation process like a pro.

4 Elements for Easier Localization

Choosing a Reputable Language Service Provider

A professional translation project requires project management, electronic publishing, file technology, etc. This complexity requires you to choose a reputable and professional service provider.

Vendors will leverage their experience to help you set up a localization strategy. They have the ability to advise you on the target market, the language to support and the main content to be local. That gives you the freedom to focus on your core business.

Translation Style Guide

Many companies choose to use local staff to check their translated documents. This approach is very useful and easily detects timely errors in translations. However, these staff often cannot afford to check for consistency and accuracy in translations. In the long run, this can affect a company's brand and reputation.

Therefore, it is best to choose a professional translation partner company during the localization process. To get the most out of your language service provider, you need to set goals for consistency. In Idichthuat, we help create a translation style guide to define a company's style in multiple languages, as well as key phrases or terms. Thereby helping to maintain the reputation and create trust for customers across the markets.

These instructions are also helpful for translators you work with through a language service provider. Instead of relying on personal preference, your brand can leverage guidelines in the translation and conversion process to create accurate, relevant translations. This saves time, effort and upfront costs.


To further simplify, consider centralizing the translation process using a language service provider. Centralizing resources eliminates communication challenges and reduces the potential for inconsistencies across markets. It also simplifies payments.

These factors are especially important as you expand your market. You can easily decide if you can afford to add new markets to your sales. Centralization also increases accountability, helping you decide whether or not to maintain your chosen MLV. In addition, being streamlined reduces the chance of unnecessary duplication of activities and costs.

Timely Internationalization

Before you start localizing, you need to make sure your product or service is internationalized. Are your business services available in other markets? Do you need to update or redesign your product to make it compatible with other countries and languages? Have you considered the legal consequences of selling in a new market? Idichthuat will help you work through the issues before you start localizing and focus the content in your process.

Have you seen the article about Top 11 Localization Basics Notes You Need To Grip. What information do you need about share translation experience can contact us.

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