Translation Vs. Localization : Is It A Synonym For Translation?

873 Words Mar 10th, 2015 4 Pages
This brings me to my real question: what is localization? Is it a synonym for translation? Is it something more? Or is it something else entirely?
A simple Google search of “translation vs. localization” reveals a variety of responses, but most of them focus on the distinction between literal and dynamic equivalence translations, broadly assigning “translation” to the former, and “localization” the latter. A statement by a translation company claims, “Translation is the word-for-word rendering of source text from one language […] into another... [and] is fairly literal—the source and target-language text should […] essentially be mirror-images of each other,” while “Localization involves translation plus adapting the target-language content to convey the same meaning and connotation in the target culture.” This was my original view, and it also seems to be one espoused by most people in the technology industry. However, given Nida’s and Venuti’s differing views on translation, this definition is clearly inaccurate.
So why is it that books and poems are translated, but games and software are localized? There are certainly some cases where a localization could not be called a translation. Take Super Mario Bros. 2, for example. The version released in the West was in fact a completely different game from the game also titled Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan. In fact, Nintendo thought that the “real” Mario Bros. 2 was too difficult for international audiences, and decided to…

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