Localization – often written as 'l10n' (10 being the number of letters between 'l' and 'n' in the English word) – is the adaptation of content, a product or a service to meet the linguistic, cultural or functional needs of a different market. Usually the more of these needs you adapt for, the more successful the content, product or service will be.
'Translation' and 'localization' are sometimes used synonymously, but 'localization' is a much wider concept, including (for example) changing a left-hand-drive car to a right-hand-drive car for the UK, or replacing an American voiceover artist with an Australian one for an advert.
The aim of localization is usually to preserve the intent of a message or the purpose of a product or service in a variety of different contexts.
Localization can be used to adapt:
- Written or spoken language (through translation or transcreation)
- Imagery (from colours and shapes to people, places and objects)
- Product functionality