Localization vs. Translation

April 26, 2016


We often receive emails at Mailfixer that have evidently been put through an electronic translator, a Google Translate or one of its competitors, and then sent to us for a clean-up. Actually, we love the challenge of deciphering the true meaning of the text and working out what the writer is trying to convey. However, translations are limited in that translators (automatic or human) translate words, even sentences and stay true to the text. Yet just because words are translated, they don't necessarily communicate the intended message of the author nor ensure fluency. The text needs to be localized.


Mailfixer enables non-native English speakers to localize their language, making sure that it is culturally appropriate and conveys the intended message, in addition to being grammatically correct and fluently-written.


What does it mean to localize an email or text? Isn’t English just English?


Localization vs. Translation

Let’s say you have a text in Korean that you would like to send to a British colleague. You might hire a translator in order to translate the text into English. Does the thought process flow? Is the most accurate vocabulary being employed? Is it the correct kind of English for your audience? Does it use British spellings and grammatical conventions? Is the text following the proper etiquette for a business dealing in Britain? And most importantly, does the text do just justice to your message? Are you going to get the response you want? All of these issues are addressed by localization.


On the flip side, if an American company would like to communicate with a company in Korea, they may write all of their communications in English but a localization service could help to ensure that there are no cultural faux pas committed and that Korean etiquette and cultural expectations are met.


Isn’t English Just English?

An essential component of our "Become a Mailfixer" form is the question relating to the kind of native English they speak - British or American English. For non-native speakers this might seem like a trivial difference, but for a native speaker it can be crucial. Not only are spelling and grammar rules different in each jargon, but etiquette – especially in business – differs as well. Segmenting our Mailfixers according to American vs. British English, allows us to localize your emails and texts for your specific audience, as we copy edit them to ensure that you make the right impression on your reader.


How Does Mailfixer Address this Issue?

Because Mailfixers live and work around the world, we have a community of people who are familiar not just with English conventions, but with various local cultures as well. This is one of the main reasons that we recruit heavily from expat communities who actually live in and have an understanding of various cultures around the world, making sure that emails and other English texts are able to cross cultural barriers successfully, as well as language barriers.


Is Localization Really Important?

We certainly think so! Mailfixer is not just about basic editing; it is about improving your emails by ensuring that you get the right message across. Localization is like translation but for cultural norms and fluency. They are not mutually exclusive - one requires the other to have maximum effect. By localizing your emails, we help you communicate successfully and get fruitful results.

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