This category is all about how the translation is going to be used or the end product that’s produced.

Most of these types involve either adapting or processing a completed translation in some way or converting or incorporating it into another program or format. You’ll see that some are very specialised, and complex. It’s another way translation provider refers to the range of services they provide.

Document Translations

What is it?
The translation of documents of all sorts.

Here the translation itself is the end product and needs no further processing beyond standard formatting and layout.

Text Translations

What is it?
A synonym for document translation.

Certified Translations

What is it?
A translation with some form of certification.

Key features

  1. The certification can take many forms. It can be a statement by the translation company, signed and dated, and optionally with their company seal. Or a similar certification by the translator.
  2. The exact format and wording will depend on what clients and authorities require

Official Translations

What is it?

  • Generally used as a synonym for certified translations.
  • Can also refer to the translation of ‘official’ documents issued by the authorities in a foreign country. These will almost always need to be certified.

Software Localisation

What is it?
Adapting software for another language/culture.

Key features

  1. The goal of software localisation is not just to make the program or product available in other languages. It’s also about ensuring the user experience in those languages is as natural and effective as possible.
  2. Translating the user interface, messaging, documentation, etc is a major part of the process.
  3. Also, the key is a customisation process to ensure everything matches the conventions, norms and expectations of the target cultures.
  4. Adjusting time, date and currency formats are examples of simple customisations. Others might involve adapting symbols, graphics, colours and even concepts and ideas.
  5. Localisation is often preceded by internationalisation – a review process to ensure the software is optimally designed to handle other languages.
  6. And it’s almost always followed by thorough testing– to ensure all text is in the correct place and fits the space, and that everything makes sense, functions as intended and is culturally appropriate.
  7. Localisation is often abbreviated to L10N, internationalisation to i18n.

What this means
Software localisation is a specialised kind of translation, and you should always engage a company that specialises in it.

They’ll have the systems, tools, personnel and experience needed to achieve top-quality outcomes for your product.

Game Localisation

What is it?
Adapting games for other languages and markets. It’s a subset of software localisation.

Key features

  1. The goal of game localisation is to provide an engaging and fungaming experience for speakers of other languages.
  2. It involves translating all text and recording any required foreign language audio.
  3. But also adapting anything that would clash with the target culture’s customs, sensibilities and regulations.
  4. For example, content involving alcohol, violence or gambling may either be censored or inappropriate in the target market.
  5. And at a more basic level, anything that makes users feel uncomfortable or awkward will detract from their experience and thus the success of the game in that market.
  6. So, portions of the game may have to be removed, added to or re-worked.
  7. Game localisation involves at least the steps of translationadaptationintegrating the translations and adaptations into the game, and testing.

What this means
Game localisation is a very specialised type of translation best left to those with specific expertise and experience in this area.

Multimedia Localisation

What is it?
Adapting multimedia for other languages and cultures.

Multimedia refers to any material that combines visual, audio and/or interactive elements. So, videos and movies, on-line presentations, e-learning courses, etc.

Key features
Anything a user can see or hear may need localising.

  1. That means the audio and any text appearing on screen or in images and animations.
  2. Plus, it can mean reviewing and adapting the visuals and/or script if these aren’t suitable for the target culture.
  3. The localisation process will typically involve:
  • Translation
  • Modifying the translation for cultural reasons and/or to meet technical requirements
  • Producing  other language versions
  1. Audio output may be voice-overs, dubbing or subtitling.
  2. And the output for visuals can involve re-creating elements, or supplying the translated text for the designers/engineers to incorporate.

What this means
Multimedia localisation projects vary hugely, and it’s essential your translation providers have the specific expertise needed for your materials.

Script Translations

What is it?
Preparing the text of recorded material for recording in other languages.

Key features
There are several issues with script translation.

  1. One is that translations typically end up longer than the original script. So, voicing the translation would take up more space/time on the video than the original language.
  2. Sometimes that space will be available and this will be OK.
  3. But generally, it won’t be. So, the translation has to be edited backuntil it can be comfortably voiced within the time available on the video.
  4. Another challenge is the translation may have to synchronise with specific actions, animations or text on the screen.
  5. Also, some scripts also deal with technical subject areasinvolving specialist technical terminology.
  6. Finally, some scripts may be very culture-specific– featuring humour, customs or activities that won’t work well in another language. Here the script, and sometimes also the associated visuals may need to be adjusted before beginning the translation process.
  7. It goes without saying that a script translation must be done well. If it’s not, there’ll be problems producing good foreign language audio, which will compromise the effectiveness of the video.
  8. Translators typically work from a time-coded transcript. This is the original script marked to show the time available for each section of the translation.

What this means
There are several potential pitfalls in script translations. So, it’s vital your translation provider is practised at this type of translation and able to handle any technical content.

Voice-over and Dubbing Projects

What is it?
Translation and recording of scripts in other languages.

Voice-overs vs dubbing
There is a technical difference.
A voice-over adds a new track to the production, dubbing replaces an existing one.

Key features
These projects involve two parts:
– a script translation (as described above), and
– producing the audio

  1. So, they involve the combined efforts of translators and voice artists.
  2. The task for the voice artist is to produce a high-quality read. That’s one that matches the style, tone and richness of the original.
  3. Often each section of the new audio will need to be the same length as the original.
  4. But sometimes the segments will need to be shorter – for example where the voice-over lags the original by a second or two. This is common in interviews etc, where the original voice is heard initially then drops out.
  5. The most difficult form of dubbing is lip-syncing– where the new audio needs to synchronise with the original speaker’s lip movements, gestures and actions.
  6. Lip-syncing requires an exceptionally skilled voice talent and considerable time spent rehearsing and fine-tuning the translation.

What this means
You need to use experienced professionals every step of the way in this type of project.

  • That’s to ensure firstly that your foreign-language scripts are first class, then that the voicing is of a high professional standard.
  • Anything less will mean your foreign language versions will be way less effective and appealing to your target audience.

Subtitle Translations

What is it?
Producing foreign language captions for sub or surtitles.

Key features

  1. The goal with subtitling is to produce captions that viewers can comfortably read in the time available and still follow what’s happening on the video.
  2. To achieve this, languages have “rules” governing the number of characters per line and the minimum time each subtitle should display.
  3. Sticking to these guidelines is essential if your subtitles are to be effective.
  4. But this is no easy task-it requires simple languageshort words, and a very succinct Translators will spend considerable time mulling over and re-working their translation to get it just right.
  5. Most subtitle translators use specialised software that will output the captions in the format sound engineers need for incorporation into the video.

What this means
As with other specialised types of translation, you should only use translators with specific expertise and experience in subtitling.

Website Localisation

What is it?
The translation and adapting of a relevant content on a website to best suit the target language and culture.

Note: Many providers use the term website translation as a synonym for localisation. Strictly speaking though, translation is just one part of localisation.

Key features

  1. Not all pages on a website may need to be localised – clients should review their content to identify what’s relevant for the other language versions.
  2. Some content may need specialist translators – legal and technical pages for example.
  3. There may also be videos, linked documents, and text or captions in graphics to translate.
  4. Adaptation can mean changing the date, time, currency and number formats, units of measure, etc.
  5. But also, images, colours and even the overall site design and style if these won’t have the desired impact in the target culture.
  6. Translated files can be supplied in a wide range of formats – translators usually coordinate output with the site webmasters.
  7. New language versions are normally thoroughly reviewed and testedbefore going live to confirm everything is displaying correctly, works as intended and is culturally appropriate.

What this means
The first step should be to review your content and identify what needs to be translated. This might lead you to modify some pages for the foreign language versions.

In choosing your translation providers to be sure they can:
– handle any technical or legal content,
– provide your webmaster with the file types they want.

And you should always get your translators to systematically review the foreign language versions before going live.


What is it?

  1. Adapting a message to elicit the same emotional responsein another language and culture.
  2. The translation is all about conveying the message or meaningof a text in another language. But sometimes that message or meaning won’t have the desired effect in the target culture.
  3. This is where transcreation comes in. Transcreation creates a new messagethat will get the desired emotional response in that culture while preserving the style and tone of the original.
  4. So, it’s a sort of creative translation – which is where the word comes from, a combination of ‘translation’ and ‘creation’.
  5. At one level transcreation may be as simple as choosing an appropriate idiom to convey the same intent in the target language – something translators do all the time.
  6. But mostly the term is used to refer to adapting key advertising and marketing Which requires copywriting skills, cultural awareness and excellent knowledge of the target market.

Who does it?
Some translation companies have suitably skilled personnel and offer transcreation services.

Often though it’s done in the target country by specialist copywriters or an advertising or marketing agency – particularly for significant campaigns and to establish a brand in the target marketplace.

What this means

  • Most general marketing and promotional texts won’t need transcreation – they can be handled by a translator with excellent creative writing skills.
  • But slogans, by-lines, advertising copy and branding statements often do.
  • Whether you should opt for a translation company or an in-market agency will depend on the nature and importance of the material, and of course your budget.

Audio Translations

What is it?
Broad meaning: the translation of any type of recorded material into another language.

More commonly: the translation of a foreign language video or audio recording into your own language. So, this is where you want to know and document what a recording says.

Key features

  1. The first challenge with audio translations is it’s often impossible to pick up every word that’s said. That’s because audio quality, speech clarity and speaking speed can all vary enormously.
  2. It’s also a mentally challenging task to listen to audio and translate it directly into another language. It’s easy to miss a word or an aspect of meaning.
  3. So the best practice is to first transcribe the audio (type up exactly what is said in the language it is spoken in), then translate that transcription.
  4. However, this is time-consuming and therefore costly, and there are other optionsif lesser precision is acceptable.

What this means
It’s best to discuss your requirements for this kind of translation with your translation provider. They’ll be able to suggest the best translation process for your needs.

Interviews, product videos, police recordings, social media videos.

Translations with DTP

What is it?
Translation incorporated into graphic design files.

Key features

  1. Graphic design programs are used by professional designers and graphic artists to combine text and images to create brochures, books, posters, packaging, etc.
  2. Translation plus DTP projects involve 3 steps – translationtypesettingoutput.
  3. The typesetting component requires specific expertise and resources – software and fonts, typesetting know-how, an appreciation of foreign language display conventions and aesthetics.

What this means
Make sure your translation company has the required multilingual typesetting/desktop publishing expertise whenever you’re translating a document created in a graphic design program.


Our website uses cookies and thereby collects information about your visit to improve our website (by analyzing), show you Social Media content and relevant advertisements. Please see our page for furher details or agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.

Cookie settings

Below you can choose which kind of cookies you allow on this website. Click on the "Save cookie settings" button to apply your choice.

FunctionalOur website uses functional cookies. These cookies are necessary to let our website work.

AnalyticalOur website uses analytical cookies to make it possible to analyze our website and optimize for the purpose of a.o. the usability.

Social mediaOur website places social media cookies to show you 3rd party content like YouTube and FaceBook. These cookies may track your personal data.

AdvertisingOur website places advertising cookies to show you 3rd party advertisements based on your interests. These cookies may track your personal data.

OtherOur website places 3rd party cookies from other 3rd party services which aren't Analytical, Social media or Advertising.