Best Practices

The Benefits of Localization vs Translation for International Corporations

Basic translation approaches may work for small companies that intend to expand very slowly and in very limited markets. But for expanding corporations maintaining extensive content operations in multiple languages, localization is the only way forward.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min

We live in a world where the key to survival in business is global relevance. Which has business leaders looking deeply into localization vs translation of their products and services.

According to Forrester research, 64% of buyers said they valued localized content when making technology purchases. As such, most large-scale enterprises have been prioritizing localization for years—even hiring localization or translation managers whose main function is to improve content on a global scale. These companies already understand how to take translation to the next level. In other words, they have probably already navigated the logistical and linguistic mistakes and hang-ups that many companies face when beginning to localize.

Many mid-size corporations that are still getting off the ground with localization depend on a decentralized approach to contracting, whereby each team in the organization or each regional outpost contracts with whatever supply chain they prefer. And with no centralized approach to asset management, there is no single repository of approved bilingual terminology, language-specific style guides, and translation memory databases. By making the switch to a comprehensive localization platform, however, they’re able to significantly improve their logistical strategy and their translation results while keeping costs low.

If your company is on the cusp of going global, you’re making big decisions about how to transcreate content across regional and language barriers. Knowing the difference between localization vs. translation may help you prepare to scale efficiently.

Defining Localization vs. Translation

Translation and localization are quite similar in concept. It’s easy to understand how teams might miss the nuance, ending up with sub-par content that doesn’t capture the attention of their global audience.

So, what does localization vs translation mean for your company as it aims to go global?

Translation is taking words from one language and conveying the same idea in another target language. Whether the translation is done word-for-word by a machine translation (MT) service or completed idiomatically by a skilled linguist, the simplest process doesn’t take into account all the other elements of living in a digital world. Document translation touches only words on a page. It can’t encompass the many dimensions of software, app, or web content.

The Benefits of Choosing Localization over Translation

Basic translation approaches may work for small companies that intend to expand very slowly and in very limited markets. But for expanding corporations maintaining extensive content operations in multiple languages, localization is the only way forward.

Localization goes further, deeper, and broader than translation alone. This strategy allows you to:

Target Locales, Not Languages

Spanish is spoken all around the world. Translating an app’s user interface into Spanish may make the text readable to users who speak the language, but the app still comes across differently to users in Buenos Aires, Havana, and Madrid. That’s because translation only converts the words on the screen. It doesn’t address the differing sociolinguistic expectations of global users.

Localization allows you to go deeper by specifying which locale you’re targeting versus which language you’re translating to. Localized content transforms user experience in ways that make it more linguistically, culturally, and functionally relevant. Content layout, currencies, imagery, and idioms may change—all in an effort to make your content feel like it was created from scratch in the target language, specifically for individuals in the target area.

Maintain Digital Functionality

When translating content from a website or app in a word-for-word manner, you’re bound to run into difficulties. English text translated into German can expand anywhere from 50–100% in character length, which could seriously impact the clean design and readability of your fixed-size homepage. Or, if you’re entering an Arabic-speaking market, you’d need to invest in additional internationalization efforts to make your interface toggle smoothly to a right-to-left reading style.

Localization is far more sensitive to the digital functionality of translated content than simple translation is. Through complex file parsing and a comprehensive approach to the digital elements of translation, you maintain full functionality of your assets—no matter which country they’re displaying in.

Transform Entire Content Ecosystems

Most translation providers tackle projects on a quote-by-quote basis. You ship out a document or .xml file, they charge you a standard per-word rate, and you receive a deliverable for each target language. Then, you take that content to in-market reviewers and have your developers implement the updates in production. Of course, it’s rarely that simple due to variables in digital functionality, manual file transfers, translation consistency, and collaborators’ schedules.

With full-scale localization services, you’ll pay to have the entirety of your content (website, app, marketing collateral, media) localized for every one of your target locales on an ongoing basis—for the life of your company. You need your content to evolve continuously. The best localization firms do this automatically, pulling content via API integration as soon as you make changes and replacing it with newly localized, quality-assured content.

Making the Switch to Localization

You may already be working with SLVs and project managers to translate individual projects for your corporation. But if on a monthly basis, you are managing more than 5 translation projects or moving more than 5,000 words through your pipeline, it’s time to consider a higher-powered alternative that encompasses all elements of your content—not just the words.

The quality of your content will differ greatly when it’s adapted through the lens of localization vs translation. It’s true that you may hear the terms used interchangeably by some. But, in effect, after you experience the opportunities possible with locale-specific content and a far more efficient localization process, you’ll never want to go back to simple word-for-word conversions.

Ditch the spreadsheets, the email wrangling, and the behind-the-curtain translation services. Get into localization the right way with a company that can help align your people and processes into one transparent workflow.

Bureau Works’ intuitive software platform provides end-to-end automated localization solutions for corporations. Through powerful CLI/API integration and groundbreaking QA technology, we put our clients in the driver’s seat for ongoing localization of all their assets.

Aaron is the chief marketing officer for Bureau Works. He also loves to tickle the ivories and is a wiz at designing cocktails.

Collaborative translation is a powerful tool for your business if you’re looking to expand to new global markets. By coordinating a team of professionals who work together in real-time, you can quickly deliver high quality translations that resonate with local audiences.

But what if you don't know how to synchronize a large team's efforts? Or are you‌ struggling to find the right software for a well-coordinated translation process? Well, look no further! In this guide, you'll learn all the know-how's of collaborative translation to bring your brand to global audiences.


  1. What is collaborative translation?
  2. Why seamless translation collaboration is important
  3. Best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

What is collaborative translation?

Collaborative translation is when multiple people simultaneously work together to translate content. A collaborative translation process often makes use of specialized tools and software to make sure the translation is quick, accurate, and consistent.

  • Example: Let's say you're a B2B SaaS company looking to translate your marketing materials into a new language to connect with potential clients abroad. Use collaborative translation to bring together translators, developers, and other specialists to translate content into many languages at once.

Your team can use a collaborative translation platform like Redokun to work on projects simultaneously. A coordinated workflow will make sure that your translations use the same terminology and style, improving the quality of the translated product for your target audiences.

Collaborative Translation vs. Crowdsourcing

People often confuse collaborative translation with crowdsourcing and think the two are the same. However, these approaches to translation are different.

Crowdsourcing is when a large group of people contributes translations, often through an open call or invitation by a company or author. Brands can turn to crowdsourcing, community translation, or volunteer translation when they are looking to reduce costs and accelerate the process, especially for large multi-language projects.

In crowdsourced translations, the contributors can be volunteer translators, subject matter experts, or just anonymous individuals online. In other words, you may not know who's worked on the translation and what their qualifications are. It makes crowdsourcing distinct from collaborative translation, where the team would be an established group of professionals you've selected

Why seamless translation collaboration is important

As a busy B2B/B2C marketing manager or project manager, you might ask yourself: Isn't the "divide and conquer" a better strategy when working on a translation or localization project? It seems logical that each project team member, including translators, designers, and editors, works on their tasks separately and step by step.

However, collaborative translation can help your team reap many benefits compared to a traditional approach to translation projects:

Reasons why seamless translation collaboration is important
  • Produce high-quality translations consistently. When your whole team works on a translation project simultaneously on one platform, it's easier to stay in context and keep track of the translation accuracy for every target language. On top of that, your team can conduct agile QA throughout the project cycle.
  • Faster turnaround times. By working together, your team can complete projects faster and more efficiently. Centralization saves a lot of time at every stage of translation. And since your team can work on more than one translation at a time, you can publish your translated content in several new markets at once.
  • Reduced costs. You get to improve efficiency while working with a smaller team of translators. The smaller and more coordinated the team, the less the risk of costly translation errors. It means reduced translation costs and better project budget compliance.
  • Increased flexibility. Collaborative translation allows your team to produce translations into many languages at once and easily make changes to any project document. You can conveniently engage in a feedback loop and guarantee a continuous localization process.
  • Better communication. Collaborative translation effectively brings all members of your localization team together on one platform. It helps you make sure that everyone is working toward the same goals ‌and simplifies overall localization management.

Six best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

To be great at collaborative translation, you need to approach it strategically. Even if you've never used this approach before, you can follow the six steps below to build an efficient collaborative translation workflow. And if you're already familiar with this method, these practices will help you improve the way you collaborate on any translation projects.

Six best practices for collaborative translation for your global business success

1. Work out a detailed project plan

Before you start working on translations together, you need a clear-cut project plan. You should first identify the following items.

  • Project timeline: Define crucial deadlines, project milestones, and the overall project duration.
  • Translation volume and key deliverables: Calculate the general word count, and determine the workload for every language pair if you translate into multiple languages.
  • Project budget: Keep in mind possible added and hidden translation costs.
  • Project team: Define what kind of specialists you need: translators, editors, proofreaders, etc. Will you need to find external translators? Consider all your HR needs in advance.
  • Your approach to the translation process: How much do you want to rely on machine translation? At what point will you edit translated strings? Answer all these questions before you go on.
  • Quality assurance protocol: Establish an efficient QA procedure for all the language pairs you're working on.

It may sound like a handful but the more detailed the plan, the more streamlined the translations will be down the road. Besides, you can already use Redokun to boost this stage of the localization process!

Redokun is a translation management system you can use to automate, coordinate, and optimize your translation processes from content creation to publication.

Redokun simplifies your project planning. In particular, you can use the tool to:

  • Monitor your ongoing translations easily. Keep track of all of your translation files and projects across multiple languages in one space, and check their progress at a glance.
Redokun Document Detail Page
  • Meet deadlines with digest emails. Redokun will send you daily or weekly email digests to update you on the progress of translations. From there, you can initiate one-click reminders to your translators who are potentially falling behind schedule.
  • Making budget planning easier. Redokun has a transparent, scalable pricing structure that will cover exactly the volume of work your project needs.
Redokun is an easy-to-use tool that requires no onboarding. Your team can start using all the system’s features right away. During your project planning stage, you won’t need to factor in a lengthy training period to introduce team members to the tool.

2. Divide tasks and assign responsibilities the smart way

Good collaboration is impossible without a well-planned distribution and organization of roles and tasks. Ensure that every team member is on the same page and understands their respective responsibilities.

For example, the project managers should divide ‌translation tasks among translation team members according to their language proficiency, area of expertise, or subject matter knowledge.
  • On Redokun, you can invite translators to work on different language pairs and content types depending on their skills. All you need to do is enter the translator's email. The software will send them an email invitation and let you know once they've started translating the file.
  • You can also invite several translators to work on one document.
How to invite translators to Redokun

To maximize the efficiency of project management and task division, establish a clear structure of your workflow. Make sure all your pages, files, and folders are well organized and team members know where to find necessary resources for their respective tasks. A centralized, cloud-based storage for all your documents is a must.

  • Redokun is a cloud-based software that makes file management easy. You can create folders and customize permission settings for multiple users for better organization. No more need to look for spreadsheets and lost documents scattered around different digital locations.
  • Don't forget to make the most of the Reporting Dashboard. It shows you the status of the translation project and helps you see how users distribute tasks (for example, what methods they use to translate different content segments).
Redokun Dashboard with translation statistics

3. Enhance the collaborative translation process with clear communication

It's important to have open communication channels among all team members in your translation project, including internal and external translators. For a successful collaboration effort, you need a shared communication space to:

  • Conduct regular check-ins.
  • Discuss translation options and other aspects of the working process.
  • Update and adjust requirements and guidelines.
  • Maintain feedback loops.
It's up to you to choose between email, messengers, or tools like Google Drive or Slack to keep your collboarative operations flowing. However, using multiple channels for different aspects of the project can get messy. It's harder to manage your team and make sure all collaborators are up to date on the ongoing translation tasks.

You can avoid these potential problems by centralizing all your communications and project management. With translation software like Redokun, you can manage, translate, communicate, and collaborate — all in one place.

  • Translate content in context. Your translators or editors can use page previews in Web Editor to understand the context of the text while working on it.
  • Work together in real-time. Use Redokun as a full-scale collaborative translation platform. It enables real-time cooperation among your team members, improving efficiency and reducing communication errors.
  • Use comments, mentions, and notifications to exchange feedback quickly. Redokun's Web Editor is a convenient place to stay in touch and discuss your translation progress every step of the way.
Collaboration feature in Redokun
  • Create a hybrid workflow. Work with your in-house teams or external translators to suit different localization project formats and scalability needs.

4. Use machine translation and translation memory tools

Computer-assisted translation tools are a great addition to human translation. Machine translation (MT) helps your collaborators speed up the localization process by automating translation. Of course, it doesn't have the quality of a human professional translation — it’s more like a helping hand that's always there to facilitate the translation of complex phrases or new terms.

  • Redokun is integrated with two Machine Translation tools: Google Translate and DeepL. Translation suggestions by these two tools pop up right below where the translator should key in the translation, as shown here.

To enhance collaboration even further, consider using translation memory tools. They ensure consistency and save translation software users a lot of time.

Translation memory (TM) is a translation technology that stores previously translated sentences or phrases as segments and creates a unique database for your localization projects. You can reuse your translation to increase efficiency and consistency in ongoing and future translations.

With Redokun as your collaborative translation platform, you can leverage TM to:

  • Consistently translate any repeated word, phrase, or sentence across different language pairs and documents. It's especially important for translating technical terms, marketing slogans, CTAs, and other catchphrases. Translation memory helps you stay consistent in your marketing messaging.
  • Pre-translate your entire documents. Combine TM matches from your previous translations with Machine Translation to get a fully pre-translated document even before your team gets to work.
  • Manage your translation memory database. Import and customize your TM database to further improve translation quality and consistency.
”The speed of translation is quite impressive in that it doesn’t take [much time], maybe a couple of minutes when you translate from English to eight markets. I think that’s what I’m most impressed by.”

Read more about how Kenni and the marketing team at Rockfon increased their translation productivity by 70% using translation memories and other Redokun features

5. Use glossaries and style guides

Glossaries and style guides are valuable resources your team can use for reliable reference.

A glossary is a list of terms and their corresponding translations that are specific to a company or industry.

A style guide outlines the preferred tone, voice, and style for a company's marketing materials across markets and languages.

Your collaborators can refer to these resources when they’re not sure about a translation. For example is when they're deciding how to translate a company abbreviation, whether to the Oxford comma, or choosing the right tone to address customers, etc. No more ambiguity about linguistic, stylistic, and cultural aspects of your translations.

  • Use Redokun's glossary feature to create a glossary and style guide that outlines rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, and tone specific to your project.
Redokun glossary feature preview

6. Continuously review and revise

A key benefit of a collaborative translation platform is the ability to review and revise translations in an agile and efficient manner. By involving multiple specialists in the process of editing and QA, you can guarantee accuracy and consistency in the translated content at every stage of the project.

To implement effective review and revision procedures in your collaborative translation projects, it is important to:

  • Plan for review and revision in advance. Identify who will be responsible, set the timeline, and use specific tools.
  • Consider involving in-country reviewers who are familiar with the local market and culture to ensure that the translations are accurate and appropriate for the target audience.
  • Perform regular QA checks. They should include consistency in terminology and formatting, and verify that the translations are free from grammatical errors and typos.
Pro-tip: Ever experienced the headache of having to update a translation that’s already 70% done when there is a last-minute change to the source document?

With Redokun’s revision feature, you don’t have to spend hours poring over Excel sheets and comparing files to spot the places where new words have been added or sentences have been changed. Just upload the latest document version and the system will identify new text that needs translating — saving your team’s time and effort while keeping previous translations intact.


Collaborative translation is an excellent approach if you want to improve the consistency of your translations, reduce costs, and establish a strong presence in global markets.

The key to seamless collaboration is a combination of careful planning, role distribution, agile QA, and smart use of translation software.

Make Redokun part of your collaborative translation efforts and enhance the pace of your global business growth‌. Start your 14-day free trial today and benefit from a quicker and more streamlined translation workflow.

Till next time,


Gabriel Fairman
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