Localization industry terms: Decoding the terminology

Localization is a field dedicated to bridging linguistic and cultural gaps to ensure that content resonates with diverse audiences worldwide. As a sector that operates at the intersection of language, technology, and culture, it comes as no surprise that the localization industry boasts a rich lexicon of specialized terms and concepts.

Whether you’re a seasoned localization professional seeking to deepen your understanding or a newcomer eager to grasp the essentials, our exploration of localization industry terms promises to be enlightening.


The design and development of products or content in a way that makes them easy to localize for different regions and languages.

Read more: Localization vs internationalization: Decoding the differences


The process of adapting content, such as software, websites, or marketing materials, to a specific cultural, linguistic, and regional context.

Read more: Software localization: A comprehensive guide

Continuous localization

A practice where localization is an ongoing, iterative process rather than a one-time effort, often used in agile development.

Translation management system

A software solution, such as POEditor, designed to streamline and centralize the translation and localization process, facilitating the efficient management of multilingual content, translation workflows, and collaboration.

Application Programming Interface

A set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate and interact with each other, enabling data and functionality to be shared seamlessly.

Suggested read: Automating your localization process with POEditor API

Agile localization

A dynamic and iterative approach to adapting content for international audiences that prioritizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement throughout the translation and cultural adaptation process.

Audio localization

Adapting spoken content, such as voiceovers and dialogues, for different languages and regions.

Country/region codes

Standardized codes (e.g., ISO codes) used to identify specific countries or regions for localization purposes.

Content Management System

A software platform used to manage and deliver digital content, often used in website localization.

Suggested read: How to translate WordPress themes and plugins

CAT tool

Software that aids translators in their work by providing features like translation memory, terminology management, and workflow automation.


Adapting content to ensure it is culturally appropriate for the target audience, considering customs, beliefs, and cultural sensitivities.

Crowdsourcing translation

Enlisting a community of volunteers or users to contribute translations and localization efforts.

Suggested read: How to crowdsource translations

CAT tool Integration

The ability of computer-assisted translation tools to work seamlessly with other software and systems, such as content management systems.

Concordance search

A text analysis technique that identifies and displays every occurrence of a specific word or phrase within a larger body of text, providing context and facilitating linguistic or content analysis.

Contextual adaptation

Adapting content based on the context in which it will be used, such as adjusting product names for a specific market.

Do Not Translate

DNT is an instruction or flag used in localization and translation processes to indicate that a specific word or phrase should remain in its original language and not be translated.


Replacing the original audio with a translated version in a different language, commonly used in movies and TV shows.

Dubbing script

The translated script used for dubbing audio or video content.

File format compatibility

Ensuring that content can be processed and displayed correctly in the target language without technical issues.


The strategy of designing products and content to be globally accessible and relevant from the outset.

Read more: Globalization vs localization: Two paths, one destination


The process of identifying a user’s geographical location, often used to provide localized content or services.


A list of key terms and their translations or definitions used to ensure consistency in translations.

Read more: Software localization: why you need a glossary

Global content strategy

A strategic approach to creating and managing content that is designed for global reach and effectiveness.

ISO 17100

An international standard for translation services, which sets requirements for the processes, resources, and quality of translation services.

In-country review

A review of localized content by native speakers of the target language and region to ensure cultural appropriateness and accuracy.


A specific geographical or cultural region for which content is localized.


Ensuring that localized content complies with local laws and regulations.

Localization testing

The process of evaluating a software or product to ensure that it functions correctly and meets cultural, linguistic, and regional requirements for a specific target market or locale.

Language Service Provider

A company or agency that specializes in providing translation and localization services.

Read more: Localization services: an overview

Localization Project Manager

A professional responsible for overseeing the entire localization process, including coordination, scheduling, and quality assurance.

Read more: Mastering localization projects: The role of a localization project manager

Localization engineering

The technical aspects of preparing software or websites for localization, including encoding, scripting, and layout adjustments.

Linguistic asset

Any resource used in the localization process, including translation memories, glossaries, and style guides.

Language variant

Different versions of a language that can vary significantly in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, such as British English vs. American English.

Linguistic fuzziness

Dealing with language variations and ambiguities, especially in contexts where a single word or phrase can have multiple meanings.

Locale-specific content

Content that is tailored not only to a specific language but also to regional variations within that language, such as Spanish for Latin America vs. Spain.

Localizability testing

Assessing the readiness of a product or content for localization before the actual localization process begins.

Machine Translation

The use of automated software, like Google Translate, to generate translations without human involvement.

Read more: Machine translation in app and website localization

Multilingual SEO

Optimizing content for search engines in multiple languages and regions.

Read more: Multilingual SEO: unlocking global opportunities

Machine Translation post-editing

The process of reviewing and improving machine-translated content to meet quality standards.

Machine Translation evaluation metrics

Methods for measuring the quality of machine-translated content, including BLEU, METEOR, and TER.

Natural Language Processing

A field of artificial intelligence focused on enabling computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language, allowing them to interact with and process text and speech data.


A testing technique that simulates the localization process by replacing characters with placeholders to identify potential issues early in development.

Quality Assurance

The process of reviewing and testing localized content to ensure accuracy, functionality, and cultural appropriateness.

Suggested read: QA Checks


Or RTL, refers to the writing direction in certain languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, where text is read from right to left rather than the left-to-right direction common in many other languages.

Regional content preferences

Tailoring content to align with regional preferences, such as color choices, images, and icons.

Richtext localization

Adapting content that contains formatting (e.g., bold, italics, bullet points) to ensure it remains consistent and legible in the target language.


A single unit of text, often a sentence or phrase, in the source content.

Software Development Kit

A set of tools, libraries, and documentation that helps developers create software applications for a specific platform, operating system, or framework.


Providing text captions in the target language for audio or video content, often used for films and television.

Source language

The original language of the content to be localized.

Subtitle synchronization

Ensuring that subtitles match the timing of spoken words or actions in audio or video content.


The conversion of content from one language to another while maintaining its meaning and context.


Adapting content not just through translation, but also by considering cultural nuances, idioms, and creativity to ensure it resonates with the target audience.

Translation Memory

A database that stores previously translated segments of text for reuse, helping to maintain consistency across translations.

Read more: What is Translation Memory

Target language

The language into which the content will be translated.


A database containing terminology and definitions for use in translation and localization.

Terminology management

The practice of consistently managing and using specific terms and phrases in translations.

Time zone localization

Adapting content to display dates, times, and events in accordance with the target audience’s time zone.

User Interface localization

Adapting the user interface of software or applications to suit the language and cultural preferences of users.

XML Localization Interchange File Format

A standardized XML format for exchanging localization data between different tools and systems.

Final thoughts

Localization is more than just words; it’s the keystone to unlocking the doors of global communication, commerce, and collaboration. What started as a simple concept of translating content has blossomed into a complex and multifaceted domain. Our understanding of these localization industry terms serve as a guiding light, leading us towards a world where global communication is as effortless as the exchange of ideas.