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Lost in (Localization vs.) Translation

Image courtesy of morgueFile

You may have noticed that we use the words “Localization” and “Translation” to describe certain processes within the GeoRiot Service. There’s a crucial difference between the two, so we figured it would be a good idea to explain each.

Localization refers to the action of taking the base link you’ve used to build a GeoRiot URL and adjusting the domain, country code or store value to ensure that international users end up at to the storefront that is most appropriate for them. This is all that is needed when an item’s unique identifier exists in both the base country and the target country , which is often the situation for indie books and apps.  “Localization” also refers to the process of using the correct affiliate tracking parameters for a specific country.

Translation, on the other hand, refers to the process of completely breaking down a link and recreating it for an international user.  This is necessary when the ID of the item doesn’t exist in the target storefront. This doesn’t necessarily mean the item doesn’t exist, but rather that the ID isn’t the same across storefronts and requires some back end magic to find the item (or closest match) so that we can direct the user to the most appropriate destination. This is done on top of localization, so that your traffic is not only routed to the correct storefront but also the most appropriate item to increase the likelihood of conversions.

With an analogy to foreign languages, a word that is “localized” would be one with the same spelling in two languages but is pronounced differently for each. Alternatively, a “translation” would be different words in the respective languages with the same meaning. Translating that analogy to links, let’s take the Tetris app by Electronic Arts from the App Store:


Tetris (US) –
Tetris (CA) –
Tetris (UK) –

Take a look at the two-letter country code and ID of each link. You’ll notice that the US and Canada links have the exact same ID, so if your base country is the US and a Canadian user clicks on your link, the only process that takes place is the localization to send them to the appropriate app in the Canadian storefront.

However, if you take that same app, but substitute in a user from the UK, you can see that the ID does not match. In this case, GeoRiot does it’s magic to find the appropriate ID in the UK storefront and once it finds it, rebuilds the link with the new ID and relevant affiliate tracking parameters. The user is then sent to the UK storefront and all this typically happens within a tenth of a second.

The end result is the same for each user, who is oblivious to the heavy lifting behind the scenes. The end result is a happy user who is more likely to purchase and earn you commissions.

Curious to find out more, or why this matters for your traffic? Hit us up and we’d be happy to explain.