While it may go without saying to those with experience in translation and localization, the significance of regional and cultural issues in translation work can not be overstated. As norms and values vary, a range of secondary connotations and associations must be considered in crafting appropriate translations. Some of these considerations include:
These issues are further exacerbated when translations go through multiple languages, such as from English to French to Arabic. Ideally translation tools would provide support for marking literal and non-literal translations, so that further translations could reference the original source for such passages. English is a highly idiomatic language; when viewing subtitled English films, things like jokes and other highly language-dependent exchanges often need to be redone. In films, these exchanges are sometimes color coded to show where the subtitles are not faithful to the original.
Approaches to the above issues manifest in different philosophical schools of thought; some translators prefer to "make it new and relevant" while others prefer to "be faithful to the original". Being faithful can affect the usefulness, as translating idioms like "break a leg" presents a real challenge. These issues are particularly acute with on-line translation and free software localization, because strings are translated independent of a larger context.
Variances in translations can also reflect political agenda. This can be observed in regions like Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia, where translators may obfuscate a translation to make things very specific to their dialect, or nationalist agendas may be enforced by translating institutions.