Globalization, internationalization and localization seem similar, and some people interchange their use. However, there are subtle differences and variations that make each one different from the other. Knowing what these differences are will help you understand their use, importance, and application. All of the terms are activities that help companies expand their business to foreign markets and see to the proper delivery of their messages to global target audiences.

What is the meaning of globalization?

Globalization is a way to bring together cultures, economies and people from different countries. In business, the term globalization means the methods by which companies become closer to their customers and business partners worldwide. Globalization of business involves strategies to operate in various local markets, which may include changes and innovations in product design, branding, as well as marketing and advertising.

Some examples of globalization include online shops such as Amazon and eBay where you can buy products from different shops around the world. Even other onsite shops like Target are doing global business, sourcing materials from other countries in Asia and Europe.

Large restaurant chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s are well known in many places around the world through globalization. They offer franchises in several countries, allowing other cultures and consumers to taste their food items. Globalization increases logo and brand recognition and awareness.

Athletic wear manufacturers Adidas and Nike are doing the same thing. The two companies’ presence in several countries brings their products closer to their consumers. The way each company approaches their target consumers may differ but globalization increases brand recognition and patronage.

Globalization is beneficial to businesses and consumers. Global inter-connectivity improves the world economy, increasing the GDP of the world. It helps improve internet services as well as global air travel.

What does internationalization mean?

Globalization is the process of making a local business expand its operation overseas, whether the company offers franchises or opens branches on their own. Internationalization and localization are processes that contribute to globalization.

Internationalization is the first phase of the language services process to help a company go global. It is a corporate strategy. It includes making the services and products adapt to local preferences and conditions, so it becomes easier to enter different markets anywhere in the world.

The strategy needs the help of a professional language services provider. An internationalization team is typically made up of people with international experience, technical experts and subject matter experts.

The process involves preparing the product for the international market, without any specific foreign location in mind. IKEA, for example, prepares for internationalization by preparing furniture assembly instructions using only illustrations and diagrams. The instructions do not include any text.

The process becomes more detailed for certain products, such as electronics and software. For data encoding, developers usually use ASCII character codes for texts in many languages in Western Europe. For other languages such as Korean, Hindi, Chinese, and Russian, they use Unicode for character encoding.

For hardware support, designers of various software products consider the fact that some hardware devices are not yet available in some countries.

Developers prepare software applications for multilingual translations by making sure that the user interface has enough space to accommodate text in all the target languages. Some languages have longer translation than others, so the space for text should be enough.

What is the meaning of localization?

Internationalization prepares the product to be user-friendly and adaptable to consumers in various countries.

On the other hand, localization sees to it that a product or service actually adapts to a particular target locale.

Internationalization may or may not involve translation, whereas localization definitely needs translation.

One excellent example is McDonald’s, which has operations in over 100 countries worldwide. Its international expansion is part of globalization. The company develops different menus to adapt to different customs and tastes of various local consumers, which is part of internationalization.

For localization of a McDonald’s franchise, it fits its menu to local tastes. In India, it has restaurants that offer meat-free items. In Israel, they close during the Jewish holidays and Sabbath. They only serve kosher drinks and food in Israel.

Localization sees to it that the product or brand meets the expectations of the local market. Several things are considered during localization. It may include changing the brand slogan so it does not offend local consumers. It may mean changing the menu items they offer, changing the look of the logo to avoid negative perceptions, and communicating with consumers in the language they prefer.

Market and consumer analysis are critical during the localization process. The global brand should appear local. This means that the product should not only be available in the local language. Colors, images, and pictures, typography and text may change to fit the customs, traditions, regulations, and expectations of the target consumers. All client-facing information should be translated into the preferred language.

Moreover, localization considers other elements, such as naming conventions, time and date formats, formats of local addresses and telephone numbers, currency symbols, writing directions, punctuation marks, and system of measurement. It likewise considers electrical symbols, pictograms, and legal requirements.

Do you see the interrelation of the three concepts?

  • Globalization involves the internal preparation of a company when it decides to expand its business operations to other countries.
  • Internationalization is the process of designing the product or service and the company’s internal operations to see to it that it can successfully expand into other markets in other parts of the world.
  • Localization is the adaptation of a product to a chosen market.

You follow each step to see to it that you are fully prepared to enter a new market. You cannot interchange the processes. Planning to enter the global market is a corporate decision. You need expert help during internationalization and localization, but the two projects should be part of the decision to be a global company.

Contact eTranslation Services: Your go-to company when it comes to internationalization and localization

We love creating and adapting various content for different audiences. Whenever you need your message to reach your desired audience, we’re here to help. eTranslation Services has a global network of native speakers who can professionally handle your internationalization and localization needs. Our trained linguists handle over 100 languages and our experienced subject matter experts are from different industry sectors, giving us the flexibility to work with different companies and organizations. Request a quote by sending us an email at [email protected] or calling us at (800) 882-6058 today.