Going Global 101: Going Global Glossary

Part 3 in our Going Global Series

Last Updated: August 6, 2019 3:22PM

This is the third in a 10-part blog series on “Going Global.” Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll offer tips and tricks gleaned from 20 years in the business. Today, we’re arming you with the definitions you need to know: your Going Global Glossary.

These days, every company is talking about “going global.” In the past few weeks, we’ve plunged into our Going Global 101 blog series.

If you’ve been following along, you’ve learned what going global really means. And you’ve learned that going global effectively necessitates a thoughtful strategy.

Are you ready to keep going? This week, we’re diving into key terms you need to know before you get started. We’ll refer to these terms often throughout the series. Read on for our Going Global Glossary.

Globalization

Globalization is the formal way to refer to “going global.” As such, it incorporates any business action that has an international scope.

A complete globalization process involves many steps, from researching business regulations in the target market to establishing infrastructure that can carry out a global strategy.

Global Marketing: A Significant Step

Global marketing, which positions products according to the needs of various local markets, is a significant part of the globalization process.

In short, global marketing involves:

  • Researching the preferences and expectations of target markets
  • Adjusting product offerings to suit local tastes and expectations
  • Creating social media strategies that appeal to multiple cultural audiences
  • Releasing marketing materials in local languages
  • … and more.

Global Awareness/Global Citizenship

Every marketer knows you can’t succeed in business unless you know your audience. What’s more, this truth becomes increasingly evident when you begin to globalize. Geopolitical, technological, and even meteorological trends start to affect your value chain as soon as you reach beyond your own national borders.

To cope with these complex and often enigmatic systems, you must think of yourself and your company in terms of global citizenship. It isn’t enough to understand your nationwide community and your company’s role in it. Rather, you have to think about the rest of the world, how you will impact it, and how it will impact you.

In sum: you need to develop global awareness, an understanding of the national, international, and natural systems that affect your business. As you become globally aware, you will begin to see how these systems connect to all aspects of your business and to your stakeholders, and you will learn to make decisions accordingly.

Together, certainly, global awareness and a sense of global citizenship allow you to bring your company onto the international stage.

Internationalization

Internationalization is one of several interconnected processes that make up a company’s efforts to go global. Industry insiders refer to these processes using the acronym GILT:

  • Globalization
  • Internationalization
  • Localization
  • Translation

To learn more about each of these processes, read our previous post on the subject.

Internationalization, sometimes shortened to i18n, is the first sub-process of globalization. It’s the process of designing and positioning products so they adapt easily to multiple markets and languages.

To internationalize, you must above all consider the markets you plan to enter as you develop your product. Your goal is to make your source material as universal as possible. This means, among other things:

  • Removing culturally-specific references and conventions
  • Ensuring that coding accommodates different alphabets and reading directions
  • Designing forms that support different currencies and languages

In sum: if done well, internationalization reduces the cost and time necessary to localize your product or service for each new market.

Localization

As you likely already know, localization is the process of making a product or message resonate with a specific target culture, as if it were created there in the first place. It begins where internationalization leaves off.

Localization must find and adjust all factors that make a message relevant and understandable to a certain culture. These include:

  • Telephone numbers, addresses, dates, and measurements
  • Currency
  • Punctuation and text direction (left to right, right to left, or vertical)
  • Culturally understood symbols (stop signs, checkmarks, color associations, etc.)

Examples of Localization

Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s Pizza have each taken a basic culinary concept and made it appeal to people from different food cultures. For example: in China, Dunkin’ Donuts sells pork floss and seaweed donuts. Similarly, at Domino’s in Asia, diners can order a basic pizza—bread, sauce, and cheese—topped with seafood. Curry is a popular topping in India. Both brands locally source custom ingredients at all locations, which in turn provides further appeal within the market. Each adjusts its menu to appeal to the local appetites and preferences of their buyers.

Translation and Interpretation

Both of these terms are sub-processes of localization. Translation refers to the conversion of written text into another language. Interpretation, on the other hand, refers to the same thing, but in spoken format and in real time.

Translation services happen once per language for a single content piece, so they only require the work of a single person or translation team. Interpretation services, however, often require a company to have a readily available staff of professionals who speak the target languages. In some cases when speakers of two different languages are in two different locations, interpreters may provide over-the-phone interpretation (OPI).

Language Services Provider

Translators and interpreters often work for a language services provider, or LSP—that is, an organization that serves the linguistic needs of a globalized company. These organizations provide various services related to language and translation. For instance:

  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • Localization
  • Market testing
  • Content creation

LSPs may use single-language or multi-language vendors, meaning that their staff may work within one language combination or many. Further, they may offer human-only services or call on the help of machine translators for certain parts of the process.

Multilingual SEO

You’re likely already familiar with the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimization—the process by which you optimize your website to rank highly when target visitors conduct a search on an engine like Google. Multilingual SEO is the same thing, only for multiple languages and locations.

SEO in one language is already complicated; adding additional language layers makes it even more so. In a later post, we’ll help you tackle optimizing your site in every language, for every search engine, everywhere you want to be.

A Final Word

With these terms in your lexicon, you can join in on the discussion of globalization that is changing the business world. Remember, it’s not enough just to know the lingo. You also need to keep up with industry news and best practices and apply what you learn to your work.

Get started today—the world is waiting!

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