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Home > Integrated Marketing Communications > Web Globalization, Web Localization

Web Globalization, Web Localization

What is Web globalization? What is Web localization?

  • Web Globalization is the process and result of making your website and sales & marketing message available in other than the official language(s) of your geographic, linguistic and national locale.
  • Web Localization is the process and result of targeting specific geographic, linguistic, cultural and national locales.

As of 2010, non-English-speakers will comprise 79% of all Internet users. Can you afford to ignore nearly 80% of your potential customers?

Web Globalization: the World Becomes Smaller

Web globalization is a response to the advent of free trade and the lowering of trade barriers. If you are capable of delivering your products and services around the world, then the nearly 80% of the world's Internet users that are not English-speaking may represent a substantial business opportunity for you.

The globalization/localization topic is a complex one, with options for budgets of all sizes. Of course, budgets are expressions of priority. Is your presence in other parts of the World a priority? If so, you need to consider Web globalization and Web localization.
You need a budget, but it's just as important to have a strategy and plan. And even if your market strategy and plan are not geographically or culturally specific, you can begin to explore the potential of markets simply by adding language-specific pages to your ".com" or ".ca" or ".org" site.

Web Localization: the World Isn't as Small as You Think It Is

The global marketplace may be more open, but it is still extremely diverse. Before the world was a global village, it was a collection of smaller communities. In fact, those smaller communities are still very real when it comes to selling your products and services around the world. While Web globalization celebrates the opening of the World to global trade, Web localization recognizes the diversity of communities around the World.

A common language binds a community together. There's an old truism in global trade: If I want to sell to you, I speak your language; If you want to sell to me, you speak my language. English has been the dominant language of global trade for so long that we have forgotten this truism, but current global trade trends will soon make it increasingly relevant.

Is the Argentinean market of great strategic importance to you? Do you actually have feet on the ground there? Then you should consider setting up a Spanish language site with a ".ar" domain extension, and you should consider having that site hosted by an Argentinean ISP. Why? First, because language, domain and locality will all figure into search engine results, so you will fare better with the Argentinean community. Second, because your commitment to a linguistically and culturally local presence reflects your commitment to that market.

Overcoming Cultural Barriers

Communities, by their nature, are distrustful of outsiders. The goal of Web localization is to become an insider.

"Community is a very powerful force. It gives people identity, roots, comfort, a sense of place. Community is about the common good, about the family, about rising above individual needs and thinking of the needs of others. Many people believe that globalization is the enemy of community."

Language is only the most visible aspect of cultural diversity. All good translators know that translation is not simply the substitution of one language for another. Translation requires cultural awareness, and the best way for your organization to be culturally aware is for it to be culturally inclusive. That is, if you have a corporate presence in a country, your local people should have input into your local marketing strategy.

Web globalization and Web localization are important parts of Run-time's integrated marketing communications strategy, because the markets served by Run-time's consultants are global in nature. Call Run-time today to discuss your needs.