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Difference Between Globalization, Internationalization, and Localization

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The last 15 years of innovation have shaped several businesses and enterprises while opening doors to new business ventures in the digital world.  When a business owner starts to think about launching in the new market, he needs to appreciate the differences in the new market and adapt accordingly.

Which one matters most; globalization or localization?

How do these terms indicate anything about internationalization?

The world is interconnected more than ever, as communication has become sounder and understanding these concepts will improve the global growth strategy. In addition to proper in-depth planning, understanding the difference between Globalization, Internationalization, and Localization is important to build a loyal customer base.

Before you move forward, you need to identify the target markets and start from scratch. This way you can make your way through the chain to the top.

Localization, globalization, and internationalization sound similar, but they are used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences in each concept and to understand these differences you need to act global, think local.

It's time to explore in detail the three major factors that have a high impact on the business global strategies;

Let’s Begin with Globalization

As technology developed, the world became a global network that transformed the way we communicate with each other. Points of connectivity and accessibility are major pillars of globalization.

Therefore, any activity that brings people, culture, and economies of various countries together is termed as globalization. People are brought closer to each other, and every industry needs to go global when the audience demands it from the brand.

Another way to picture globalization is in the form of the product. Ecommerce sites are popular for the product they sell right? A product that you ordered on Amazon, might have purchased raw material from one country while the assembling of the product might have happened in some other country but the finished product is sold to a third country.

Does it sound complicated? No, but it does mean that your product moved from various counties before reaching the consumer. For instance, consumer electronics usually source their raw material from Asian countries and sell the product to the American market.

And even the food chain brand like McDonald is renowned for its brand; logo and taste equity is yet another example of globalization. 

It is beneficial for both, consumers and companies. The economy boosts, and the GDP increases too, which means it’s profitable in the long run.

However, the term localization and internationalization comes under the banner of globalization. Globalization involves translation for the products to make it compatible with global consumers.

How is Internationalization Different from Globalization?

It's more of a corporate strategy that involves products and services adaptable according to the native market. It possibly takes place with the help of subject matter experts like technical experts and experts with international market knowledge.

To deal with the international market, a company must internationalize.

 A product used by diverse customers (in terms of language) usually undergoes the internationalization process. For instance, IKEA, a Swedish multinational group, designs ready to assemble furniture and other products. They cover major countries all over the world, which means their customer belongs to various ethnic cultures, and not all of them speak English. They internationalize the assembling instructions in a way that doesn’t require translation. Diagrams and illustrations are included with a step by step guide and if required some products do have the translated descriptions under the illustrations.

Internationalization is different for each industry. For example, in data encoding, languages that use non-Latin alphabets like Russian, Hindi, etc will require a larger character encoding (Unicode) rather than ASCII character encoding.

Before the localization process can begin, companies must internationalize beforehand. This process ensures that the target countries will generate profit and discover if doing business in those countries is cost-efficient or not.

Let’s Lean Towards Localization: What makes it Different than Internationalization?

The modification of the product according to the local habitat is what localization is all about. Companies hire professional localization services to change content and align it with the target audience. Some common examples include the conversion of currencies, measuring units, dates, and phone numbers, and so on. Each country follows a specific format and localization adapts according to the country (or region) specific format.

Graphical content including images, GIFs, and videos is localized for a more preferred culture-specific nature to make the content look natural.  Another example is the clothing a person is wearing in stock images, even change in the wardrobe style for the photoshoots is part of the localization. Change of color use or symbols also commutates towards the localization process.

The advertisement industry is more usually inclined towards localization and translation processes. Sometimes transcreation also takes place when a translation is not the perfect choice for the target audience.

Localization usually focuses on aspects like culture, religion, and local preference (creating an emotional attachment with the product and audience).

Is localization different for European and Asian countries?

It depends on the content and socio-cultural differences. One thing to remember is that regulations in Asian countries are far more rigid for foreign enterprises. You may need the help of local partners to consolidate a stronghold in the market.

We are talking about the nations divided by not only culture but also by language. Adopting your product according to any country can be challenging because you have to consider their local values and customs.

You will need to collaborate with expert language partners who understand the difference between globalization, internationalization, and localization. They must be able to represent the brand and make it a success without offending the culture. If you fail to adapt any of the required changes, you can say goodbye to expanding to Asian countries.

Whether you plan to expand a product to multiple regions or want to expand the project in foreign countries, use the right process to make your brand successful.