Thanks to digital advancements, businesses are no longer limited by geographic barriers. Going international with a product is oftentimes a great solution for escaping inundated markets, but there are many things to consider when expanding overseas. The biggest consideration is if you should focus on localization or globalization strategies. Let’s first dive into the definition of each and then weigh the pros and cons.

businessman hand working with modern technology and digital layeWhat is localization?

Localization involves translating and adapting content to match the language and cultural demands of a specific area. There are many things to consider beyond the translation of language, such as the imagery used to promote products. It’s easy to accidentally offend someone with a poorly thought-out image due to cultural or religious differences.

Another consideration is the nuances of the language in a specific region. Due to a region’s history or proximity to another country, it’s very common for the same language to differ greatly by location.

What is globalization?

Globalization is the process of adapting content to target multiple cultures and locations. This involves a more generic translation of a product to reach a larger audience. Brands that have a strong globalization strategy include Airbnb, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Nike, according to Hubspot.

Globalization vs. Localization

In a perfect world, you would want to employ both globalization and localization strategies for promoting your product. This would allow you to reach the largest clientele possible and also have a personal, high-quality touch. Unfortunately, this is also the priciest option. So, if a business can only do one which should they choose?

The answer is that it’s going to depend on the product. How generic is the product? If it’s easy to understand and useful to all then a globalization strategy is likely best. On the other hand, your product might be more useful to a specific region or demographic of people. If that’s the case, localization is better. A product will resonate better with the locale it’s specifically designed for.

There is a middle ground to consider that includes both approaches but is economically efficient. This approach is to globalize first and then do reactionary localization. By globalizing, businesses can monitor which regions generate interest in their product. This determines where localization efforts would have the greatest returns.

Whether a business employs a globalization or localization strategy, adept translating and cultural knowledge is critical. Contact International Translating Company to learn more about our skilled translating services in more than 230 languages.