It is 2015 and we cannot imagine our world and lives without globalization. Thanks in large part to the internet’s driving force behind globalization, it’s hard to imagine how many amazing and useful products and services there are that would not be available to everyone otherwise.
You can order the best wine from French wineries and savor it a few days later. You can send flowers to your friend in Croatia without leaving your room in New York.
You can join the rest of the world watching FIFA World Cup in Brazil in real time. Or you can pick up the phone in Italy and talk to your cousin who is in South Africa. Or maybe you are in Moscow right now, craving some sushi?
It is amazing the opportunities we have today because of globalization. Of course in this fast paced world another term has become intrinsically linked with globalization: localization.
To succeed in foreign markets, it takes more than just putting your product or service in a new locale and hoping for the best. You need to ensure your product or service caters to your new audience in a way that engages them on their level. This naturally includes language translation, but just as importantly it also includes various nuances such as religion, etiquette of communication and cultural differences as well. This process of addressing these collective concerns is what is known as ‘localization’.
With all of the need for localization services nowadays, a high demand has been placed on software that will serve the needs in a timely and efficient manner. Normally, this is the point where professional translators would take the reins, since they are adept at translating to suit a particular locale. However, professional translation services can be a costly endeavor, and many individuals and companies might seek out free services like machine translation to lessen the financial burden.
This is especially true for app developers, as more often than not they are individuals or fledgling companies with limited budgets to begin with. Therefore, concepts like translation and localization may be more of an afterthought rather than decidedly planned tactic. However, with all of the innovation out there today, developers should think more about localization early on, and include it in their plans from the start. While creating an application, website or other software, developers should think globally instead of just locally. In today’s market, it is the only way to keep up with competitors and have a fighting chance of succeeding. Despite any financial disparities between small and big businesses that may cause one to think small-scale rather than large-scale, the internet has proven to level the playing field in a big way for small businesses. This is true for translation, in particular.
Just think about the success of Twitter and Facebook, where the translations of their websites were done completely by means of crowdsourcing. While both companies could certainly afford to hire a professional translator to accomplish this task, both ultimately decided to leave it in the hands of their users, since they inherently had both the knowledge of the nuances of their local language, as well as an active engagement in the subject. Taking a cue from this successful endeavor, one such company, Ackuna (www.ackuna.com) was created to give app developers of all kinds a platform to crowdsource the translation of their apps for free to their user base. With over 10,000 active users and new members joining every day, Ackuna aims to make crowdsourcing translation a collaborative process for any and all developers with bilingual speakers around the world.
As innovation ticks on, there will be countless more solutions developed to take on globalization issues within any given industry. As a result, that playing field will become more and more level as global marketing becomes as easy and common place as local advertising.