person with a globe in front of her face
PHOTO: Slava Bowman

Multinational companies have capitalized on the globalization phenomenon by expanding to several foreign markets over the last two decades. For many of these companies, globalization has been the primary focus and source of profit. But that's certainly not the case for all businesses.

In the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic, many companies have faced challenges regarding taxation, regulation of certain industries, supply chains and trade routes, hampering the previous globalization efforts. 

Given these challenges, many companies have looked inward, focusing on domestic manufacturing and expansion efforts. This forced shift away from global markets and towards local ones makes people wonder if localization is the new globalization? We spoke to localization experts to discover how organizations can adapt their tactics to thrive in this period of localization. 

What Is Localization?

Localization is the process of adapting products, services and content to appeal to local users. For many companies, this refers to focusing on translating content so that audiences in different countries can understand exactly what was said. Localization, therefore, acts as a form of personalization for users, providing them with content that is tailored to their specific needs. 

However, it goes much deeper than just translating content. According to Nedelina Payaneva, Digital Marketing Specialist at London, England-based translation and localization company, Asian Absolute, “localization goes beyond translating languages, though. It also refers to localizing culturally appropriate images, symbols, and hand gestures, spelling, and other locale-specific components.”

How Does Globalization Differ From Localization?

For companies seeking to embrace localization, it’s essential to understand the differences between globalization and localization. When focusing on globalization, some of the questions you might consider would include the support teams necessary to expand to different countries. As Nikita Agarwal, Director of Bangalore, India-based Milestone Localization, explains, this might mean considering the languages or time zones where your team is present and if you have the resources to achieve globalization. 

Also, added Payaneva, you will need “to narrow down the markets which are most viable for what you offer. Market size, cost efficiency, labor and resource supply, and legal regulation must also be considered.” 

On the other hand, when the company is focused on localization, there will likely be less research required to understand what’s necessary. Still, these factors are just as important when working with local markets. So if companies are meant to embrace localization, what are the benefits they can count on? 

More Business Opportunities

Localization, whether by focusing on local resources or adapting content to suit different markets, provides plenty of revenue growth opportunities and improves customer relationships. For larger organizations, the appeal of personalized content can make the difference between customers choosing them or their competitors. Also, focusing on local resources provides an opportunity to build better relationships and strengthen regional ties to help build brands. 

Also worth considering is that in the last year, eCommerce has grown exponentially. For brands selling to worldwide markets, adapting their content and products to fit their customers’ languages and culture can encourage them to make a purchase. Plus, given the disruption to local supply chains and markets, local markets can provide cheaper manufacturing costs and opportunities at this time for companies hoping to keep up with demand.

Tools to Improve Localization

Localization could become the next greatest trend that businesses adopt to reach the next level, even if a focus on globalization returns in the coming years. However, to capitalize on localization, here are some tips that our experts recommended.

Hire the Right People

The most critical resources for getting localization efforts right, are the people you hire. “Localization needs to be done with human input (from someone who understands the language and culture),” says Agarwal. Even if you have the most expensive tools at your disposal, you will still need to rely on local talent to make sure you get your message across, whether that means hiring a person internally or outsourcing.

CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) and TMS (Translation Management System) Software

CAT and TMS are software tools that can help organizations to translate content more efficiently. Just like the marketing software tools like CMS and analytics used by companies, these CAT and TMS tools can streamline and automate parts of the localization process and become embedded in organizational workflows. 

Conclusion

Major companies have benefited from globalization over the years, but we seem set to enter a period where organizations focus on appealing to smaller local markets. As companies seek to maximize their potential in this period, having access to the right tools can be crucial.