When I started my career close to 30 years ago, thinking about expanding markets and working with outside region co-workers meant different states in the United States. Regional dialects and customs were considered, but we were doing business mostly in the US using English.
The Internet has made the world a smaller place. Today I work with customers and co-workers globally. It is interesting to see the same individuals at different venues throughout the globe. Yesterday we might have met in India, today in the Bay Area, and tomorrow somewhere in Europe.
Fast communication brings our markets closer together. There could be a new product announcement in Tokyo this morning and it could be available globally within weeks. That means product documentation and websites are localized at light speed. The more markets you can localize your content for, the greater your revenue potential.
I see two ways that Enterprises are able to accomplish this. The first (old school) way is to spend tremendous amounts of resources. Just throw money and people at the problem. The smarter way is to think about globalization at the beginning of the information workflow. Not just the plumbing like XML, Publishing, and CMS deployments, but also about the actual content.
The words you choose have a tremendous impact on how fast and easy it is to globalize your content. By globalize I mean both foreign language translation and even more importantly, understandability. There are phases that we can use that make sense to us, but cannot be translated and understood. A simply example is, “We hit this one out of the park.” It can be translated, but would it mean anything sensible to a person living in Vietnam?
There are tools that can help you manage through reporting, optimize through linguistic engines, and even help with “tone of voice”.
If you are interested in a demonstration of the industry-leading tool in this area, reach out to me at: