business / Culture / Economy / Marketing / Multilingualism

Web Globalization – Lingua Franca = Web Localization?


As I have started writing in my previous blog post English- the Business World’s Lingua Franca? English is the number one language when it comes to business – but not always. Today I am going to discuss when local languages play a major role in the business world.  I have been mentioning multinational companies in which most communication is held in English but however exactly those multinationals engage reaching foreign markets in their local language. But why?

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Why Web Globalization?

On Accredited Language  Web Globalization  is represented as a business approach of internationalization. The author, Patrick, reveals that Web Globalization is the first step of successfully bringing a business into an other country than of it’s own origin. Moreover the author claims that it is crucial that companies start to make their websites (especially in the online business) visible and accessible to the foreign market they intend to conquer. Patrick explains that

Website globalization involves improving the back- end of a company website—the components that make the website appear on search engines. These components are often overlooked during translation and, as a result, the newly-updated website doesn’t place as well on foreign language searches as it should. Things like meta-descriptions, file names, image labels and even website URLs need to be accounted for during the globalization process. It’s a lot to consider, and organizations doing it for the first time may not be able to get everything.

Why Web Localization?

In contrast to the Web Globalization the most important  step in Web Localization is the translation of language and the communication with the customer online. Valerie Badame describes in it in her recent blog post “Website Localization ROI: Building a Case for Global Marketing” as a “return on investment” which includes the great benefit of MNC reaching “untapped foreign markets”.

According to Richard Carrol, managing director at Keylingo, who published his post “Why Multinational Companies need Web Localization” customers are more willing to consume in their native language than in another language. In this context it is important to consider that depending on the country in question not every potential customer is in command of the English language. With this information it becomes evident that even though English is a business language, it is not always a successful language channel when it comes to B2C Marketing. Richard Carrol has outlined that

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1.       Most people want to read web content in their native language.

Carrol supports this statement by depicting that 9 out of 10 people prefer to read in their native language. In addition to that he states that44% of European Internet users wonder if they are missing information when  browsing websities which are not in their native language.

2.       Search engine optimization is important…everywhere.

In this context Carrol firstly mentions the usage of “certain key words into web content”. He argues that “Those keywords are based on search habits of Internet users and the competitive nature of the Internet landscape.”The most important aspect he explains is that  every country searches in a different manner and that a company’s competition may be different from country to country. The author claims that this is exactly the reason why every website that belongs to a MNC requires an independent Search Engine Optimization.

3.       One should always take a look at local design standards.

Richard Carrol also emphasizes that “having local expertise in your chosen target market will be key in your global success”. One aspect of local expertise is obviously the knowledge of the local language and culture. Moreover a MNC should aim to achieve a well balanced mix of a website’s content, usability and its design.

Web Globalization – Lingua Franca = Web Localization? True!

Taking a closer look at these information we can draw the conclusion that English cannot be an overall Lingua Franca (bridge language) in the (web) globalized world of business . Especially in the online business the local language, design standards  and SEO are important…

to be continued in part 2

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6 thoughts on “Web Globalization – Lingua Franca = Web Localization?

  1. Hey!
    You kept your topic the same overall, so that one can get a further insight to it week by week. You also use links (have a look at the blogroll, there you can put your links so that we have an overview), pictures, quotes, structured subheadlines, … your last post was pretty excellent, but I think this one is just as good!

  2. Hi Viktoria!
    I appreciate how your posts always have a lot of substance. It clearly shows how you did a lot of research for this topic and have come up with many different opinions on it. Good work on the literature review! You also took care to put in many subheadings so your readers don’t get lost.
    However, I can’t always relate with the points you represent – seeing as I very much prefer to read webpages in English rather than my native German. 😉
    Let’s all grab some Vitamin C after class.

  3. Hey Viktoria,
    Lucy and I just read your post. We agreed that this is really nicely done. The graphs you used are interesting and nicely included in the text. Also, we like your beginning, and the interesting combination of last posts. It was a good idea to include links to your sources in the text. Another positive spect we want to mention is your structure (first part, second part, conclusion…). Furthermore, you made great use of reporting verbs.
    On the other hand your post, especially the introduction is a little to long. It is hard to stay focused. It would be interesting to know more about your personal opinion.
    For future research and posts it would be intersesting to look at how english as a world language made it possible to work in other countries? HOw did this lead to internships abroad? You could also look at the job of an interpreter.
    We look forward to read more of your posts!! 🙂

  4. Thanks to both of you for your comments.
    Anna, I see your point that being a German native speaker studying in English and hanging out with international people we are used to getting most of information in English. But imagine one situation: You are online and you want to purchase something which will cost you a bigger amount of money. I could imagine you would feel safer buying it and studying the terms/conditions of the purchase in German. Since it is your mother tongue. And yes it is true more and more people in Germany are reaching an excellent level in English but in some countries such as France, Poland, Russia and Spain the local language is very important and in average the knowledge of English among its population is not allowing them to trust English websites to a high extend. That is why web localization takes place to convince countries in their mother tongue and local design standards that it’s a trustworthy website. But I see your point!

  5. Pingback: Web Localization Part 2: | Bizinga!

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