Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Localization Vs. Glocalization

The term “Glocalization” originated in the 80s and was popularized in English by the British sociologist Roland Robertson. Basically, it refers to software and product localization, but it is slightly different.

Translation, localization, globalization, internationalization…There are plenty of terms to describe adapting products and software for foreign markets. Here’s one you may not be familiar with: “Glocalization.”

Put simply, this term was invented in order to emphasize the fact that the globalization of a product is more likely to succeed when the product or service is adapted specifically to each locality or culture in which it is marketed. According to this explanation, glocalization does not differ from localization. However, glocalization can have another meaning: using the Internet to provide what used to be local services on a global scale.

I am not a linguistic expert, but I believe “glocalization” is one of the most grotesque words experts have managed to create. At our company, when a client asks what the difference is between localization and glocalization, we simply answer with: “Localization” is simply adapting the text linguistically, and ‘glocalization’ is also adapting it to a certain country, bearing in mind its political, economic and religious restrictions and rules as well.” 
Clients now are very much used to the word “localization”. Glocalization still has a few years to grow as a word and coexist with localization or just be forgotten and die. Anyhow, I believe it’s better to know the meaning of the word rather than being caught with your pants down by a client when you are asked: “Can you give us your estimate for glocalizing this software?”