Localization of the ‘World Wide Web’

Localization of the ‘World Wide Web’

Localization of the web is progressing at full speed. Online marketing and advertising, just like search results in general, are increasingly targeted to specific regions, both linguistic and geographic regions. I moved from The Netherlands to Boston three months ago, and the online experience is simply completely different – not just because the average internet speed is, interestingly enough, significantly slower in the US. When you are visiting another country you can get an idea of the differences, but when you change your country settings in all your accounts, the experience changes even more. Over the next few years more content and advertising will become local, even on the ‘world wide web’. We may be connected in a technological sense, through those mysterious cables on our ocean floors, but time zones, languages, cultural norms, geographic and environmental factors all influence human behavior. A sense of community is more important than ever for many people. Google’s Eric Schmidt wrote in his book ‘The New Digital Age‘ that the web could one day be like air space, where countries actively govern their own web and may get involved in international cyber wars and conflicts of interest. Of course, this is already the case to a large extent. In terms of marketing and customer service, however, this development can only mean that translation and localization will matter more than ever. It is the number one reason that translation is seeing the biggest job growth, according to Careerbuilder. Globalization and localization often go hand-in-hand, however contrary that may seem. Both large cooperations and small businesses need to explore ways to connect with their international...

Breaking the language barrier

New York City teenager Tim Doner speaks more than 20 languages. When he is invited by media outlets to discuss his impressive ability to learn languages, it becomes clear that most people are only interested in hearing Chinese tongue twisters and other ‘exotic’ sounds. Tim’s impressive talk, see below, shows that there are no shortcuts to getting to know other languages and cultures. He also explains that we can translate and carry little travel dictionaries around all we want, but that true meaning is a completely different layer that takes lots of time and effort to...

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