Glocalization; Think Global, Act Local

A concept that is becoming increasingly important is glocalization. Still, a lot of people don’t know what glocalization is.

Glocalization in translationBusinesses should think global, and act local. If you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. What works in one country might not work in another. Companies don’t have just one marketing concept that works globally.

Glocalization means that a product or service is distributed worldwide, but tailored or adapted to local preferences. This might have to do with culture, religion, lifestyle or other reasons that might affect the efficiency of a product or service.

For example, if you look at McDonald’s, you know that they have a strong global position, with more than 34,000 restaurants. Even McDonald’s needs to adapt its menus to local wishes and preferences. Their hamburgers and fries are very popular, although in some countries the menus look completely different. In Morocco and other Islamic countries, McDonald’s has localized their menu by serving halal burgers.

Recently, a friend told me that when his dad came to visit from Indonesia, they went to McDonald’s in Amsterdam. He ordered a meal with rice; not knowing that in the Netherlands McDonald’s does not serve rice.

At Textcase, we focus on internationalization and we localize texts, making them appropriate for readers in other countries. When translating, we think global, but we localize stories for readers in other countries.

By localizing texts, a lot of misinterpretations are prevented. When a global leader in household appliances, Electrolux, used the slogan ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux’, for their range of vacuum cleaners they probably haven’t thought about glocalization.

Businesses must lose the one-size-fits-all approach and implement glocalization. What are your experiences with ‘glocalization’, or ‘lack of glocalization’?

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