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Going Global … Locally!

"...the core element of localization is of course language"

Most readers of this article are familiar with the concepts developed in Thomas Friedman’s seminal work The World Is Flat, where Friedman makes an eloquent case for broad commercial forces driving globalization to make geography and borders less relevant to the way the world works now. In our experience, we do find the world flattening in many areas. In other aspects, often relevant to hoteliers, we observe localization as the trend of note and one that we focus on for both guest-facing and staff-facing technologies. This article explores some of the challenges and opportunities in localizing consumer website content for a global audience.

Localization Defined

For our purposes, the core element of localization is of course language. Whilst most international globetrotters prefer English websites, many other consumers want to interact with a website in the language in which they are most comfortable. Within any given language there are often regional variations: Portuguese is not quite the same in Brazil as in Portugal, and Castilian Spanish varies from Latin American Spanish. Variations in languages written in ideograms (Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and others) are probably the subject of a separate, dedicated article.

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