Global software vs. local mindset
By: Omniage Ltd.-
I recently read that the whole world will be speaking several unified and standardized languages in the not-too-distant future, and that as more new technologies such as machine translation and automation emerge, more companies and products will reduce their need for human interaction.
Do you believe this? Honestly, I don't. What I see today is a world in which more and more cultures and nations are discovering their own identity and uniqueness as a community. Never have more groups around the world united to achieve results hardly imaginable even a decade ago. Millions of NGOs and community-based projects exist worldwide, with the crowd-funding and startup scene rapidly evolving. There are wonderful examples of commonwealth projects such as Translators Without Borders, founded on the basis of care for people and cultures.
Why in a society like this must we lean on technologies to make us all the same? Do we really trust that the more advanced we become in terms of development and high-end software solutions, the less it matters where we come from, what language we speak, and what identifies us as a cultural locale?
For many software companies and startups the answer is clear – the more advanced the world gets, the greater the need for countries and nations to be globally acknowledged as unique. If companies want to draw attention to their products and solutions, they must be strongly focused on how to differentiate what they have to offer in the eyes of their target customer and within the local cultural context where he or she lives. This is a real challenge, because the approach requires talent, resourcefulness, and imagination.
What happens when a regional company has an international software target market? For instance, an Eastern European company selling to the USA and Australia? The blend of cultures and languages is unique, which means different customs, regulations, and concepts are challenged by various scales and population sizes. If a software company aims to make their product international and strives to differentiate from the crowd, a critical factor to consider is the locale-specific infrastructure and methodology of localization and internationalization. Other key challenges those companies must face and find creative approaches to are:
- Dynamically changing in-country diversity: local suppliers living in the target market should be sourced;
- Local competition offering cheaper, but not necessarily superior, services;
- Local regulations that make it difficult to standardize online distribution channels in different languages;
- Global recession and software piracy;
- The software industry’s expansion at a double digit growth rate.
All the above, combined with the tools of globalization and the agile technologies of today will lead to a better and more evenly distributed software market around the globe. As a result we will see a more mature industry and more stable growth rates and software solutions on a broad scale.
Zhana Borisova is an established and recognized professional on the European language industry scene. For more than ten years now she has been helping international language service providers and organizations solve their language issues by managing her language company Omniage and providing exclusive services in the field of localization, translations and content management.
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of GALA.