Normally during this time of year, I would typically find myself blogging about the new year, resolutions, Chinese zodiac signs and general forward looking themes such as how to succeed in the new year. As I write this first blog post of the new year, I begin with a simple question: Does Globalization still matter?
Business schools teach the impact of macro-economics and geo-political influences on businesses, and how to add shareholder value by growing businesses internationally, including cross market reach and leveraging economies of scale globally. My entire professional career has been threaded with the belief that globalization has a positive impact to modern life; ever since I can remember, businesses have seen the global market as the key to success – and China has been the golden egg to crack: Let’s figure out how to reach those billions of people and capture that wallet share – has been the mantra for American marketing strategists over the last 25 years.
2017 - Has that changed?
The translation and localization industry has grown ever so important, as a result of globalization.
- Because we want to reach foreign markets, and earn their wallet share, we need to communicate with those consumers in their own language. The translation industry enables this reach.
- Because we want to leverage foreign resources and talent, we want to harness this human capital and expertise, we need to communicate with those human resources in their own language. The translation industry enables this communication.
- Because we want to add shareholder value, we seek financial incentives for business endeavors, government incentives, and trade agreements and a healthy exchange of information and innovation across borders, we need to flow across borders. The translation industry enables this flow.
Globalization has allowed the world to work together in ways we could not imagine: discovering, sharing and leveraging resources, innovation, intellect, technology – as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Again, I call the question - Has that changed?
This past year we saw several events that begged the question. Two old terms have received increasing popularity in Google’s searches:
A Google search returned about 31,900,000 results for the term - Nationalism:
- patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts; "an early consciousness of nationalism and pride"
- synonyms: patriotism, patriotic sentiment, allegiance/loyalty to one's country, loyalism, nationality; xenophobia, chauvinism, jingoism, flag-waving, isolationism; ethnocentrism, ethnocentricity
- "the resurgence of nationalism in Europe and in other parts of the world"
- an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.
- "playing with right-wing nationalism"
- advocacy of political independence for a particular country.
- about 479,000 results for News items relating to this term on January 30, 2017.
A Google search returned about 5,230,000 results for the term - Protectionism:
- the theory or practice of shielding a country's domestic industries from foreign competition by taxing imports.
- about 298,000 results for News items relating to this term on January 30, 2017.
A Google search returned about 4,860,000 results for the term - Anti-globalization:
- opposition to the increase in the global power and influence of businesses, especially multinational corporations.
- about 99,700 results for News items relating to this term on January 30, 2017.
Maybe these numbers are insignificant, but there seems to be an increase in usage of these terms across mainstream media, as well as global leaders and political leaders. Arguments for and against these ideas have always been on the tongues of economists and intellectuals through the years, but now these ideals are being discussed in layman’s circles.
I can remember when the dot.com era brought casual discussions of the latest tech stocks from Wall street to Main street. You could go anywhere and hear someone talking about a hot tech stock tip in non-traditional places such as a taxi ride, or a bus or metro ride. That’s when I knew we were on the brink of something about to change dramatically.
Now, you can’t turn on the TV or go to a casual gathering without someone talking about one of those 3 words above – nor even mention the politicians or policy pushing those agendas. I won’t get into those details, but I do want to draw parallels to such euphoria among the layman’s circles, as experienced in other momentous times.
Sometimes, we need the bubble to pop to get everyone back to reality. We’ve come a long way forward, and it would be unfathomable to even imagine the world without globalization, or sharing resources and information.
Calling the question – Does Globalization still matter?
The translations and localization industry has opened the doors for globalization for many business, governments and people. We’ve seen what happens when things are lost in translations; and we’ve seen the power of access to information and knowledge, regardless of language and borders.
Just because an ostrich can hide his head in the ground, it doesn’t mean the world stops turning – once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it. While the ideas of protectionism and nationalism can be romantic, the reality is that we are citizens of the world, and part of an ecosystem that we’ve created. Translators are enablers to globalization, and success. Forward is the only way we can proceed together.
Final Call – Does Globalization Still Matter?
Answer - YES. Full Stop.
… Stay tuned for the next Segment of HT Localization Presents Language Translations for Real Life Series…
To receive the new Language Translations for Real Life Series go to HT Localization Blog and subscribe via RSS or email.
This article was written by Rachanee Thevenet, Co-Founder of HT Localization. Rachanee is an Asian-American expat living in Spain with her family. She loves all things international including food, art, literature, culture, languages and people. She has years of professional product marketing expertise and global expansion experience.
HT Localization, LLC. is a worldwide translation & localization agency providing a full range of professional language translation services, including social media localization, marketing translations, website translations, software localization, eLearning materials, documentation translations, etc. With locations in the US, Spain, France, Zambia & Thailand, and coverage across all languages and most industries, HT Localization is well positioned to provide around the globe services for all translation needs.
If you like this segment please share now! Thanks