Archive for the 'Internationalization' Category

Nov 29 2006

Global Naming “Gotchas” Trip Up Microsoft and General Motors

…Later this year PC users in Latvia can look forward to a chicken on every disk when Microsoft releases Vista, which in Latvian means “frumpy woman” or “chicken.”

Meanwhile, closer to home, Microsoft media users in Quebec raised their eyebrows last summer when the company announced its new Zune media player. It seems that “Zune” sounds like “zoune,” a dated, cutesy slang term for genitalia in la belle province. Microsoft dismissed the homophony as a nonissue and said that the association of the slang term with its music player was “quite a stretch.”

The bottom line: We assume that Microsoft decided that giving 1.3 million Latvians a good laugh or unduly offending a few million Québecois wasn’t worth sacrificing otherwise good product names.

Microsoft isn’t alone. Last year General Motors rolled out its Buick LaCrosse in Canada, causing sophomoric twitters among those same francophones in Quebec. It seems that “la crosse” is a slang term for self-gratification. Every guy wants his ride to make him feel like a stud, but this name went a bit too far for Buick, whose average buyer is 68 years old.

….Whenever one of our clients decides to take a product or a brand name beyond its home turf, I always recommend that they get help on linguistic, cultural, economic, and legal issues.

…don’t take the chance of being the subject of blog entries and sophomoric twitters for something so easily avoided.

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Jun 04 2005

The Culturally Customized Web Site

My copy of The Culturally Customized Web Site by Nitish Singh and Arun Pereira arrived yesterday from the publisher (Elsevier). The price offered by the publisher when following the link from Nitish Singh’s homepage ($23.96) was lower than the price on which was list ($29.95) and the publisher shipped it gratis. It comes endorsed by John Yunker, author of Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies, who says it’s “a valuable tool for helping executives successfully localize their web site”.

By the way, I found out about this book thanks to’s personalized recommendations. Aside from buying books from, I’ve taken the time to click “I own it” under “RATE THIS ITEM” on the page describing each book I’ve purchased elsewhere. Doing this really put the “personalized” in my personalized recommendations.

Also, Don DePalma’s book, Business Without Borders: A Strategic Guide to Global Marketing is now available in paperback on for only $16.96 (list price for the paperback is $19.95, list for the now-out-of-print hardcover edition was $29.95).

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Apr 28 2005

Support for Small and Medium-Sized Software Enterprises in Brazil

The Multilateral Investment Fund announced today the approval of a $1,300,000 grant for a technical cooperation program to help small and medium-sized software enterprises in Brazil improve their competitiveness by introducing a quality standard in software development geared towards smaller software businesses, internationalization and localization techniques and business linkages.

The program will be in charge of the Association for the Promotion of Brazilian Software Excellence (Softex) and will seek to make software enterprises more competitive in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America. Local counterpart financing provided by Softex will total $1,650,000.

The initiative will benefit 3,000 software companies through the dissemination of project tools. Two hundred and twenty small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive support to improve product quality and 315 specialists will be trained, 40 of them in Argentina and Chile. More than 50 institutions involved in quality enhancement, product internationalization and business partnerships will also benefit, and five export consortia are expected to be generated.

The project will allow to demonstrate and implement, on a significant scale, the merits of the new quality certification system Melhoria de Processo do Software Brasileiro (MPS Br) that was developed by Softex and other institutions. The dissemination of the quality system to two other countries, Argentina and Chile, will set the basis for a region-wide certification system.

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Apr 22 2005

International by Design

Deborah Adler, a 29-year-old graphic designer whose ClearRx prescription-packaging system debuts at Target pharmacies May 1 avoided using the word “once” on the label, since it means “eleven” in Spanish. Prevention, after all, is the best medicine. Better safe than sorry!

Speaking of “International by Design”, look for an e-book bearing the same title by Nancy A. Locke to be pubished in 2005 by Multilingual Computing, Inc. which “will explore the language of design and the ways to ensure it speaks to mulitlingual, multicultural audiences”.

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Jan 28 2005

Local Is Lekker, But So Is Global

Companies that monitor and respond to the growing internationalisation of business cope better with the new challenges of international competition and outperform those [that] do not respond adequately to change. In the manufacturing and services sectors, for example, companies in China and India are recognising the opportunities in the global marketplace and capitalising on them. Both countries are becoming global hubs in these sectors.

What is required is the ability to make intelligent choices on when to think globally and when to think locally and how to develop integrated strategies that market brands in the best way in both environments.

But what means are available to aid South African companies in making the right choices?

New research shows that South African companies can be more competitive by improving in one key area: market orientation. Being oriented to the market is about more than just customer orientation. It is an organisational culture and set of behaviours that help the company develop insight about international markets, craft strategic intent and manage effective interaction strategies.

Whatever business leaders decide is the best route for their brands, both venturing abroad and staying at home have winning strategies in the global marketplace.

Companies operating beyond SA’s borders may already have a unique advantage. Given that a dominant feature of the international marketplace is cultural diversity, South African companies have an advantage in their experience of doing business in a diverse society.

For locally bound companies, despite the rise of global culture, local culture remains a central influence on consumer behaviour and individual identity the “local is lekker” adage is a powerful purchasing factor for many South Africans.

Research shows local companies that firmly position and communicate their brands as icons of the local culture can generate higher brand value. This is a counterstrategy that remains underused.

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