Archive for the ' Web Globalization' Category

May 30 2006

Maryland Lost in Translation

Ask people which states have a horrible language problem, and they are likely to name Florida, Texas and California. Maryland won’t be mentioned.

It should be.

In 2002, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law requiring all state agencies to offer oral interpretation and written translation “into any language spoken by any limited English proficient population that constitutes 3 percent of the overall state population within the geographic area served by a local office of a state program.”

Canada has two official languages. The United Nations has six. Because of the 2002 law, Maryland now has several official languages. The available evidence suggests that no one in Annapolis is quite certain as to exactly how many.

The Maryland State Board of Elections Web site offers translations into eight languages, two more than the United Nations attempts: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

By contrast, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Web site merely offers translation into French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration Web site is solely in English.

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Feb 22 2006

Half White-collars Keep Blogs, Privacy Top Theme

Blogging has increasingly become more popular in China, with 52% of white-collar workers now keeping weblogs (blogs) according to CBP Career Consultants Co., Ltd., a leading career consulting firm in China.

Pictures from the Web log of a woman from Shanghai who goes by the pseudonym Mu Mu.
Unlike western bloggers who often focus on news and politics, the Chinese white collar bloggers see complaining alongside office and personal gossip as their priorities, according to the survey.

According to the findings of a blogging survey conducted by CBP among white-collar workers in China’s four largest cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – 52% responded they already had a blog, while another 28% said they plan to begin a blog in the near future.

“Weblogs have become the fourth online channel for Chinese people to communicate with each other, following email, bulletin board systems (BBS) and instant messaging tools such as QQ and MSN Messenger,” Bian Bingbin, President and Chief Career Consultant with CBP Career Consultants, told Interfax Monday. “Blogging is now a lifestyle habit for more and more Chinese white-collar workers, with a majority updating their blogs once every three days on average,” he said.

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Feb 16 2006

Triple Certification in Localization: Summer Workshop: June 20-22nd

The Localization Program, CSU Chico offers The Triple Certification in Localization in conjunction with our certifying partners:

1. The Center for Regional and Continuing Education, California State University Chico
2. The Localization Institute
3. The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)

The Objective of this Triple Certification is to establish learning opportunities, and educational standards that can provide much needed Localization skills and training in cutting edge industry developments and technologies.

The Triple Certification in Localization has two components:

* 45 hours of online instruction, in form of videos, power points, lecture notes, and interactive quizzes.
* 24 hours of face-to-face interaction and lab work at California State University located in Chico , CA .

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Feb 16 2006

Want to See if Your International Website Hits Its Mark?

Common Sense Advisory and the authors of “The Culturally Customized Web Site,” have teamed up to study trends and best practices in website globalization. Qualifying respondents will receive a free cultural diagnosis of one of their international websites in the form of “The Cultural Customization Scorecard.” In return the researchers request participation in a short survey.

What does the assessment cover? In short, respondents will get a review of one language or country site based on a theoretically-sound, empirically-validated framework built on five unique cultural values that account for similarities and differences across global cultures. For more information, see our description of the Cultural Scorecard.

We invite marketing executives and website owners to participate. We also encourage language service providers and software developers to ask their customers to participate and benchmark their work against a well-defined methodology. Click here to take survey or forward this link to someone you think might benefit from the cultural assessment.

Having Don and Renato and Nitish and Arun assess your website is a powerful one-two punch.

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Jan 28 2006

Google Launches Censored Chinese Search Engine

Online search giant Google (GOOG) launched a China-based search engine Wednesday that will be self-censored to avoid posting results that antagonize China’s communist government. uses the Chinese Web suffix “.cn” and supplements the existing dot-com Chinese-language website available from servers in the USA.

“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on, in response to local law, regulation or policy,” said a statement from Google’s senior policy counsel Andrew McLaughlin. “Removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission,” he conceded, but “providing no information … is more inconsistent with our mission.”

In an increasingly competitive market, Google’s move to a China-based website will aid its fight against foreign rivals such as Yahoo and homegrown firms like, China’s most popular search engine, in which Google owns a 2.6% stake.

By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country.

Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google’s China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered long delays in response time.

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Jun 28 2005

Ky. Secretary of State Web Site Now Multilingual

The Web site for the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office now offers translations into six new languages. The new service makes the office one of the first multilingual Web sites in Kentucky state government.

The site is translated through an automated and computerized process and occurs dynamically, allowing the site to be translated immediately after it is updated in English. The site will now be accessible in Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Italian and traditional Chinese.

Forms for the office will not be translated as state laws require “the document shall be in the English language.” All visitors to the site whose computers are programmed with the appropriate characters will have access to the translations.

Nearly 2 percent of the 1.8 million yearly visitors to the the secretary of state’s Web site come from foreign countries. The languages chosen primarily reflect the demand for the languages as determined by constituents’ requests or the international visitors that most frequently visited the site.

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To understand why this doesn’t work, pick a string of text (any string of text,) go to, enter your string of text, pick a language (any language) to translate it into, take the resulting translation and use the same system to back translate it into English and see what you get.

Two sayings come to mind: On the one hand: “something is better than nothing.” On the other hand: “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

One response so far

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 29 2005

French To Google: “Puh!”

Reaffirming its heralded position as guardian of global culture (cheese, wine, literature, extended vacations, and things that smell), the French and other EU nations have mustered up enough dander to protect the world against latest “risk of crushing American domination…” Google.

Late last year, the sinister forces of Google reached an agreement with five major libraries to digitize 15 million books and make them accessible online.

Sacre Bleu!

You can see how this might be a problem.

In response, Jean-Noël Jeanneney, head of the French National Library, called on President Jacques Chirac to “make the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe more widely and more rapidly accessible on the Internet.”

The creation of a European search engine would defend French and other languages by being published in their original tongues.

This last point has puzzled some as Google is published in over a 100 languages.

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Jan 10 2005

Online Retailers Look Overseas

Five years ago, ProFlowers, an online florist based in San Diego, pumped $500,000 into market and technology research that would, the company hoped, help it move quickly into Europe and Japan. Within just a few months, staying in the United States market suddenly seemed much more appealing.

“We naïvely assumed that everybody would look at the Internet and see it the same way,” said Bill Strauss, chief executive of Provide Commerce, the parent company of ProFlowers. “But consumer behavior was absolutely different.”

This year, though, the company is joining the growing ranks of online businesses that are ready again to dip their toes into foreign waters, as sales growth in the American Internet market begins to slow.

Analysts and Internet executives who have experience with foreign retail operations, though, warn that such forays remain harder than they may appear.

“Long term, international is the place to be,” Mr. Strauss said.

Sales projections easily explain why retailers explore such measures. Over the next five years, Ms. Johnson said she expected the European electronic commerce market to grow at an annual rate of 33 percent – more than twice the rate in the United States. The percentage of Europeans who are online continues to grow, whereas the United States, by contrast, is adding relatively few new Internet users each year because most Americans are already online, Internet analysts say.

The success of’s international sales efforts has also helped spur the trend of online retailers expanding globally. During its latest earnings announcement in late October, said that its North American sales had grown 15 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2003. Meanwhile, sales for the company’s British, German, French, Japanese and Chinese sites were up 52 percent in the quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.

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Jan 03 2005

Three Basic Steps to Globalize Your Web Site for International Visitors

Marketing Sherpa interviews John Yunker:

We asked Yunker for three basic steps you can take to begin globalizing your site this year.

-> Step #1. Start small

A. List your strategic markets for next five years

Once you have a basic list, register domain names in those countries so you don’t lose out on them, even if you don’t plan to use them immediately.

B. Pick a single country to begin

Get your feet wet by branching out into one additional market so you can fully understand the details of globalization before launching a full effort.

C. Be prepared to support your new local site

“The minute you do launch a local Web site, you will be expected to support it, so you’ll need some people who have language skills that can support questions that come in via email or by phone,” says Yunker.

Customers understand that you may not offer the same services that you offer in your local market, but you have to manage their expectations, he says. If you can’t offer phone support in the local language, make that clear, and offer alternatives.

D. Research the culture

Okay, this should be obvious, but don’t forget to be sensitive to local culture

E. English language or not?

Many companies make the mistake of thinking the whole world (or all business executives) speaks English, but in truth it depends on your market segment.

-> Step #2. Keep your site’s bandwidth low

Be aware of the bandwidth requirements of the countries to which you’re reaching out. Limit graphics and avoid animation. This means little or no Flash or rich media.

-> Step #3. Rethink your “global gateway” start page

Note: The sweet spot for your global gateway icon is in the upper right-hand corner of each page a new visitor might enter your site on.

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Hat tip: Going Global

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Dec 21 2004

John Yunker: Web Globalization Goes Mainstream

John Yunker, author of Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies, makes a few predictions for the year ahead:

    – Web Globalization Goes Mainstream
    – Adds Spanish
    – Apple Launches iTunes Korea
    – The Global Gateway finds the “Sweet Spot”

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