GILT: Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, Translation

Business insights
Posted by Athena Parthenos

GILT is the acronym for globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation. These are the four steps your products or services have to go through when you want to sell them to a global audience beyond the borders of your home country.

In fact, if you want to expand your business into new markets, you have to take into consideration various aspects.

First of all, you can start by building a business plan in order to organize the steps to take. But you should also care about the image of your company, research the country you want to reach with your products, and adapt to its culture. These are all critical elements for your expansion project and must not be underestimated.

However, when it comes time to open to international markets, people often get confused between the terms globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation; in truth, they are different aspects of the same process aiming to expand a business globally and sell products to a broader audience in one or more foreign countries.

So, what are the differences between globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation?

involves the companies interested in expanding their products and services to new customers globally. It is composed of localization and internationalization, which means that it includes all the processes associated with the launch of a product globally, from the revision of business processes to the adaptation of marketing tools.

Internationalization means developing a product in a generic way so that it can be marketed easily worldwide without the need for redesign.

Localization implies the adaptation of a product to the specific culture or language of a certain country. Although some products don’t require much work, others require a major localization effort. Think, for instance, about video games or films. Pixar demonstrates one of the best examples of localization, and without it, nobody in the world would understand their films except for Americans. But websites and marketing materials usually also need to be adapted to meet the standards of a given culture and reach a broader audience there.

Translation is the process of converting text from a source language to another one, and it is usually done by professional translators. Translation is often intertwined with localization, especially when it comes to marketing translations that have to meet the standards of the culture the advertisement is meant to be sent to.

How does the GILT process work?

Put simply, the GILT process requires a lot of coordination between the different departments of a company.

In fact, the development department usually undertakes the globalization stage, and on the base of the world market and demands, tries to create the best product possible.

It is the design department that later works on the product’s internationalization by creating a marketing campaign that could be suitable for all markets. One of its duties is to underline the areas of the product that will stay the same for all markets and the areas that need to be localized to a specific market.

The production department will take over the localization process, changing all the parts that need to be adapted according to the local market: layout, graphics, colors, images, and text boxes. This stage often requires the collaboration of a professional translator who knows the language the text must be translated into and is specialized in marketing translation.

It is finally time for translation in order to reproduce the campaign in the required language(s).

If you plan to go international, don't underestimate translations and check out our services, including marketing translations and multicultural management.

Written by Marcella Sartore, Marketing & Communication Assistant
Photo credits: cover photo taken from the website 1980hd.com

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