International Marketing, Localization and Translation Services

The international marketer must decide to what extent it should adjust its domestic marketing for each foreign market.  The multinational also must determine to what extent marketing variations necessitate marketing adjustments.  Sometimes, translation firms who are skilled in localization are called upon to recommend adjustments in communication materials as well as the look, appearance and functionality of specific products and services.

According to one Seattle Translation Services company that consults with corporations on localization, the general approach many companies seem to take is the maintenance of a corporate strategy on a worldwide basis with tactical adjustments where local conditions warrant.  If there were no strategic continuity of approach, the company would not gain a solid and cohesive worldwide identity.  Instead, its identity would consist of the fragmented efforts and pieces put together in its various markets.  There is value to coordinating and centralizing the strategic planning worldwide.

But this can be carried too far.  Adjustments must be made for local conditions.  In the past, U.S. automobile companies were criticized because they did not adapt to Japanese desires.  Japanese drive on the left side of the road and most Japanese and most Japanese prefer to have their steering wheel on the right.  Therefore, it was advisable for the U.S. manufacturers to adjust the strategic decisions in terms of specific tactics used to implement strategic plans in each market.  The costs of adjusting the strategy must be weighed against estimates of sales potentials.

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