Localisation vs. Internationalisation - What's The Difference?

What Is the Difference Between Localisation and Internationalisation?

Localisation and internationalisation have been used interchangeably. But this can be misleading and confusing. When applied to marketing practices in overseas markets there are distinctive and important differences between the two.

Historically, companies trading in foreign markets simply opened up a branch in another country and translated company literature and marketing campaigns into the language of the natives.

However, international companies soon realised that to be successful in foreign speaking markets required much more. Not only do international organisations have to adapt to cultural sensitivities, they also need to consider regional languages and customer buying traits throughout the country.

The inhabitants of any one country are never the same in the length and breadth of the country. Northerners are always culturally different to southerners. They have different mind sets and attitudes.

And this is where the difference between internationalisation and localisation services is most poignant.


What is Internationalisation?

Internationalisation is preparing products and services for various international audiences around the world. It is a pre-requisite for localisation and targets world markets on a wider scale.

For example, a company website should be primed to connect to multiple international audiences. This involves having a function whereby users can switch languages to their mother tongue.

Likewise, product instructions included in the packaging should be translated into various languages. The product should be capable of handling the voltage requirements for the product market and include appropriate adapters.


What is localisation?

Localisation is an extension of internationalisation. It is the process of refining language and other methods of communication from a national audience to regional markets.

For example, the language you use on your company website will use the standard principle language used within the country of your target market.

However, wording in brochures and slogans on advertising materials might adopt localised expressions and use the colloquial language of a specific region. This method is a more profound means of communicating to any given audience.

Companies should also use localisation services to improve the inequality of language division in poorer countries where localisation and internationalisation is most needed.

For more information and advice about the marketing efforts you can apply to improve your internationalisation and localisation services, contact us today and speak to a member of our knowledgeable staff.