Glocalization and Why it Became Essential

Glocalization is a word that comes from globalization and localization. The context of the usage of the term at the time was marketing, and how companies could offer products and services on a global scale while adopting local consumer preferences and culture in individual countries.

Post preview glocalization and why it became essential

The world experiences rapid changes and while globalization has already become the characteristic feature of the modern transnational society, the new phenomena continue to emerge. Nowadays both individuals and companies should be aware not only of globalization trends but of such concepts as glocalization and globalocalization as well. Technologies allowed individuals and businesses from different parts of the planet to connect easily and, in many cases, instantly. At the same time, specific nations’ traditions and ways of life also remain valuable.

What is Glocalization?

Synergy of the above-mentioned phenomena resulted in the need to update the theoretical base. Back in 1980, sociologist Roland Robertson popularized the definition of glocalization, the one that was derived from terms globalization and localization. Basically, glocalization presupposes the combination of global and local in terms of practices, tendencies, and even general strategies. The need of getting acquainted with this phenomenon becomes unavoidable in many spheres of life including business documents translation since glocalization implies that companies provide services and products on the global market while implementing local peculiarities and customers’ preferences and tastes. Translators must be aware of these features to complete appropriate adaptations.

What Is the Difference Between Globalization and Glocalization?

While the nature of both processes is identical and presupposes worldwide communication and integration, there are essential differences. These two processes are especially evident in political, economic, and cultural spheres of life and in all of them globalization can be treated as the umbrella term that covers all practices intended to treat the world or specific sphere as one uniform entity while glocalization adheres to principles of both universalization and particularization.

Modern world cannot be perceived as the one where people stick to one side in globalization vs glocalization opposition since these processes coexist and cannot be discussed separately. The development of the globalization phenomenon made people think about the preservation of their local cultures along with enjoying all the benefits of a globalized society that imply constant development and using recent innovations. Glocalism presupposes delivering a certain product or service to both global and local target audiences at the same time, so this phenomenon clearly illustrates how globalization and glocalization are interconnected.

Glocalization and Globalocalization: Are Those The Same?

One can easily get confused with all those terms that sound almost similar. However, the differences are essential and professional translators must understand what exactly is implied. While examples reveal the direction from the global level to the local one, for example, when a company changes the packaging of the worldwide popular product to comply with regional specific features and expectations, globalocalization presupposes a different approach and response to the globalization tendencies on the local level. And it is still different from globalization that is more focused on homogenization and unity.

Application of Glocalization Examples

Discussion of what is glocalization in sociology could not be separated from touching economics and business spheres. Economists and marketing specialists were the first to predict and start using this term that was later popularized by Robertson in sociology and then other spheres of life. So, how does this phenomenon work?

  • Altering global distribution patterns. Product’s adaptation to foreign markets in terms of appearance and adherence to local customs and laws is intended to increase customers’ interest in it. The product may be distributed globally and fit the needs of every individual, but if it is glocalized, or provided with some local “flavor”, more consumers from the particular target country will prefer to use it.
  • Adjusting competition models. Global and local businesses always compete and aim at getting the attention of the same target audience. Trusting products that come from a different country and evidently express that may be difficult for many customers so that they will choose familiar local business’s products. Global companies try to change the situation using translation of marketing campaigns and making products appear more user-friendly for the local audience. Local companies cannot enjoy advantages of globally distributed products and services which limits their possibilities to compete effectively.
  • Establishing trust. Company’s attempts to become closer to the target audience and adjust its regular practices show that the company respects local values and culture. Such brands unite the benefits and quality of globally-recognized products and adherence to local peculiarities and needs. Customers start to feel that the brand “understands” them and tries to change in accordance with their peculiar needs. As a result, the sales’ level increases and everyone is happy, because the company effectively opened a new market and customers received a high-quality product that fits their needs.
  • Operational interconnection. Following glocalism principles means that the company can be impacted by the local events, such as natural disasters or political unrest, in the same way as it could have been affected by the events of a global character.

More specific examples of glocalization could be implementing local actors, cultural elements, customs, and languages in advertisements. This helps to make ads and advertised products appealing to local end-users. The packing of the product itself may be changed to represent distinctive stylistic features of the region. It does not mean the entire product’s line will be changed. On the contrary, the globally distributed products will remain the same while only the ones intended for a particular local market will undergo the mentioned changes. All these processes are rather expensive since glocalization anyway presupposes developing an entirely new marketing campaign, but they will be beneficial for the company in the long-term perspective.

Effects Of Glocalism On Localization And Translation

The increased requirement for translated and adapted products for every local market accompanies the general development of countries’ economies and technological progress. What is the process of glocalization’s impact is easy to tell since it means the increased demand for professional translators.

Any text that requires adaptation for the local market, be it patent translation or product’s description, must be completed by native speakers of the target language that possess relevant certification. Only this rule’s application may ensure adherence to all local language and culture’s peculiarities that can be completely understood by a native speaker only. That is why global companies seek the assistance of professional translation agencies and establish long-term cooperation with chosen specialists. The process of glocalization is ongoing and it will remain relevant in the future.

Glocalism is more than just translating the textual component of a product. Properly glocalized product possesses adapted non-textual components such as pictures and music since while some of these elements may be appropriate for the international audience, local end users may consider them completely inappropriate. As a result, the company will experience losses on that particular target market. That is why consultations of translation specialists and culturologists are more often required during the process of marketing campaigns’ development. Global companies learned mistakes of the past when the local cultural background was not taken into consideration and now tend to avoid the same issues. Why would one re-do the entire campaign, product’s presentation, and other relevant resources after some time of unsuccessful operation if that can be done properly in the first place?

Practical Advice

Now you know more about the process of global localization and what is an example of glocalization. Truly successful products or services will keep the balance between global trends that require unification and adherence to commonly accepted standards of quality and some local tendencies and peculiarities that allow conquering to target audiences’ preferences. Glocalism is better than pure globalization since it allows recognizing local cultures’ value on a global level while maintaining the benefits of globalization. Finally, adhering to glocalism principle contributes to the company’s reputation as the one that truly cares about its customers.