Web Localization Into English

Because I spend the bulk of my time talking to US executives about expanding globally, my focus is typically on creating non-English Web sites. But Web globalization cuts both ways. If you’re a Russian company, for example, you’ll need an English-language Web site if you want to expand in the US. Most companies do this by default, but it’s no less challenging than an American company launching a Russian-language Web site. Often, companies do a fairly poor job with their English-language sites the first time out.

According to this article, the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) just launched an improved English version of its Web site.

micex.jpg

I took a look at the MICEX site and it’s clear they put a lot of effort into it. Everything from press releases to the feedback form and FAQ are in English.

According to the press release…

    …new English version of the MICEX’s web site will help to raise the transparency of the Russian financial market, which, considering Russia’s growing investment rating, is essential for attracting the attention of international investors.

It’s all about money. If you want money from people who don’t speak your language, translation is step one.

Feed Pruning, or, The Zero-Sum Game of Blogging

I find it amazing how quickly a person can adopt a technology and, after having adopted it, grow impatient with it when it isn’t used to maximum effect. Take email for instance. In the early days of email I felt the urge to reply to nearly every email I received to let the sender know that I had received it. Today, replies are by necessity only. We are assaulted with emails so we don’t want our fellow emailers to waste our time.

Which brings me to blogs. Now that I have more than 100 blogs that I scan daily, I find it necessary to prune a few blogs from time to time. I have no formula for how I decide which blogs to keep and which blogs to delete from my RSS reader, but there are some traits common to those blogs that I have parted ways with.

After all, because time is a finite resource, there are only so many blogs a person can follow on a daily basis. Which means that every blog I add tends to come at the expense of a blog that I delete. Which means that I expect the bloggers that remain to not waste my time. There may be a billion blogs out there, but from the reader’s perspective, it’s a zero-sum game.

I’m really only referring to those blogs that purport to be about something, like VoIP or travel or Web usability. I subscribe to these blogs to learn more about these topics or issues and I tend to get annoyed when the authors spend more time writing about their personal lives than the actual topics. Occasional off-topic postings are just fine (like this one, for instance) but too much off-topicness and I will consider pruning that particular feed. A year ago, I was much more tolerant than I am today. Either I’m getting more cranky or I’m becoming a more demanding blog reader.

So here is my advice to bloggers who want to avoid being pruned…

Have Something To Add
If all you do is point to other news stories you have to ask yourself – are you adding value or are you just aggregating? Aggregation is fine on occasion (I’ve certainly done my share), but eventually you’ll be made redundant by someone who both aggregates and adds value.

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
I love bloggers precisely because they don’t have editors. I like the unfiltered thoughts, ideas and predictions. When I want an edited piece of work I read the paper. However, sometimes I wish bloggers would do a little bit more self-editing. For example…

Don’t blog to tell the world:
1. you are not feeling well today
2. you are tired today
3. you are tired of all the blogging you’ve been doing lately
4. you are going out of town for a few days
5. you just got back from having been out of town for a few days
6. you will be offline for the next two hours
7. your server went down and that’s why we haven’t heard from you for the past two hours

You get the idea. A writing teacher of mine used the term furniture moving to refer to wasted prose. These types of posts strike me as furniture moving.

Anyway, I’ll step down from my soapbox, prune a few blogs and get back to back. I’ve got lots to do as I’m getting ready to go out of town for a few days!

Just kidding.

GE Betting On Emerging Markets

I wrote about GE’s global growth plans in our February edition of Global By Design and I’m thrilled to see the Journal writing about it as well.

GE expects to have 60% of its revenues coming from emerging markets over the next decade, compared to just 20% a decade ago. And GE is not alone. Here’s an excerpt from the article…

    GE’s outlook is echoed by most multinationals, many of them rivals such as Siemens AG and Philips Electronics NV, and financial-services giant Citigroup Inc. Like GE, these companies are dealing with how to grow in the face of a slower U.S. and European economy. For most of them, that means moving deeper overseas — in some cases, building manufacturing plants and buying materials in those countries while selling lower-price products such as medical equipment. It also could mean more job cuts in the U.S., and even Europe, as the multinationals seek new markets for their products.

    Deane Dray, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, says, “It’s not by choice but by necessity. Developing countries are where the fastest growth is occurring and more sustainable growth.”

“It’s not by choice but by necessity.”
A great quote and equally relevant to Web globalization. Companies aren’t taking their Web sites global for thrills; this is about following the money. And those companies that sit on the sidelines too long are going to have a steep learning curve ahead of them.

GE, by the way, could stand to improve its global Web site. More on this later…