Think Outside the Country

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my newest book: Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy.

This book is the result of the past decade spent working with marketing and web teams around the world. I’ve long wanted to have something I could pass along that would demystify the process of product or website globalization and provide insights into languages, cultures and countries. Such as Brazil:

Too often people get overwhelmed by the complexity of it all, not to mention bewildering lingo and acronyms such as FIGS (French, Italian, German Spanish) and L10n (localization). What I always tell people is that you don’t have to speak a half-dozen languages to succeed in this field, but you do have to know what questions to ask. Hopefully this book will help.

The book is now available through Amazon or by request from any local bookstore. You can learn more here.

PS: If you’d like to order multiple copies for your teams, quantity discounts are available. Simply contact me using this form.

The world’s biggest shopping day is November 11th

China’s Alibaba is the creator (and exporter) of this one-day ecommerce extravaganza that takes place on 11/11.

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-56-28-pm

And despite being a one-day event the pre-promotion is in full effect.

According to brandchannel, Alibaba is intent to set new records this year by expanding beyond China’s border. Its long-term goal is two billion shoppers, so they have no choice but to look outside mainland China. This year they’ve recruited Katy Perry as their spokesperson.

tmall_2016

Amazon recently launched Prime in China. But Amazon is just a blip compared to Alibaba.

Costco has been a partner for several years and apparently did 3.5 million in sales two years ago. Here is their Tmall home page. Costco does not even have a localized website for China — just a Tmall site, which is effectively the same thing when it comes to China. The benefit of a Tmall site is that you’re hosted within the country, bypassing the great firewall. And you get built-in marketing and support from Alibaba.

Now, will Singles Day take off in the US?

When it comes to ecommerce, I’d say anything is possible. We Americans love any opportunity to shop. And perhaps with the growing backlash against Black Friday, this will one day become the next big shopping day.

You Say .Sucks, I Say .Global: The flood of new domain names isn’t pretty but will create a truly global Internet

I sympathize with Internet old timers (such as myself) who look back wistfully at the good ol’ days, when the only decision you had to make when registering a new domain name was choosing between .com or .net.

Today, there are more than 500 of these top-level domains from which to choose (with 400 more on the way) ranging from .nyc to .berlin, from .pink to .blue, and from .ceo to .xyz.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 5.43.33 PM

And, yes, there is even .sucks, a domain now available at a steep price—an issue that has gotten advertisers and legislators in a froth. At a congressional hearing recently, Representative Bob Goodlatte said that trademark owners are “being shaken down” by Vox Popula, the owner of the .sucks domain.

starbucks_sucks

While I agree that many of these new domain names feel like a shady Internet tax, let’s not lose sight of the big picture—that the majority of the world’s Internet users could care less about .sucks, because they don’t even speak English.

And it is these Internet users—those who don’t rely on a Latin-based script—who stand to benefit most from this new wave of domain names.

When ICANN opened the door to domains like .sucks, it also opened the door to domains like .世界 (.world), . рус (.Russian), and . みんな (.everyone).

What’s overlooked in the furor over the new domain names is that about 10% of the domains are in non-Latin scripts.

Imagine if, every time you wanted to visit a website, you were expected to type in letters from a foreign language, or worse, an entirely foreign script, such as Arabic, Cyrillic, or Chinese. The Internet was designed to be global, but it was not designed to be multilingual.

Of the three billion Internet users today, more than 70% do not speak English as a native language, if it all. China alone accounts for 640 million Internet users.

Not surprisingly, the second most-registered new domain (after .xyz) is .网址 —the Chinese equivalent of “web address.”

With these new domains (and many more to follow), we inch closer to a linguistically global Internet, in which people no longer have to leave their native languages to get where they want to go.

If we must suffer through .sucks to have domains in Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and other languages, perhaps it’s a price we have to pay to make the Internet truly accessible to the world.

And, someday in the future, when Chinese and Russian legislators get in a froth over translated equivalents of .sucks, I will know that the Internet has truly connected the world.