English-only multinationals are a bad idea

You can decree that the employees of your company speak only English.

You can train everyone.

You can test everyone.

And you can get everyone to speak English in meetings, just as you mandated.

But be careful what you wish for.

Just because everyone speaks English doesn’t mean everyone is communicating.

Doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable.

And, most importantly, doesn’t mean people are as effective as they want to be.

The fact is, global companies have been around for centuries and they somehow figured out how to function with many shared languages.

As this Harvard Business School article points out, the rise of “Englishnization” is causing problems in the workplace.

Money talks (in many languages)

It’s no secret that the US has been on a borrowing binge for quite some time.

So when the US launched its redesigned $100 bill last year, the Fed went to great lengths to market the “Benjamin” globally.

Check out the New Money web site.

On the right side of the website you can choose from 25 languages — from Traditional Chinese to Thai.

Here’s the menu:

Why localize a website promoting the $100 bill into so many languages?

These bills are very popular with governments and businesses in markets where their native currency isn’t very stable. About 30% of all bills outstanding are $100 bills (though you won’t find any in my wallet).

Oh, and drug dealers are rather fond of them.

Taking Mobile Global: Tips for Aligning Mobile and Global Web Strategies

Here’s a new article I’ve written for UX Magazine on the importance of aligning global and mobile strategies. Too often, companies develop mobile apps and mobile websites without considering localization requirements.

Here are two previous articles I’ve written for UX Magazine: