Here is an article I wrote that was recently published in tcworld magazine.
In it, I define the “translation economy” and the opportunities (and challenges) it presents to all organizations.
From the information economy to the translation economy
The internet connected the world’s computers, and the digitization of content enabled the rapid flow of information around the world, which drove several decades of what came to be known as the information economy. But one of the great myths of the information economy – and the World Wide Web, for that matter – was the idea that a company could go global simply by launching a website. While the Internet connects computers, it is language that connects people, and the information economy has for too many years exhibited an English-language bias.
And for much more on the translation economy, check out Think Outside the Country.
Also now available in Japanese!
Nike made an important improvement to its global gateway over the past year that I want to draw your attention to.
First, let’s take a look at the home page, circa 2015:
If you look closely at the bottom of the web page, to the left, you’ll see the American flag — the link to the global gateway menu.
Clearly, this is not the most visible location for a global gateway. Footers are for legalese and other garbage — not for your most important global navigation interface.
Fortunately, Nike has since promoted the gateway link to the header, as shown here today:
As the flag itself, I recommend using a globe icon instead, alongside the locale name.
But progress is progress and the promotion of the global gateway into the header is one reason why Nike made it into the top 25 best global websites.
For more information, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.
UPDATE: The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card is now available.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card and, with it, the top 25 websites:
- American Express
- Cisco Systems
It’s hard to believe that this is the twelfth edition of the Report Card. Over the past decade I’ve seen the average number of languages supported by global brands increase from just 10 languages to 30 languages today.
And, of course, the top 25 websites go well beyond 30 language. Google supports 90 languages via Google Translate and 75 languages on YouTube. And Facebook stands at 88 languages.
But it’s not just languages that make a website succeed globally. Companies need to support fast-loading mobile websites, locally relevant content, and user-friendly navigation.
Notable highlights among the top 25:
- Wikipedia is far and away the language leader, with content in more than 270 languages. The company also now supports a mobile-friendly layout that is considerably lighter (in kilobytes) than most Fortune 100 mobile websites.
- NIVEA provides an excellent example of a company that localizes its models for local websites — one of the few companies to do so.
- Nike made this top 25 list for the first time, having added languages and improved global consistency and navigation.
- As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 52 languages.
For 2016, we studied 150 websites across 15 industry categories — and more than 80% of the Interbrand Best Global Brands. Websites were graded according to languages supported, global navigation, global and mobile website architecture, and localization.
Congratulations to the top 25 websites!