To successfully sell globally, companies need to develop their Web sites, software interfaces and product documentation in the languages and cultural styles of their target markets.


The software industry offers an interesting example of the growing trend towards global marketing. During the 1990s, each product that major U.S. software companies shipped internationally was developed in seven languages. Since these companies discovered the value of localization, the number of languages offered has grown to over 30!

Today, international sales represent 40% of the total revenue of American companies that market their products globally. International markets like Asia, and especially China, have also started to open up. Imagine the impact on international sales when these markets start buying!

How do you prepare your product for the international market? A cultural assessment is necessary to understand what needs to be done to optimally localize a product. This assessment produces the localization requirements essential for the success of the project.

AD-COM performs cultural assessments, or "cultural audits", on their clients' sites to ensure that innocent mistakes do not ruin a company's global objectives. Sometimes something as seemingly innocent as a smile can convey a message you did not intend—and have disastrous repercussions.

Did You Know?

    Did you know that the thumb-and-index-finger "OK" sign is obscene in Brazil and Germany?

    A Web site that is entirely black might seem stylish and sophisticated in the United States. Did you know that in Hong Kong and China black means death, it is unlucky, and morbid?

    In North America, the credit card is the key to e-commerce. Did you know that many Germans view credit as a crutch for the weak-willed who cannot control their finances-they prefer direct bank-account debit.

    Did you know that the thumbs-up signal, common in the U.S., is an unfriendly gesture in Iran?

    In most countries, a company selling a product will display a "click-here" contract page. Did you know that places like Italy and Mexico do not accept online contracts as legally binding?

    In Latin America, a lot of business is done over the phone. A Web page that is transaction-oriented might request a fax in many European countries including a form that asks, "When's the best time to call you?"

    A cartoon character waving at the reader? Friendly gesture, right? Not in Greece. Not in Nigeria. In these nations, the palm-forward wave is impolite!
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