The Importance of Translators for Globalization, Internationalization and Localization

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By Ana Teresa Gaspar
GILT is an acronym for Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, and Translation. Although these terms are often misused or employed as synonyms, they differ among themselves and no clear consensus exists over the meaning of these processes in the language services and products industry. The definition of each one of these terms takes on special importance due to this lack of consensus about their basic concepts. They are all processes required to produce global products or services.

In the linguistic sense, these processes can be defined as follows: Globalization can be associated with the process of tailoring a product, company or service to suit language and cultural conventions as well as business requirements for worldwide distribution. Internationalization is related to changes in the language of a product without altering its appearance or functionality, preparing such product to be easily adaptable for multiple locales. Localization is regarded as the adaptation of a product to local market needs of a given region according to content, cultural, technical and/or linguistic specifications so that it seems natural, that is, developed within the given culture. Translation renders a message from a specific source language into a target language.

Based on these definitions, we can note that internationalization and localization are part of the globalization process. Localization, the fast growing area of translation industry, is not just a linguistic process, besides translating language content, localization may but is not limited to adapting material regarding icons, colors, graphics, size and shape, date and time formats, systems of units, and currencies. Translation can be seen as the foundation, or the first steps for these three aforementioned processes, and is essential for a product be accepted internationally. It thus becomes clear that translators are the major players of the GILT industry.

It is not news that translators help to spread knowledge and information all over the world. They play an important role and find a place in the global economy providing optimal solutions and ensuring that linguistic and cultural aspects are respected. Therefore, they guarantee that the costumers have access to accurate information or that the target audience is not offended.

In our multilingual world, translators are the key to overcoming the obstacles to the full globalization. With the professional knowledge of the GILT processes upgraded in my internship at Modlingua allied to my experience in English <> Brazilian Portuguese translation, I can help to make products and services visible to the international public.
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