Localization, Internationalization, and Globalization: What is the difference?

Localization, Internationalization, and Globalization: What is the difference?

While localization, globalization, and internationalization usually sound like similar concepts and often interchangeably by many people, key differences set them apart. These concepts are used mainly by businesses looking to expand beyond national borders.

Understanding how localization, internationalization, and globalizations differentiate from each other can be crucial, especially if you're looking to help your company cover a global market. In this article, we'll look at what localization, globalization, and internationalization mean and how they compare to each other.

What is Globalization? 

Localization, internationalization, and Globalization: What is the difference?

Globalization is a general term that describes activities that bring economies, cultures, and people from different countries closer together.  In the business space, globalization refers to the practices that companies employ to connect better with their customers worldwide. These practices can include everything from marketing to product designing in different national markets.

One of the main benefits of having an effective globalization strategy is that it allows you to get into new markets, remarkably increasing traffic and customers.  Globalization works best, particularly for businesses that sell services instead of products. 

The globalization efforts of Netflix, for instance, have seen the company sell its television streaming service in almost the entire globe except in China, Crimea, North Korea, and Syria. They do that by customizing content for nearly every country they offer their streaming services.

Other great examples of globalization in action include Amazon and eBay. Both companies use localization and internationalization to make it easy for people in different parts of the world to buy products from them. That means localization of product descriptions, reviews, and categories on their websites to make customers feel more at home while purchasing online.

What is Localization? 

Localization, on the other hand, refers to the process of adapting a product to meet the cultural, date format, language, and other requirements of a specific target market. Localization typically takes place after internationalization has already happened. The primary advantage of localization is that it helps you sell your product in different parts of the world while ensuring quality.

What is Internationalization? 

Lastly, internationalization refers to making products and services as adaptable as possible, so they can easily penetrate different national markets. Internationalizing your product makes it easy and more efficient to localize it. 

Using internationalization, you can make your product appear more local so customers from different nations can engage and connect with it better. This way, your product can be seen, purchased, used, and enjoyed by a wide range of customers. It's also worth noting that internationalization should be an integral part of the overall development process, from data encoding to imagery. Internationalization entails following appropriate practices in product design and development to prepare it for localization.

What is the Difference Between Localization and Internationalization?

The main differences between localization and internationalization include;

First off, localization happens only after internationalization has already occurred, whereby the internationalized product is adapted to different locales. 

Internationalization usually involves developing a product that's easily adaptable by numerous audiences in different countries, while localization entails taking a product and making it highly relevant for just one particular market.

The internationalization process mostly concludes in a product that can be easily localized, especially the product's design and text. And the result is a global-ready, localizable product, whereas localization results in a multilingual and entirely culturally adapted product.

What is the difference between internationalization and globalization? 

Here are some of the main differences between internationalization and globalization;

The first main difference is that internationalization involves the process of increasing a local business enterprise in the international market, while globalization is aimed at integrating local markets into a single global market. Globalization's main goal is to connect world economies to enable free trade, including free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, and synchronize the rules and regulations of different countries.

Another difference is that internationalization aims to make products as adaptable as possible to meet the needs of customers in specific countries with minimum efforts and costs. The activities include sourcing, selling, and producing raw materials, goods, services, components, and more. On the other hand, globalization aims to increase the cross-border movement of services and goods, knowledge, money, and cultural values. 

Key factors that affect globalization include logistics, availability of labor, telecommunication network, and infrastructural development. However, internationalization is mainly influenced by preferences, traditions, tastes, climatic conditions, and cultural and religious values of a specific country.

The results of internationalization include increased enterprise of a local market, driving the world economy towards globalization. On the contrary, globalization usually results in reduced global trade barriers, free and open market creation, increased migration, development of transportation and infrastructure, and more. 


Most people often confuse the three terms internationalization, localization, and globalization primarily because of their similar nature. However, they are three distinct concepts yet interconnected. Internationalization and localization work together to create a product that ensures an outstanding user experience for customers from various parts of the world. Together, localization and internationalization help achieve globalization. Through globalization, local markets and economies connect with other countries' local markets and economies, enabling globally accepted rules and regulations for trade.

It's also correct to say that localization, internationalization, and globalization have the same goal of enabling global trade. Now that you understand what localization, internationalization, and globalization mean and how they compare to each other, your next step is to choose the right strategy to use and follow to help market your business in the global market. 

Looking to expand your business to the global market and want a reliable partner to help you localize your website or internationalize your product? Look no further, At TransLingua, we have a team of highly experienced business professionals in creating and adapting content for international audiences. Contact us today for translation and interpretation services and our team of experts will help you create a message and develop a product that highly resonates across the globe. 

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