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Term of the Week: Globalization

What is it?

The art and science of analyzing, planning, and aligning the corporate strategies, product design, content, marketing, packaging, and support materials required to support a business in all its markets worldwide.

Why is it important?

Globalization allows companies to increase their reach by skillfully guiding the process of taking a product, service, idea, system, and project to multiple markets. It must be an integral part of the corporate strategy to enable growth in global markets and to effectively reach global audiences.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

Globalization requires much more than simply having an international office, developing local language websites, or preparing code for localization. It is an ongoing effort to remove barriers so that customers have a good experience, wherever they live and work.

At its best, globalization is built into the overall corporate strategy and infused into every area and activity in the company. This strategic focus goes hand in hand with internationalization, which is the technical side of globalization. The globalization strategy drives the priorities, budget, and focus for internationalization and, subsequently, for localization and translation.

In addition to encompassing internationalization and localization, globalization also includes global trade compliance, OEM partnerships, joint ventures, regulatory compliance, as well as your global content strategy.

For example, if you sell medical equipment, you must create products that comply with local medical regulations. By understanding these regulatory differences and removing barriers to purchasing and using a product or service in the local market, globalization teams can help you build market share.

To be successful, companies need the right leaders in place at all levels of the organization to take full advantage of the opportunities that globalization provides. These leaders must fully support globalization and have experience in incorporating best practices for globalization into all of the company’s processes and systems, as well as an understanding of the needs and drivers for each of your markets[Burbach 2017].

An experienced globalization team can help you prioritize your efforts and help you capitalize on global opportunities[Schlegel 2016].


About Anna Schlegel

Photo of Anna Schlegel

Anna Schlegel is Sr. Director of Information Engineering & Globalization at NetApp, ensuring that the right content reaches the right people, when, where, and how they need it, in the language they prefer: their own. She has led globalization teams for 20+ years with large enterprises and for two localization vendors as the CEO and general manager. Anna speaks regularly at universities, corporations, and other international organizations, authored Truly Global, The Theory and Practice of Bringing Your Company to International Markets, and has published articles on,,, and She co-founded Women in Localization and chairs Women in Technology at NetApp. The Diversity Journal named her a 2017 Women Worth Watching in STEM Award.

Term: Globalization


Twitter: @annapapallona


8 thoughts on “Term of the Week: Globalization

  1. Kristin Hansen Gutierrez

    Companies need to do more. So often Globalization is deduced to "quite simply" the translation of text, and while localization is certainly a component of globalization, it is so much more. Anna's synopsis perfectly summarizes the strategic, holistic approach of being truly global. As more and more companies try to do this right, hopefully they will really consider that, "At its best, globalization is built into the overall corporate strategy and infused into every area and activity in the company."

  2. Carl Plumer

    Brilliant. Globalization is really just communication at its best, taking away the barriers and respecting local laws, customs, and language. In the world we live in today, this is increasingly important, necessary, and sensible.

  3. Zachariah Thomas

    The term 'Globalization' is often incorrectly interchanged with 'Internationalization' and 'Localization'. Thank you for clarifying the difference with a comprehensive definition of Globalization!

  4. Barbara Burbach

    ok well I like my reference in there... lol

    Regarding the comment about international office... when I was at HP we also had a globalization citizenship component. That is, in doing business globally-locally we aligned our global citizenship with our business goals e.g. environmentally.

    As Anna mentions this includes local OEM partnerships and JVs. This is part of the globalization "journey" of manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and sellers around the world literally.

  5. Alessandra Gobbi

    Thank you, Anna for spreading the word of globalization and explaining how and why companies should benefit from this attitude to provide their customers a good experience, wherever they live and work.


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