Standardization and localization are two of the most important processes of global business. Even though there is no connection between the two processes, as one happens independently of the other, they both became a crucial part of business when trade reached a global scale. This is because companies now target diverse audiences with their own languages and standards of quality.
Standardization is the process of developing technical standards, which apply in the same manner to all manufacturers and consumers. For example, the safety of a certain brand of lighters can be a debatable issue, as what is unsafe for a consumer may be completely practical for another. However, ISO 22702 -- the utility lighters' safety standard published by the International Organization for Standardization -- gives a clear and detailed account of what constitutes a safe product for consumers, leaving no room for ambiguity.
Importance of Standardization
Apart from quality assurance, standardization can ensure the compatibility of products, such as a digital camera cable's ability to fit a USB port on any computer. This way, consumers don't have to buy extra accessories for their new devices and can avoid buying devices that do require them. However, standardization also benefits manufacturers, who need to stick to only one production method -- effectively minimizing production costs -- and can target a much larger audience when producing goods or services complying to widely accepted standards.
Localization refers to the process of making a product more accessible to different audiences. Examples of localization include the translation of the cooking instructions or the ingredients of a food product or the dubbing or subtitling a foreign-language movie or series. Localization can also result in changes to the contents of a product, to comply with the different regulations of a foreign country, such as the removal of gory scenes from a localized version of a video game.
Benefits of Localization
Localization allows companies to broaden their consumer base by targeting new audiences of diverse languages and customs. It can also be used as a marketing technique to appeal to a specific audience. For example, EA Sports uses local soccer stars for each region's FIFA game box cover. Consumers also benefit from localization, as different language or local regulations no longer prevent them from using a foreign-made product.
Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.