Globalization vs. Localization vs. Internationalization

Globalization vs. Localization vs. Internationalization: What Do They Really Mean? 


Globalization, localization, and internationalization are all about companies trying to reach and target a global market. However, they are not interchangeable words, and each focuses on a different aspect of bringing a company’s product to a larger audience.

To help you navigate through these terms, here’s your straightforward guide to globalization, localization, and internationalization, what they mean, and how SYSTRAN can help.  

What Is Globalization? 

Globalization is a strategy that businesses follow to target a worldwide audience. Globalization is any business activity that brings your product closer to an international audience and works on an international scale.  


A crystal clear glass globe being held in someone's hands, symbolizes globalization

Globalization widens your company’s horizons and gives you an international market to reach out to. It helps extend your reach to more markets and allows anyone in the world to discover your unique niche in the market.  


Translation software like SYSTRAN is not essential for most globalization processes. Globalization focuses mainly on internal processes and tactics, so there may be no need for translation. However, for some companies, globalization is only possible with local experts who may not be bilingual. In these cases, SYSTRAN can provide quick quality translations to ensure you can easily communicate with any international contractor or partner.  

What Is Localization? 

Localization is a step in a company’s globalization process. Localization takes an existing product like an app or website and prepares it for a new international market.  


At the most basic level, localization is mainly focused on translation, but it can also focus on making sure the updated product is culturally appropriate and legal. What can be said and done in some countries is illegal in others, and localization identifies and accommodates those unique circumstances.

Someone holding a cell phone above a laptop, working on localization

For example, a completed app that is successful in English-speaking countries wants to broaden its market to Germany. Localization would translate the existing assets and copy to German while retaining the style and tone of the initial product and falling within the cultural and legal expectations of Germany.  


SYSTRAN helps with localization by bringing years of industry expertise to make sure there are no mistranslations from your original product. We understand that translation is more than a simple word for word replacement and that the best translations keep the same feeling and context as the original. SYSTRAN offers multiple translation models made by language experts to help different industries with their localization needs.  


What Is Internationalization? 

Instead of focusing on globalization at the end of the creative process like localization, internationalization focuses on globalization in the earliest stages of design and development. It prepares the assets and design of the app early on to accommodate a variety of languages and target audiences.  


The internationalization process is about being ready for the future needs of the global market and meeting the globalization needs of a company. Internationalization focuses on making localization easier by directly influencing the initial design of a product.  


For example, as part of creating an application, internationalization would focus on creating built-in support for different grammatical structures during the ideation and design phase. This would automatically build support for text that is read right to left, left to right, and vertically into the application’s design rather than leaving it as a problem that must be sorted out during localization.   

A laptop showing coding on the computer, similar to internationalization

Internationalization doesn’t deal with translation because it happens during the ideation and design phase of product development. For that reason, translation tools like SYSTRAN are not as helpful during internationalization because there is nothing to translate yet.



SYSTRAN Pure Neural Server is a translation software built for global companies and corporations. It provides an enhanced user interface that gives you the best translation technology available to meet your translation needs for any market. We even offer models and tools in the cloud to provide translation services for a wide range of industries like agriculture, education, finance, IT, legal, and healthcare.  


SYSTRAN can help you at any part of your globalization journey to make sure you are understood by your target audience anywhere in the world.  

Angelica O'Farrell