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From Russia with Reverse Localization
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on August 12, 2005  in the following blogs: Translation and Localization
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This announcement by a Russian developer of systems like Amadeus and SABRE is on the leading edge of the trend to reverse localization -- that is, the adaptation of software (or other products) created for markets other than English and major European commercial languages into English. In this case, the leading Russian provider of airline reservations systems has decided to enter the North Atlantic markets.

We expect that this reverse localization movement will take two forms: 1) well-capitalized Russian (Brazilian, Chinese, Czech...) companies will determine that there are ample growth opportunities in the States and Western Europe and that expansion beyond their domestic markets will serve their shareholders well; 2) savvy business development managers from established western firms like Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP will scour the planet looking for innovative technology that they can acquire or for new centers in which they can develop such technology for less money than in established centers like San Jose or Walldorf.

Ultitek's press release claims that "the translation of the input/output procedures is straightforward for the most part, and relative to the complete system, quite minor." That could be the easy part of its move to the U.S. Entering the market and establishing credibility is the next major step. While Ultitek has done a great job over the last few months in outlining its expansion plans and receiving some financial press coverage (Ultitek's shares are traded on the pink sheet exchange, for smaller companies whose shares are not traded over-the-counter), its web persona lags behind.

Its English-language content is quite sparse compared to its Russian site. For example, the English site offers information about solutions, products, the company, and how to contact Ultitek. The much more complete Russian site presents solutions, products, downloads, a press center, employment opportunities, about the company, and contact information. Three big empty spaces will hobble the company as it tries to convince western airlines to consider its wares: 1) the English-language landing page is missing a lot of the useful information offered to the Russian visitor; 2) the company page is empty in English, while the Russian version includes a long introduction to the company by general director Mark Levin (???? ????????? ?????); and 3) the press center is completely missing, thus masking the long credibility-building history of Ultitek in the marketplace.

Sad to say, this rookie mistake of sparse content is common among companies going global. We frequently characterize the typical global website as Swiss cheese -- the home-market language completely describes the company in fine detail, but the international variants are full of holes. Given the existence of Russian language service providers like Logrus and many LSPs across Europe and the States with Russian-English translation capacity, such content vacuums are easily remedied. Without pumping up the content volume of its English-language site, Ultitek will have a tough time getting a hearing from the many business buyers who visit websites before agreeing to take a meeting.


 

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