Everyone has heard the term “globalization” (or globalisation), but what exactly does it mean? Globalization is a vague term, as it can apply to a wide spectrum of topics. It is often used to refer to the perspective that the world is “getting smaller”. What does this mean? In a broad sense, globalization refers to the sharing or movement of resources among countries. “Resources” can be information, goods, capital, people, technology or even culture. In some cases, it is as simple as a country adopting a “resource” which originated from another country, or at the other end of the spectrum, it can mean an integration of cultures or world views. In academia, globalization is often categorized into 3 main subject areas: political, economic, and cultural globalization.
We have seen several major milestones throughout history which have spurred an acceleration in globalization. Think back to things like the steam engine, the jet engine, the telegraph, the telephone, internet and you can see some of these milestones and the impact it had on most of the world – not just the country of origin. Most historians agree that the pace of globalization has greatly accelerated in the last century or so, especially thanks to innovations like the jet engine and more recently, the internet.
One very interesting tie-in to languages (we are after all, a translations services company!) was authored by the globalization expert John Yunker. In his book “Think Outside the Country”, he cleverly condensed the world’s 7+ billion population into 100 (think percentages) and showed how the breakdown would look on a simple pie chart:
Mr. Yunker then used this to discuss how entities aiming for “global reach” can approach their growth strategies. As a specific example, he tied this to the 10 global world languages found on websites around the world. (The 10 languages are: English, Spanish (Latin American), Chinese, Portuguese, French, German, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Korean.) This is a nice “top 10” list to help – for example – companies who are looking to build global-facing websites.
Interested in learning more on this globalization? We recommend visiting the Wikipedia page on Globalization. This page has great information, as well as over 200 (!) other resources listed under the “references” section.
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