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Culturally Customizing Web Sites


Culturally Customizing Web Sites
Part II

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@Lionbridge

Presented by Dr. Nitish Singh www.globalizationexecutive.com
Moderated by Kathleen Bostick
November 2009
Slide 1

I1 All material in the presentation is copyright-Nitish Singh, Saint Louis University


ITS, 11/24/2008
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Introductions

Dr.  Nitish Singh 
Assistant Professor of International Business at Boeing Institute 
of International Business at Saint Louis Universityy
ncsingh72@gmail.com
Dr. Singh is also the co‐author of the critically acclaimed book: The 
Culturally Customized Web Site: Customizing Websites for the Global 
M k l
Marketplace
Ph.D. in Marketing and International Business from Saint Louis 
University and an MBA and MA from Universities in India and the UK
Program leader: Executive Certificate in Web Globalization 
Program leader: Executive Certificate in Web Globalization
Management
Kathleen Bostick
VP Global Business Development, Lionbridge
p g
kathleen.bostick@lionbridge.com
More than 15 years experience in the translation and localization 
industry
Responsible for creating world‐class global marketing programs for 
Lionbridge’s global language and translation strategic business unit

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About Lionbridge

Global Scale Market Leadership


4,600 employees 26 countries Leader in $14B services industry
• Global network of 25,000 translators • Translation and adaptation of products
and content for international markets

Hosted Technology Global Clients


Web-based
W bb d language
l technology
t h l Recurring relationships with 500+
platform global clients
• Enhances competitive advantage • 80% of revenue comes from recurring clients
• Drives efficiency • 12 of the Fortune 20 companies are client

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What is a Culturally Customized web site?

A web site that reflects complete “immersion” in the culture of the 
target market

A web site that addresses three levels of cultural adaptation: perception, 
symbolism, and behavior

A web site that that goes beyond simple translation, 
and cosmetic adaptation when targeting different
and cosmetic adaptation when targeting different 
countries and/or cultures

In short, Cultural Customization begins where 
basic “localization” ends

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What is a Culturally Customized web site?

The basis for cultural customization of web sites is a theoretically‐
sound, empirically‐validated framework built on specific cultural 
values that account for similarities and differences across global 
l th t t f i il iti d diff l b l
cultures

Presented in the book, 
“The Culturally Customized Web Site”

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Cultural Values

Cultural values
Individualism‐Collectivism

Power Distance

Uncertainty Avoidance 

Masculinity‐Femininity

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Cultural Values

Individualism‐Collectivism
A belief in the importance of the goals of the individual 
(individualism) versus the goals of the group (collectivism)
In individualistic cultures the needs values and goals of an
In individualistic cultures, the needs, values, and goals of an 
individual take precedence over group goals; the opposite is 
true for collectivistic cultures

Power Distance
A belief in authority and hierarchy
Cultures high on power distance accept power and 
hierarchy in the society and are low on egalitarianism
hierarchy in the society and are low on egalitarianism.

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Cultural Values

Uncertainty Avoidance 
The importance of predictability, structure, and order (high 
Th i f di bili d d (hi h
uncertainty avoidance) versus a willingness for risk‐taking and an 
acceptance of ambiguity and limited structure (low uncertainty 
avoidance) 
avoidance)
People from cultures high on uncertainty avoidance tend to have 
low tolerance for uncertainty and avoid ambiguous situations

Masculinity‐Femininity
A belief in achievement and ambition (masculine) versus a belief in 
A belief in achievement and ambition (masculine) versus a belief in
nurturing and caring for others (feminine)
Masculine cultures value assertiveness, material possessions, and 
success while feminine cultures place more value on helping
success, while feminine cultures place more value on helping 
others, preserving the environment, quality of life, and nurturance 
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Cultural Map‐1
Web Features‐1

Web Features for Customization Web Features for Customization
Soft –sell Approach Quizzes and Games
ex
dance Inde

Aesthetics Realism Theme
Product Effectiveness
Clear Gender Roles
ainty Avoid

Web Features for Customization Web Features for Customization
Uncerta

f ll h
Customer Service Soft‐Sell Approach Customer Service Quizzes and Games
Guided Navigation Aesthetics Guided Navigation Realism Theme
Tradition Theme Tradition Theme Product Effectiveness
Local Stores Local Stores Clear Gender Roles
Local Terminology
Local Terminology Local Terminology
Local Terminology
Free Trails/Downloads Free Trails/Downloads
Toll Free Numbers Toll Free Numbers
Transaction Security Transaction Security

Masculinity-Femininity index
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Cultural Map‐2
Web Features‐2
Small power distance  Large power distance 
Collectivist Collectivist
Web Features for Customization Web Features for Customization
Firm Hierarchy Info
Firm Hierarchy Info Clubs/Chat Rooms
Clubs/Chat Rooms
ollectivism
m

Clubs/Chat Rooms Images of Management Newsletter


Newsletter Quality Assurance Family Theme
Family Theme Vision Statement National Identity
National Identity Pride of Ownership Loyalty Programs
Loyalty Programs
Loyalty Programs Links to Local Sites
Links to Local Sites
dualism-Co

Links to Local Sites Relevant Titles 

Web Features for Customization Web Features for Customization
Individ

Privacy Statement Firm Hierarchy Info
i i h f Privacy Statement
Independence Theme Images of Management Independence  Theme
Product Uniqueness Quality Assurance Product Uniqueness
Personalization Vision Statement Personalization
Pride of Ownership
Pride of Ownership
Relevant Titles 
Small power distance  Large power distance 
Individualist Individualist

Power-Distance index
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Cultural Customization Score Card

Given the target country of a web site, we can quantify (in the form of 
a “scorecard”) the extent of cultural customization of that site

We use “content analysis” (a specific statistical technique) to measure 
the degree to which the web site has features consistent with the 
target country’s cultural values. The scores listed in the scorecard can 
judged as follows:
judged as follows: 

>90% = Excellent Customization on Cultural Value
70‐89%
70 89% = Good Customization on Cultural Value
Good Customization on Cultural Value
<70% = Poor Customization on Cultural Value

The scorecard provides a “snapshot” diagnosis of the level of 
Cultural customization (or the lack thereof) for the target country, 
presently exhibited by that site. 

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Cultural Customization Score Card

The Cultural Customization ScorecardTM
Website:
Target Country:

Values Individualism Collectivism Uncertainty  Power  Masculinity Low  High 


Avoidance Distance Contest Context

Cultural Not  5/30 26/40 9/20 5/15 Not  5/15


Scores Relevant 16.67% 65.00% 45.00% 33.33% Relevant 33.33%

Note: we offer detailed analyses and recommendations to effectively modify the site so that it is 
Optimally customized to a specific country/culture. Further, we also odder services to help design 
p y p f y/ , p g
new sites customized to targeted countries/cultures. For more information on these services, 
please contact: singhn2@slu.edu
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Examples

What collectivist feature is being used


here to hit the sweet spot?

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Family Theme

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Example

What Individualist feature is being used 
here to hit the sweet spot? 

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Example

What feature is being used here to lower


uncertainty and hit the sweet spot?

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Example

What Individualist feature is being used 
here to hit the sweet spot? 
here to hit the sweet spot?

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Example

Excite
E it Japan:
J Devoted
D t d
exclusively to women
(www.excite.co.jp).

www.toshiba.co.jp

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Reverse Sexism

Scooter for Men
Scooty for Women!

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Yahoo! Localization 

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Yahoo! Localization 

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Localization

Chinese site shows auspicious dragons, and liberal use of red and gold 
depicting happiness and power respectively  (www.avl.com).
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Colors
Different colors mean different things to people in different cultures. This is
because colors have a high symbolic value among different cultures.

Most liked colors in Countries:


Most liked colors in Countries:
Austria: Blue, green and white (Least liked: Purple and Gold)

Brazil: White Blue and Green (Least liked: Orange and Gold)
Brazil: White, Blue and Green (Least liked: Orange and Gold)

Canada: Black, Blue and White (Least liked: Gold and Brown)

Colombia: Blue, white and green (Least liked: Orange and Brown)

Hong Kong: White Blue and Black (Least liked: Orange and Brown)
Hong Kong: White, Blue and Black (Least liked: Orange and Brown)

Taiwan: Blue, White and Purple (Least liked: Red and Gold)

U.S: Blue, Green and Black (Least liked: Orange and Yellow)
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Color Advice

Edwards outlines three basic rules for color use: 
Keep it functional: that is to say that the meaning of the color 
b i
being used should be clear for its intended use. 
d h ld b l f it i t d d
Keep it context dependent: since color usage is also context 
dependent –make sure you understand the context and its cultural 
significance. 
Research potential conflicts: ensure that color choice won’t 
contract sharply with nearby locales or intended context.
contract sharply with nearby locales or intended context.  

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Color Categories

Cross‐cultural differences in 
categorizing color and color 
ii l d l
combinations arise because 
the cultural vocabulary 
limits the color 
discriminations people can 
make.
make

For Example, Indians 
p ,
distinguish between various 
shades of brown

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Mark Your Calendars!

Lionbridge Webcast: Designing and Localizing Websites for the 
Chinese Market: Do's and Don'ts

Thursday, December 10, 2009
12:00 p.m. EST,  6:00 p.m. CET
p , p

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Knowledge Center

Download White Papers

• Building Stronger Brands Around the World: A Guide 
to Effective Global Marketing
to Effective Global Marketing
• Strengthening Global Brands: Key Steps for 
Meaningful Communications around the World
• Building a Global Web Strategy: Best Practices for 
Developing your International Online Brand
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View Webinars On‐Demand

• The Art and Science of Global Navigation
• The Best Global Web Sites (and Why)
• Mastering Multilingual Marketing

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Questions? 

Dr. Nitish Singh
singhn2@slu.edu
www.globalizationexecutive.com
g

Kathleen Bostick
kathleen.bostick@lionbridge.com
http://twitter.com/KathleenBostick

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Lionbridge
www.lionbridge.com
http://blog.lionbridge.com
htt //t itt
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