Globalization, Localization, and Transcreation


From the NY Times today, by way of the Wheels Blog's coverage of the Detroit Auto Show:
By far the most lavish display is from the Korean company CT&T, which has an ambitious expansion plan for the United States. According to its Web site, “We CT&T are manufacturing environment-friendly Electric Vehicles for your dreams come true with the talented and the stable know-hows.” [emphasis added]
An electric patrol car from CT&T.

Here is another situation where somebody at C&T really should have asked a few key questions of somebody in the United States, e.g. "Does what we wrote on our home page make any sense whatsoever?" and "Would police officers in the U.S. ever be caught dead riding in a vehicle that looks like a cheap toy?"
In both cases, of course, the answer would be NO.
In the first instance, as anyone who has used Google Translator knows, translation is not the same as Localization or Globalization, where a literal translation is scrutinized for relevance to the culture(s) that will be viewing it, and modified accordingly so that it makes sense, culturally.
On the second item, a little market research would have shown that displaying this as a true police vehicle turns it into a joke, while one can imagine that had it been done up as a private security vehicle, it would have made much more sense to an American audience. I can't even imagine the most progressive cities such as Portland, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, etc. using these carts as true police cruisers. The Sun City Safety Patrol? Now that's a different matter.
The moral: Work with a local agency to develop marketing communications and product lines, and you'll save yourself considerable expense and embarassment.

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