Globalization of Virtual Events

August 6, 2009 - 2 Comments

imageWhen looking at a virtual event platform to serve more than one country or culture’s needs what should one consider? Language, imagery, interaction, time zone, content, and more oh my! 😉 Of course, I (and others I am sure) wish there was a simple formula but me thinks this is not so cut and dry based on the discussions I have been having with folks lately. Below are a few of the key factors currently being considered for globalizing the Cisco Live and Networkers Virtual platform. You will see many questions…without answers because there are no hard/fast rules to apply is what we are finding.


Content LocalizationThat some content must be provided in local language is a no brainer in my opinion. However how much and what content to localize is a bit contentious, not to mention which languages to offer. Does the entire session catalog need to be localized? Can you say budget prohibitive with current means (dubbing/sub-titles) of localizing webcast content? has an interesting approach to localizing content but can or better yet should we really rely on our user community to do the heavy translation lifting?User Interface LocalizationThe idea that the user interface needs to be localized is also a no brainer but to what degree? Registration pages? Basic navigation? In show community tools such as chatting and blogging? If you localize all how do you manage the fact that you may have very few folks contributing blogs in or wanting to chat in [insert language option here]? Does this leave folks who choose [again insert language option here] with the perception that the virtual experience does not have much to offer them?ImageryThis subject gets sticky for sure…What images resonate with the entire globe when it comes to navigation icons and 3D spaces? Is it acceptable to have images of both genders [I would hope so being female but…] within the environment? Is local attire necessary for images of people? Does a podium translate as an icon for an auditorium internationally? Do certain colors (red for example) translate as dangerous/risky for some cultures but lucky/fortuitous for others?So many questions to be answered! My hope is blogs like this will generate discussion with a global audience. This is not a subject that should be solved in a ‘western’ vacuum and I would be keen to hear your thoughts and ideas accordingly so please comment away.

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  1. Determining the proper content to localize can be one of the most important issues to be vetted. Leaving out particular content can kill attendance, but over localizing content will drain your event budget. Having the experience to know what individual geography audiences need is vital either through channels or your vendor. Full disclosure I work forviaLanguag , which is a localization vendor for various groups at Cisco.

  2. Good thoughts Dannette. I remember the day I checked my traffic rankings for an old blog and found somebody in a cafe in china reading my work, I think that is when it hit me…