The GILT cycle, consisting of Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, and Translation, is a critical process in the language industry that interrelates different components to deliver goods and services across the world. At its core, GILT is about making organizations operate globally and multilingually, which includes restructuring business processes, products, and services to support customers in diverse markets. The overarching goal of this process is to support the localization and translation of content, while also creating mechanisms for efficient communication across languages and cultures.
Globalization, or “G11n,” is the broadest component of the GILT cycle, encompassing all of the business decisions and activities required to make an organization international in scope and outlook. This process involves adapting an organization to cope with the demands of going global, such as modifying technical, financial, managerial, personnel, marketing, and other enterprise decisions. Globalization occurs both before and after the localization-translation process and involves early stages, such as structuring organizations and products to operate globally, as well as post-stages, such as handling distribution or multilingual customer support after products or services are delivered.
From a theoretical standpoint, globalization has become a widely-used term to describe the flow of goods, people, capital, symbols, and images around the world facilitated by modern technological advances in media and information and communication technology. Globalization can be understood as a process that results in personalization and uniformity or difference in global initiatives of various kinds. Recent approaches incorporate both ends of the continuum when discussing globalization, recognizing that globalization generates both uniformity and difference, but in relation to each other.
Internationalization refers to the process of enabling a product at a technical level for localization. It involves developing the product independently of both the language and culture of production to ensure that it does not need to be re-engineered during the localization process. This means abstracting the functionality of a product away from any particular language so that language support can be added back in simply, without worrying that language-specific features will pose a problem when the product is localized. Successful internationalization enables software programs or websites to properly display different scripts or right-to-left languages such as such as Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, or Pashto during localization.
The localization process involves preparation, management, engineering, and quality testing of digital products, separate from the translation stage. Translation and localization providers often perform management, quality control, and business-related tasks, while translation itself is often outsourced to freelance translators or other language providers. Cloud-based approaches have further facilitated the localization market, with different stages of the process carried out in different countries. For example, in the case of Spanish, localization management and engineering tasks may be carried out in the United States, while translation may be carried out in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, or a combination of locations..
In conclusion, the GILT cycle is a comprehensive framework that involves interconnected processes to facilitate the globalization, internationalization, localization, and translation of goods and services. The cycle provides a mechanism for supporting diverse markets and efficient communication across languages and cultures, ultimately enabling organizations to operate truly internationally in scope and outlook.