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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 13794
Targeting language markets through Web localization: A case study of a digital cloud service
Author: Taanonen, Mari
Title: Targeting language markets through Web localization: A case study of a digital cloud service
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; digitaalitekniikka; digital technology; palvelut; service; kielet; languages; kääntäminen; translation; e-business; e-business; asiakkaat; customers; kokemus; experience
Pages: 109
Full text:
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Key terms: Web localization; translation; language; digital service; cloud service; user experience; online customer experience
Language and translation issues are a current and important topic in international business and marketing, as companies operate in an increasingly global and multilingual business environment. Yet, language issues have received relatively little attention in academic research due to the fact that language is often seen as a sub-category of culture and thus studied as a part of other cross-cultural aspects. In this study, the focus is on language and translation. Most people use the Internet in their non-native language, hence it is important to understand how language affects Internet usage and user attitudes. The objective of this study was to better understand the role of language in Web localization, and more specifically, in localization of a digital cloud service. The issue was studied from both the perspective of the service provider and the service user. The service provider's perspective focused on studying the language-related issues that occur during a localization process. The user's perspective, on the other hand, relied on a single user's attitudes and perceptions towards the importance of using one's native language in a cloud service.

The study was conducted as a mixed-method case study including both qualitative and quantitative data. The object of the case study was a recently launched Finnish cloud service, younited by F-Secure. The qualitative data was collected through individual and group interviews of six people at the case company and the quantitative data through an online survey of the users of the cloud service. The survey instrument was provided in four languages: English, Finnish, Swedish, and German. A total of 315 responses were obtained. The qualitative data was analyzed through thematic content analysis and the quantitative data through various quantitative research methods, including cross-tabulation, exploratory factor analysis, t-tests and analysis of variance.

The results of the study indicate that even though a digital service can plausibly be launched in English, reaching a significant market share requires localization. Therefore to reach full market potential, localization of digital services should be targeted to language markets instead of geographical areas. In addition, the survey results show that the need for localized Web content varies between users depending on age, English-language competence, level of technological adaptation, and English orientation. Furthermore, early adopters of a new digital cloud service do not seem to desire localized Web content, but they highly appreciate the quality of the language. This group of users is characterized by competent language skills and heavy use of Internet and other IT services. The majority of early adopters were men between the age of 21 and 45. In conclusion, the concept of localization should be seen in a new way in the context of digital services. The development cycle of digital services is too fast for traditional, profound localization systems to function effectively. Consequently, the findings illustrate that translation, language quality and technical suitability of the language are the key drivers of successful localization in the context of digital services.
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