Doug McGowan

Born to an Irish-American father and Japanese mother, I found my “calling” at age 9 when an elderly stranger, out of the blue, told me “I hope you can become a bridge between your countries.” Throughout my career in tourism, publication, advertising, and localization, that defining moment has remained my beacon, and through Moravia I’m taking that experience into the future.
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Recent Posts

Localization Insider Internationalization

Three Big Things Japanese Companies Are (or Should Be) Doing to Become More Globally Competitive

Posted by Doug McGowan on Fri, Oct 06, 2017 @ 05:50 AM

After reigning atop the World Competitiveness Rankings for half a decade between 1988 and 1992, Japan’s global ranking slipped—way down to 26th for 2017. It’s still the third largest economy in the world, but its economic engine seems to be stuck in idle. End of story? Hold on, let’s take a look at what Japan Inc. is doing to get un-stuck.
Localization Insider

Contracts and Common Sense: How to Avoid Trouble in Japan (and Elsewhere)

Posted by Doug McGowan on Fri, Sep 08, 2017 @ 03:53 AM

You’re doing business with Japan. You found a great partner there, the contracts are all signed, everything’s legit, and you're ready for success. But to avoid any unnecessary snags along the way, take that extra step to make sure all parties involved are speaking the same language, even if they're not. 
Localization Insider Deep Dive

East-West Rivalry: A Key to Understanding Japan

Posted by Doug McGowan on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 @ 11:41 AM

  Japan Inc. A monolithic society with people of the same ethnicity, sharing the same language, the same values, and wearing the same business suits. That might be your image of Japan, but take a closer look and you’ll see a gaping crack right down the middle.
Localization Insider

Reaching the Japanese Customer Might Go Smoother with Jazz

Posted by Doug McGowan on Tue, Aug 08, 2017 @ 09:41 AM

In a previous article we talked about how you can leverage manga comics for your marketing in Japan thanks to the country’s love of toons. Today we’ll look at music as a way to give you the advantage. And, no, it’s not the catchy pop tunes you might expect, but rather the not-so-new genre of Jazz.
In the News

Coming Together to Make Translation Newsworthy (for the Right Reasons)

Posted by Doug McGowan on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 06:45 AM

In an era when so many of the world’s people can agree on so little, it was a joy to learn that the United Nations General Assembly on May 24th adopted UN Resolution A/71/288, recognizing “the role of professional translators in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development.” The same resolution also officially recognized September 30th as “International Translation Day,” so be sure to mark your calendars.
In the News

How Rakuten Achieved in Less than a Decade What Took Centuries of British Colonial Rule: English Literacy

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Jun 05, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

In March 2010, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani stood before 3,000 of his mainly Japanese employees in Tokyo (and many more viewing remotely) and announced that English would be the company’s new lingua franca...to many a jaw hitting the floor. And in less than a decade, Rakuten has become fully functional in English—with an average employee score of over 800 on the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).
SEO Global Marketing

Shortcut to China SEO: What’s Different Between Google and Baidu [Infographic]

Posted by Doug McGowan on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 05:18 AM

If your job involves SEO, chances are you already know a lot about how Google ranks websites, and how to optimize your site accordingly. But in China, where Google exited in 2010, the search engine you need to optimize for is Baidu. So do you need to learn a whole new set of rules? 
Localization

How to Leverage High Quality TTS Voices for a Localization-to-Vocalization Solution

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Have you ever been frustrated at having to find and audition narrators for each language, and book the recording studios, only to have an unexpected revision require re-recording at a later date? For e-learning and training videos, the solution may just be Text-to-Speech (TTS). And for languages other than English, that solution might best be sourced from a local entity that really knows the language.
Localization

A Lighthearted Look at What Neural Machine Translation Can (But Shouldn’t) Do

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 @ 12:36 PM

Undeniably, the most familiar and accessible Neural MT (NMT) engine is Google Translate. You probably use it quite often. And the results look really good. Sentences read very fluently, without the telltale signs of machine translation. Herein lies the biggest pitfall of NMT—it just looks so darn good.
Localization Insider

Three Benefits of Editing Your Marketing Copy Pre-Localization

Posted by Doug McGowan on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 09:55 AM

Marketing copy often falls victim to being mistranslated into other languages, as creative colloquialisms and cutting edge slogans unintentionally get lost in translation. A quick search on the web will yield lots of examples of marketing translation fails, such as KFC’s iconic “finger lickin’ good” being translated as “eat your fingers off” in Chinese. But without being so spectacularly embarrassing, the way you handle your source text can result in translations that just don’t get the job done.

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Globally Speaking is a program for and from localization professionals.