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

1
Global Digital Marketing Japan

Posted by Doug McGowan on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

We previously published a post on what companies can do with their corporate names when entering China. When entering Japan, corporate names are pretty straightforward—either keep them in English or render them in katakana. But when it comes to slogans and taglines, it’s not as simple. Do you keep them in English or localize them into Japanese?
2
Localization Insider Events

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 @ 10:46 AM

There will be lots to enjoy at LocWorld36 Tokyo, taking place at the Hilton Tokyo Bay from April 3rd to the 5th. Lots of insightful and informative presentations and workshops. Lots of chances to meet old friends, make new friends, and be successful. But here we’d like to introduce you to a few things that might not have been on your radar.
3
Localization Insider

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 08:16 AM

Japanese website design is cluttered because that’s what the Japanese market calls for. It’s driven by the need to have information readily available up front; a need that’s hard-wired into the consumer culture of Japan. Or at least, that’s the argument I made in a previous article. Now, please join me as I attempt to sniff out some more insights into Japanese website design and UX.
4
Localization Insider

Posted by Doug McGowan on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

Dàjiā hǎo! (大家好; Hi everyone!) Microsoft’s AI language app “Microsoft Learn Chinese” helps you to, well, learn Chinese. Which is not to say it will interpret for you, translate for you, or communicate for you. What it does is listen to your attempts at speaking Chinese, use Artificial Intelligence to figure out what you’re trying to say, and point out how you can improve. It doesn’t replace you. It makes you better!
5
Localization Insider

Posted by Doug McGowan on Thu, Dec 07, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

Anybody who visits Japanese websites will be struck by their loud banners, dense text, multiple columns, lots of tiny images, and an overall busy, crowded look. There are many articles explaining the reasons for this phenomenon, and I agree with them…but I also believe there is something deeper that continues to keep Japanese web design this way despite years of progress.
6
In the News

Posted by Doug McGowan on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 @ 03:48 AM

You know how sometimes when you look at something, it makes you think of something else? Well, that happens when I see the short film/music video Shelter. After getting past the impact of the story, this piece always gets me thinking about the enormous reach of collaboration and localization. Maybe it will for you, too—if you have marketing on the brain.
7
Localization Insider

Posted by Doug McGowan on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 @ 10:47 AM

Being a (successful) Japanese person requires certain soft skills. The Japanese language, and Japanese society, are highly contextual, so you need to be sensitive to what’s being said as well as what’s not being said. It’s not uncommon for Japanese folks to go that extra mile without being asked to. Unfortunately, positive characteristics like those can be the root cause of unexpected problems. If you work with Japanese linguists, this short list of traits can go a long way in helping you avoid trouble.
8
Localization Insider Testing and Engineering

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.
9
Localization Insider

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. 
10
Localization Insider Deep Dive

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.

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Globally Speaking is a program for and from localization professionals.