Globalization: The future of 21st century society

Published on: 2019-08-09

The translation industry represents a 50-billion-dollar worldwide economy and its demand is growing. The discussion which follows represents a brief exploration of how the phenomenon of globalization both drives and necessitates better access to global person-to-person (P2P) networks. Globalization can be regarded as the process of increasing interconnectedness between our societies. The phenomenon has tied our economies more closely together, and thus also our cultures. Maybe as a child you once tried to take a tube of toothpaste and squeeze all of it out into the bathroom sink. Chances are that if you did this your parents were quite unhappy. Just as you could not put that toothpaste back in the tube, the economic, political, and social changes driven by globalization this century will be difficult to reverse. And perhaps this is a good, or even great thing. Here we explore several characteristics of globalization: economic transformation, communication, and the concept of cosmopolitan culture, and their implications upon our society.

Economic Transformation

The process of economic transformation, in simple terms, means shifting labor and productivity from lower value to higher value markets. In recent years this has included the relocation of traditional manufacturing jobs, as well as the emergence of numerous opportunities for entrepreneurship in web-based business. The 21st century economy will be a very different from that of the 20th. The technological revolution has built upon the progress of the industrial revolution and has changed both the developed and developing world in several fundamental ways. Most business today hinges upon the ability to reach target markets via the internet. Furthermore, those target markets no longer exist solely in our backyard anymore. You can be based in Pittsburgh with your target market six time-zones away – and these developments are here to stay. The skillsets and infrastructure from the pre-21st century business world have been rendered obsolete. Regardless of ones’ personal feelings on the issue, manufacturing concerns which have relocated elsewhere in the world are not returning. Success in the 21st century will require an increasingly global approach to marketing as well as awareness of where higher value markets will next emerge. Effective communication and insight into a world of increasingly diverse markets will be the lynchpin upon which success is based.

Communication

When the United States was a young nation it took six weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic from Europe. It wasn’t until the summer of 1927 that Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris, and even then, it took over 30 hours. Until its service was terminated in 2003, the Concorde jet shuttled passengers between the same two cities in just over 3 hours. Between 1950 and 1960 the cost of a 3-minute international phone call between Boston and London dropped from $12 to $3. Between 1975 and 1995, international telephone conversation time leaped from 4 to 60 billion minutes. And today, a quarter century later, those same international phone calls are a thing of the past. We now send upwards of 144 million emails every single minute. Long story short, the modern age has been a narrative of increasing efficiency in communications in a virtual collapse of time and space. There are few places around the globe we cannot connect with. We do so daily and our lifestyle now necessitates it. As with the phenomenon of economic transformation, this dramatic shift in how things are done is bringing increasingly into close communication with other countries, cultures, and peoples. The very concept of “otherness,” is in flux. In business, as in research, and social communications, the way we humans communicate is international in nature.

Cosmopolitan Culture

This word cosmopolitan comes from the Greek words “kosmos” meaning world, and “polis” meaning city. Our “world city,” or perhaps more appropriately “global village,” could not be more appropriate to this discussion on globalization. Recent acceleration in the process of economic transformation and progress in communication has drawn our once isolated corners of the world into the same interdependent network. The confluence of these two phenomena have created a tendency to act locally while thinking globally. We see this in our increased consciousness about the environment for example. In politics, business and industry, actions taken at the local and national levels necessarily create ripple effects that are felt globally, and it is no longer possible to compartmentalize decision-making processes as such. The cosmopolis we speak of is a city occupied by people from many different places and they are tenants in our global social-space and marketplace.

Global P2P translation networks

The concept of a global P2P network is both consistent with the globalization and its effects. The regions of the world have coalesced in a singular community and our ability to enjoy success in business, academia, and as social creatures, is contingent upon our ability to build bridges between the various camps within this global community. There is already a plethora of networks which facilitate these bridge-building opportunities. Uber and Air BNB are examples from the transportation and accommodation fields respectively. Our social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram already boast hundreds of millions of users worldwide. There is a gap in the market where multi-lingual communication is concerned, however. Presently, translations services provide regional and community-based solutions to the communications dilemma. These services are satisfactory insofar as traditionally demanded translation-based tasks, such as legal documents within common regional language pairings, are concerned. In terms of global accessibility, they fail both consumers and providers, however. Most translation services tailor their product to the immediate community thus neglecting demands outside of that scope, such as business opportunities looking to expand into that market. The traditional model also neglects many professionals and capable translators. Typical translation services have a limited number of available positions and those positions are based directly on the perception which the translation services have regarding their market. Say Wot is a global P2P translations network, not a service. Both translators, businesses, and entrepreneurs may connect over this network. Translators will find adequate demand for their expertise and compensation commensurate to their skillsets. Businesses and entrepreneurs will be able to connect with their target markets directly, without the time and cost of brokers and middlemen. As a global P2P translations network Say Wot embraces the pillars of globalization. We look forward what else the 21st century has in store.