Will Brexit Usher Out the Globalization Era?

Impact of Brexit on the translation and localization industry

Brexit impact on Translation & LocalizationIt’s official. On June 23rd 2016 Britain voted to leave the European Union with a shocking display of 52% vs. 48% in favor to leave. 17.6 million people were overjoyed to hear the campaign had achieved its goal. The immediate results swept the globe as worldwide stock markets took an astounding hit and the English pound decreasing from $1.50 to $1.36 in one day. To leave a greater uncertainty for Britain’s future, Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down saying that he won’t be the captain of this new era of England.

So what does this mean for the E.U.?

With the E.U. losing a founding member, is it reasonable to assume that more European nations will take the course? France being another leading member of the E.U. has seen its fair share of reasons of why they would want to leave the E.U. With its less than excitable economy and plunging employment rates there is unsettling murmurs of a referendum vote over France’s membership in the E.U. The sudden influx of Syrian refugees and immigrants also doesn’t “butter their biscuit” so to speak with more problems appearing on the horizon. Right now, the major French officials aren’t all that enthusiastic about supporting a Frexit campaign but given enough time people may see the growing immigration problem and take an extreme solution to fix it.

Why is this happening?

Why are many European countries looking to claim individuality over unity? Isn’t a unified collective league of nations stronger than a divided continent? The answer is in their heritage. All these countries are unique and different in their own way and mixing in with all these other countries worries many into believing that their cultures and way of life, will disappear. An idea such as this appears to be laughable but a prime example of culture fading is found in the cheese industry. Each country around the world is famous for one or more locally produced cheeses, such as France’s Brie Cheese or Switzerland’s Emanthol or Swiss cheese. These local cheese industries are under fire from cheaper made cheese brands offered by global cheese providers who use automation, less quality ingredients, mass distribution and cheaper prices. More commonly, artisan goods are being replaced by cheaper factory made products that arise from an easily accessible Union of nations.

Another example lies in the easier immigration. Residents who live in a collective E.U. can find jobs more easily within all the countries present. This idea, although sounds great, actually reduces job opportunities for people who live in economic powerhouses, like the U.K., Germany and France, as workers from poorer nations clamor for their jobs at lower wages. This creates unrest and harbors resentment towards foreigners, xenophobia reborn if you will, prompting for a public referendum.

Impact on the Translation & Localization industry

“Globalization is about demolishing barriers—physical, geographic, political, cultural, economic, social, legal, religious, etc.—to enable collaboration, the sharing of ideas, and the conduct of commerce between people, companies or organizations outside local markets.” Nabil Freij, President of GlobalVision said back in 2011. “The more barriers an organization overcomes, the more global it becomes.” Brexit will create some export barriers, and its long term impact on the British Pound and the Euro will make U.S. products more costly in Europe. This could negatively affect exports of U.S. products to Europe but it will not stop it!

The situation in the E.U. may appear grim today, but no more than when Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) were on the verge of foreclosure. “Today’s concern should not create reluctance on companies seeking to go global to put off their international expansion plans and pull back focus to local markets only.” Said Freij back in 2010. “International business and globalization trends and momentum will not stop. All perhaps you need is a bit of readjustment and a lot of currency hedging!”

Indeed, with Brexit and possibly other nations existing the E.U., globalization momentum may slow down in the short term, but its positive long term trends are unstoppable. Brexit’s impact on the Translation & Localization industry? Minimal.


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