Content is the most important part of global business promotion. But, failing to understand the cultural considerations in translation can cost you a lot. Most of the businesses simply regard translation as the medium to convert words or phrases from one language to another, without focusing on the cultural implications. As a result, their marketing strategies fail badly in the target market. Being an entrepreneur, it is pivotal to understand the cultural aspects in translation; you need to know that what is acceptable in your country, might be offensive or some kind of breach of legality in the target country.
Culture takes multiple factors into account, viz. literacy, art, ideologies, language, dialect, religion and syntax. So, even if you are translating content for multiple countries that are very similar in many ways, you will still have to keep track of the cultural differences, as a minor difference too, can be a threat to your business.
Importance of Culture in Translation for International Audiences
As is implied from the above description, translation and culture are completely inseparable. Hence, before we go any further, you must understand why are cultural considerations so important in business translations. Basically, the sole aim of creating a marketing copy for international audiences is to promote your service, product or cause on a global scale. So, if the advertising copy, instead of boosting the sales, creates an unintended humor or offense in the target market, what would be the result? Obviously, if would be a great loss for your business. All of your marketing tactics would go waste, by not giving the desired attention to the ‘relationship between translation and culture’.
Localization for website, mobile app, marketing collaterals and other contents is the major factor here. It is the art of adapting a specific content as per the culture and local customs of the target market. This cultural knowledge is applied to an already-translated content, to make it culturally perfect for the target masses.
For example, using ‘putting your feet up’ as a marketing slogan in the US might work well for your business. But, translating the same and using it as the slogan in Middle East or some parts of Asia might be perilous, as it may be considered impolite to show feet.
Cultural Implications in Translating Medical Content
Apart from advertising materials, cultural considerations are also important while translating medical content. These types of content are very sensitive in nature. Hence, translators often face challenges in translating healthcare documents, and that too with cultural factors in mind. However, if you outsource the services from a reputed service provider, eliminating medical translation obstacles would be a no big deal.
The translator must have the knowledge to spot the difference among cultural norms, individuality and general trends. The sensitivities in healthcare practices can differ a lot between Native American cultures and typical Western culture in the US. Any discrepancy in translating the content, both language and culture-wise, would be a huge matter of life and death.
This goes the same with interpretation as well. While interpreting a medical content for the target audience, an interpreter must keep the cultural considerations in mind.
Cultural Differences in Translation
Every country in this huge world is different, in terms of culture and language they speak. Hence, there are bound to be cultural problems in translation, if the translator doesn’t pay attention to the country-specific cultural conditions. By now, you must have understood that the traditions, customs, beliefs and other factors related to one’s culture are deeply ingrained in the people. Hence, international translation services are more than just linguistic conversion. The translator you hire should be highly sensitive towards the cultural implications.
Here are some of the major cultural translation examples that highlights the major factors, while translating for specific countries –
The concept of having a family and the values related to it may be completely different among different cultures. In Asian countries, family generally means members, who are related to each other by marriage or by blood. A man and a woman marry each other and raise a child. However, in countries where gay marriages are legally allowed, the concept of family may be completely different. So, creating same advertising copies for both of these markets would be very tricky.
China follows a culture of giving immense respect to any person, depending upon his or her position in the family, workplace or society. Hence, using an advertising copy that makes fun of someone facing embarrassment, would seriously not work in the Chinese market. It may be very offending for the audiences.
c) Cross-Cultural Business Behavior/ Etiquettes
Understanding the patterns of cross-cultural business etiquettes is also important to make sure that your marketing copy work wonders in the target market. For example, in some countries women are considered to be the major pillar in the workplace, whereas in some Middle Eastern countries, women, in comparison to males, do not enjoy the freedom to work in many job roles, due to cultural attitudes.
Last but not the least; color is one of the major factors that need to be taken care of, while considering cultural implications. This is important because a simple color can have different meanings in different countries. For example, red color denotes sensuality, purity and spirituality in India. In Japan, it denotes power, energy and vitality and in UK, it is related to love. However, for Africa, it is a sign of death. Hence, the promotional materials should be designed, keeping in mind the color considerations as well.
Dealing With Cultural Diversity or Culture Barriers
Problems of translation will keep haunting you until and unless you understand how to tackle cultural and language issues. 21% of consumers agree to the fact that they simply boycott a brand, if it causes offences in the target market. Hence, if your brand is unable to translate the content culturally specific, you lose all the chances to grow your business in that particular market. Even social media promotion would not help you, if the translation is not perfect.
Therefore, it is suggested to use localization, before publishing the content in the international market. Culturally appropriate content can only be made available via accurate international localization services. Basically, it is a part of translation and you would easily find reputed service providers in the market. Tridindia is a major brand that deals in delivering pristine grade translation and localization solutions in more than 250 Indian and foreign languages. The company is associated with professional experts, who are well aware of the cultural differences and language nuances. Hence, translation would become easy with these super talented guys.
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