How Localization and Body Language Are Interrelated – Guide For Business Owners?

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Author: Richa Maurya
Category: Localization Blog   Translation Blog   

In international business meetings and promotion campaigns, localization and body language are imperative aspects. If you want to give a persuasive first impression on your business clients or customers, it is important to think about the proper use of body languages. Ensure that you avoid the use of all rude gestures or signs that lead to unwanted offense or insult.

What Do You Mean By Localization?

Many people often get confused between localization & translation, and usually considers both as similar concepts. But, in reality, there are major differences between these terms, so never relates these things together. If you’re not sure what is localization, and why you need it, here’s a quick overview of it. Localization is the process of changing content, modifying graphics, or a product details to a targeted market or a region. This is a wide concept with translation only one of its part.

Localization can be done for service materials, disclosure documents, product manuals, website, web support, quick-start guides, and more.

Who Needs Localization?

Anyone who aims to reach the international customers can avail the benefits of localization. According to a report in 2014, around 75% of customers said that they buy products & services, when find details in their native lingo. By adapting the content according to the buyer persona role, you can allow your business to build credibility, boost sales volume, and develop a brand reputation.

Guide For Body Languages/Gestures

1)- Thumbs Up

The gesture of thumbs-up is usually a sign of approval or agree with something, in most of the nations such as Russia, Australia, USA, Canada, and the UK. But, it does not have the same meaning in other countries. This sign with the thumb can be considered an objectionable gesture in Iran, Thailand, Iraq, and others. In European and American countries, thumbs-up shows that everything is going perfectly as decided. However, in Asian and Islamic nations, it turns into a rude gesture. It is ok to use this sign in Australia, but do not move it up and down, as doing this may show insult.

☞  Origin of Thumbs-up sign

♦ This gesture may have originally come from the Roman Coliseum, where gladiator’s fate was determined by the spectators.

♦ According to another study, this sign comes from World War II pilots, who are directing each other in the air.

Important Advice: Keep thumbs safely folded away if you’re not aware of its meaning in a specific country. Taking support from professionally-trained experts is a success mantra for businesses, as they very well understand the meaning of every sign/gesture, and use them appropriately as per the country’s custom.

2)- The V Sign

In this sign, where middle and index fingers are raised, V stands for victory. It is often related to Winston Churchill, a former British PM (prime minister). During the 2nd world war, he used V sign for victory.

☞  Origin of V sign

This sign initially appeared in Belgium. Victor De Laveleve (a tennis star), through BBC radio broadcast, asked
Belgians to use alphabet V (victoire) as a rallying symbol.
It was first a derogatory sign.
V sign was widely used in January 1941.
In the US, it became a gesture of peace during the 60s.

Important Advice: To optimize the marketing localization process at the fullest in UK, South Africa, and Australia, avoid the use of V sign made with palm looking inwards, as it relates with the term obscene.

3)- Gesturing With Feet

In many cultures, shoes are regarded as dirty, and the bottom of the feet is associated as the body’s lowest part. It shows that you’re insulting your hosts, and showing rude behavior towards them, if you point your feet at someone, or on the table. Crossed legs or sitting with the ankle on the knee are also the wrong signs.

Important Advice: Keep your feet straight on the ground if you’re sitting on the chair. Tuck feet underneath you while resting on the floor with sitting position.

4)- A-OK

Mostly, this sign denotes positivity or everything is perfect in Western countries. But its meaning gets changed, on the basis of countries or localities. Here’s an example of its varying meaning –

In France, it shows that a person is incompetent or good-for-nothing.

In Brazil, Turkey, and other South American nations, A-Ok is a sign associated with being offensive.

In Denmark and Italy, it can be a sign of insult.

In Japan, it is a sign related to money.

In Latin American nations, it denotes obscene.

In Arab nations, using this sign means you’re saying someone, ‘you’ll see!’ in an aggressive voice.

Important Advice: Among all localization tips for Arab market and others, it is advised to simply say that everything is good, instead of using this sign.

5)- Beware of Wrong Gestures That May Upset Your Target Audience

Body language plays a vital role in communication. It is believed that the brain gathers the nonverbal cues much faster than spoken words. During business meetings, you may even have to learn more than saying ‘hello’, or ‘nice to meet you’. Besides these words and good personality, you may have to research the culture of a targeted market to know which body language to use and which one to avoid.

Use of wrong gestures can easily offend your international business partner and audience. To help you to reach the potential market effortlessly, Tridindia provides the comprehensive support of localization. The team specializes in a wide range of sources such as software user interface, e-learning material, packaging & labeling, multimedia, help systems, product documentation, and lots more.

So, don’t let your unconscious signs convey the wrong or the unintended meaning of your message. Contact us through email or call us on +91-8527599523 to know how experts can better help you with localization efforts.

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About

Greetings everyone, my name is Richa Maurya and over the past three years I’m working in translation industry as a freelancer. My experience has taught me that this is one of the most significant and crucial responsibility that I’ve been playing in my life. Through posting articles, I like to bring out some of the most challenging facts that I face every day.


image 1 credit to freepik

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Richa Maurya
Author: Richa Maurya
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