Language has the power to shape our culture. Consumers and clients judge a brand by the words a brand chooses to communicate its values, differentiators and offers. It’s the crux of any marketing or advertising campaign. Even the lack of words can say absolutely everything you want your audiences to know when you realize a picture could be worth a thousand “shares”.
But writing is a delicate art. One that requires skill and care. You can’t just smash at your keyboard and expect content that will drive results. It is critical to understand the nuances of language, particularly if it’s in one with which you’re not familiar. More importantly, you must make sure that your word choices clearly express your intent in a way that makes sense for your product or service – across a diverse audience.
Don’t Get Lost in Translation
The urban legendof the Chevrolet Nova failing in Spanish-speaking countries because it translated to “doesn’t go” best serves as a reminder of “awareness”. It demonstrates why companies should invest in research before expanding their offerings beyond their initial target demographics.
For businesses whose reach spans the international markets, employ qualified, experienced consultants or team members to help best navigate the nuances of the languages and cultures in questions. This will provide valuable insights to the words, idioms, gestures, color schemes, release dates and other factors to protect and bolster your brand.
Localize and Humanize
Localization is simply tailoring a message, content or product to best fit a new market. This usually includes a translation of content in the vernacular or language of the audience in that location – but may also include modifying the product as well. Meaning, it’s more than just translating the content. It becomes a strategy that includes thinking about your product or service from the very beginning of the experience with your brand.
Customer Journey Mapping plays a vital role in this process. It combines the localization with the “human” touch points of the brand. Social media has changed the expectations of how today’s customer expects to dialogue with a business. This isn’t just about adding personality to your content, it’s about considering the personas of the audience members as unique members of the culture in which they will receive your message. Generic advertising and marketing messages have become less effecting when they do not consider the “human feel” or the “cultural meaning”.
Consider the best practices of content marketing as you go through the steps of engagement to help streamline your communications path and minimize your costs of localization. For example:
- Messaging and content should use clear, concise language
- Incorporate simple language structure where possible, including technical white papers
- Remove jargons, idioms, metaphors, puns, or other creative language
- Use consistent structure for procedure and reference information and refrain from variation
- When using metaphors, consider the literal language translation and provide alternatives
- Limit the amount of text in graphics, using editable layers for digital translation automation
Here’s the opportunity to start the conversation. For more tips on how to expand your reach and impact with multi-cultural content marketing, feel free to reach out to the Vista 14 team.