Is Your Content Sensitive to — and Relevant for — Your Target Market?
One size does not fit all, and this is certainly true when it comes to the thousands of unique cultures that encompass the world. As unique as we all are, however, globalization encourages us to find ways to communicate effectively across borders. In fact, as the world’s economies gradually become more interdependent, businesses in virtually every industry are looking for viable solutions to connect successfully with consumers across diverse languages and cultures. But this can be a daunting and even overwhelming venture for many companies. If you are considering expansion into new regions, you might want to consider investing in cultural consultancy.
The Trend Toward Global Expansion
Lower operating costs. Higher quality talent pool. Greater access to quality suppliers and vendors. Increased customer base — expanding into new markets sure has its advantages but it also comes with many challenges.
Today, a growing number of industries are expanding their markets to reach a more diverse demographic. And although this is especially true for multinational corporations (MNCs), small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are also following suit. In fact, more than half of the SMB executives surveyed in a recent Researchscape reported having “customers and suppliers outside of the U.S…. [as well as a third having] employees outside the U.S.”1 The survey further revealed that by expanding internationally, SMBs were looking to gain access to more customers and find higher quality (and more affordable) suppliers, vendors, and employees.
Data Source: Foreign Exchange Services
But just how are these companies meeting the challenges of engaging with consumers and employees from diverse backgrounds? After all, their marketing collateral, website content, and eLearning material were likely originally written with one region in mind. If not evaluated and revised for new markets, content that worked well in a company’s domestic market might carry a completely different — and possibly negative — meaning elsewhere, even if written in the same language.
Engaging with Consumers from Diverse Backgrounds
Your marketing and onboarding teams might not speak the same language of your target markets or the languages of your newly hired employees, creating a communication challenge. However, even if some team members do speak the same language, they might hail from an entirely different region. And although you might think that speaking the same language will suffice in ensuring effective communication regardless of differences in geography, you would be mistaken. Consider the English language as an example. “More than 50 countries around the world use English as an official language.”2 Surely with this kind of geographic diversity comes a considerable number of linguistic and cultural variations as well.
In either scenario, the risk increases for misinterpretation of your content’s message. Luckily, there is an effective way to ensure your messaging remains accurate and positive in your new markets. Cultural consultancy involves working with a team of native linguists who evaluate the cultural appropriateness of each piece of content prior to translation. They assess the imagery, terminology, colors, symbolism, roleplays, and general relevance of the source content for use in the new market prior to beginning any localization work. Cultural consultants will also evaluate your eLearning course material to ensure it resonates with your new international employees.
Cultural Consultancy Enhances Localization
Localization involves a thorough review of a company’s publicly-accessible translated content. This can be particularly powerful when developing eLearning material for multilingual users. From imagery and colors to instructional material and videos, localization specialists evaluate the translated content to ensure it resonates with the intended audience. But cultural consultancy goes one step further. Cultural consultants enhance the localization process by reinforcing the localized content to ensure the themes and messaging are sensitive to — and relevant for — the new market. This nuanced process is pivotal for companies wishing to establish and maintain strong relationships with their diverse target markets and international employees.
All companies want to communicate effectively, establish a positive rapport, and build trust with their employees and customers. After all, cultivating relationships is thought to be one of the most important objectives for any successful company. By investing in cultural consultancy for your eLearning materials and marketing collateral, you’ll help to ensure you and your team communicate authentically, moving well beyond a one-dimensional perspective of the world and of its diverse people.
Cultural Consultancy for Learning and Development
Global expansion requires unique preparation. In order to fully understand your target audience, it is imperative that you do your homework. Each region of the world has its own unique history oftentimes coupled with complex social, political, and economic struggles. For these reasons, it is critical that you pay attention to these differences and respect your target audience’s desire to preserve their cultural and linguistic identity. But what about companies wishing to hire international team members? These individuals will need linguistic and cultural support.
International employees will need access to quality training material, onboarding documentation, and possibly even safety guidelines translated and localized into their preferred languages. With the help of cultural consultants, you can rest assured that your content will not only be written in your audience’s preferred language but that it will flow “naturally” as though it was originally created with them in mind. Dismissing this vital step as you expand globally might not bode well for your company’s reputation.
Global Lingo — Global Readiness Experts
Global Lingo works closely with our clients to help you understand the importance of effective multilingual communication that goes well beyond translated content. We help you successfully connect with your target market by ensuring your business culture, eLearning courses, and company regulations all resonate with your international customers and employees. And we don’t just talk the talk — we walk the walk.
In just over a decade in business, Global Lingo has successfully expanded with international teams now located in five global offices. Our cultural consultants are specialized linguists and writers dedicated to providing you with highly personalized service from start to finish. If you are ready to expand globally, Global Lingo is ready for you. Connect with Global Lingo today.
1 “Global Expansion Meets Domestic and International Challenges.” Confidence Indicator Report, USF REX Foreign Exchange Services, May 2016, www.ofx.com/-/media/files/pdfs/temp/confidence_indicator_report_usforex_final.pdf/.
2 ALTA Language Services. “5 Surprising Facts About Countries with English as an Official Language.” ALTA Language Services, 14 Nov. 2020, www.altalang.com/beyond-words/countries-with-english-official-language/.