Understanding Cultural Gaps in Localization

Cultural Gaps in Localization
Cultural Gaps in Localization

Culture is the life-blood of the languages spoken by natives. How people speak English in the USA is very different from how people speak English in Europe. Both of these regions follow different linguistic rules and their cultures are also very diversified. This is the main reason why you should have a clear understanding of the cultural intricacies of every region to effectively localize business. Translation of content to different languages is the main aspect of business localization.

Your business content should be translated into the native languages of your targeted audiences; so they can resonate with your brand. It also increases the chances of your potential customers buying from you. When it comes to localization you can either do it yourself or partner with professional language service providers. However, no matter how you want to translate your content, it is important to avoid some common cultural mistakes while doing the localization. In this article, we’ll talk about the influence of cultures on languages and how to avoid cultural mistakes in localization.

How does Culture Influence Languages?

Cultures have a huge influence on languages and how people would speak them. Even the meaning of the words, and how people would perceive different words also changes based on cultural nuances. Just like traditions and beliefs, languages are also part of the culture. As the cultures evolve, the languages also progress to cope with the cultural changes. Both languages and cultures are dependents. Language is actually a medium to express cultural experiences, so it is important to understand a culture to fully understand a language.

If you are willing to expand your business to a foreign marketplace, simply translating the content to the foreign language wouldn’t do the job for you; you have to make it culture-friendly. It is almost impossible for you to connect with the natives of a particular region without understanding their culture, beliefs, traditions, and interests. To communicate with native audiences, your translation should bypass all cultural barriers; otherwise, your content will remain as alien as it was before translation.

The purpose of localization is to make your customers feel comfortable and keep the communication smooth and effortless. It is important for you to make your customer feel like an insider. Have you ever been to a group of people, who are talking about shared experiences or cracking inside jokes, which make no sense to you? You immediately feel excluded, and you can’t develop a sense of belonging to such a group. This is what your customers would feel about your brand if it is not well-translated keeping in mind the cultural intricacies. The more your customers can relate to your brand, the more are the chances that they would buy from you.

Some Common Cultural Mistakes to Avoid in Localization

When it comes to localization, you have to completely transform your content to foreign audiences. It is important for you to make your brand look native to targeted audiences, this is the only way you can influence their buying decisions and increase your sales. Following are the most common cultural mistakes companies would make while localizing their brands.

  • Do you have native translators? You can’t just rely on the research and assumptions about your target cultures when it comes to localization.
  • It is important for you to get some natives on board to let your brand fully imbibe the culture of targeted regions.
  • Most companies don’t look beyond translation when it comes to the localization of their brand. You must be careful about the layouts, designs, and illustrations that you are using in the website, apps, or software.
  • Every culture perceives different symbols differently. For instance, the thumbs-up sign is not the sign of approval in every country, some countries would perceive it exactly the opposite.
  • So, you have to be careful with the symbols and don’t use them casually in your content.
  • The use of colors is also very important and is ignored by most companies. For example, in Japan, yellow is the sign of courage and strength, whereas, in Germany, it is the color of jealousy.
  • Similarly, you should level up your color saturation for Chinese markets. So, what colors you are using in which regions makes a lot of difference.

Wrapping Up!

Culture is the most important factor of your business localization because of its high influence on native audiences. From generating translations to designing the layouts, everything should be adapted to the cultural nuances of the targeted region. For the localization, you must hire a professional localization company who is experience in localization and has a fair knowledge of multiple cultures.

There are many language service providers offering professional localization services to businesses. You must hire a reliable LSP who understands your business needs and also has good experience in creating multicultural content.