Effective translation doesn’t only cover word-for-word lexical translation. In fact, cultural considerations play an essential role in contextualizing language translations. While a specific phrase may be acceptable in one country, it can cause an embarrassing faux-pass (or more serious legal implications) in the next. Civil statutes, sexual orientation, and religion are three of the most sensitive issues where a slight miscommunication issue can prove to be disastrous.
Therefore, cultural considerations are of utmost importance when translating content for foreign audiences. To ensure your translation meets all cultural requirements, it must be localized and diversified.
How Does Localization Affect Translation?
Localization refers to the adaptation of translations to ensure they fit local customs, culture, and expectations.
Take women’s clothing as a simple example. Women in the Western world can wear whatever they choose, but the Eastern regions of the world – most notably the UAE – have extremely strict rules on the matter.
A company running an ad campaign that includes a slogan like “Feel the Wind in Your Hair” would need to have the ad localized for the Eastern market where women (and sometimes even men) must cover their head or hair. Mentioning or even implying the avoidance of adhering to cultural rules must be modified, so it still has the same meaning of opportunity and freedom, but without causing upheaval.
Examples of Cultural Considerations
Every country on earth has its own unique culture. Although they are what makes the country and its people special, these complex societal structures can also make international translation tricky.
In China, for example, the concept of ‘face’ is very important. It is essential to treat a person with the correct level of respect based on their position in the hierarchy of the workplace, family, and society. In the USA, it might be acceptable to make an audience laugh at someone else’s embarrassment, but in Chinese culture, it’s a big taboo.
Another excellent example of cultural considerations clashing is the use of family values. The idea of family varies significantly from one culture to the next. In India, for example, family might refer to the entire extended family, including in-laws and their extended families. But in America, it might simply refer to two parents and their child.
Use of Color
If you’re using color as a visual attribute, it’s essential to localize this aspect of your message too. In China, for example, the color red means happiness. Iran and Egypt associate red with luck. But in several other African countries, red symbolizes death or aggression. Translation and localization are of utmost importance for small details like color that businesses might overlook when expanding into the global market space.
Understanding topics as complex as the three we just mentioned is why it is essential to work with professional translation agencies that understand international norms and values.
Need Professional, Culturally Acceptable Translation Services?
At Day Translations, localization is part and parcel of every translation project we undertake. We ensure that localization plays a crucial role in guiding our translation services. Rather than just lexical considerations, we translate your message and meaning in the most culturally appropriate way.
Regardless of what audience you’re targeting, we’ll ensure that your message is strengthened and that it strikes a chord in any region it lands. Get in touch with our team of language experts today to learn more about how we can help voice your message on the global stage!